Bulldog Urinary Cystine Stones

Hi, Dr. Kraemer i have a 6.5-year old intact male, bulldog mix (English, American, pocket pit) who was diagnosed with bladder stones (cystine) approximately 6 months ago.

Bulldog Urinary Cystine Stones Surgery

He had a Cystotomy July, cystotomy October, stones flushed back into bladder December he’s been on a science diet u/d since October

bladder stone in bulldogs

Bulldog Urinary Cystine Stones PU:

we have been to 2 different vets and neither are very familiar with the cystine stones. One vet says to do PU surgery and stay on the science diet u/d the other said the PU would help the stones to pass but he will be very prone to infections (we live in a country so lots of land and dirt) and says thiol drug and neuter and potassium citrate and science diet u/d

Bulldog Urinary Cystine Stones PU:

Are there any studies on the best treatment for the long term? it sounds like PU surgery will enable the stones to pass but can cause many other issues. The thiola is expensive and not sure if it will work potassium citrate reviews do seem to be a method to keep the stones from forming.

i am just at a loss and exhausted so if there is any input or sites I can look at for advice it would be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you!



1 Answers
Dr. Roy Kraemer Staff answered 6 years ago

Answer for Bulldog Urinary Cystine Stones Surgery

Dear Shelly

Regrettably, cystine urinary stones are prevalent among Bulldog breeds, particularly in younger males. This occurrence is notably less common in other dog breeds, affecting fewer than 2%.bladder bulldog cystotomy and cystine stone removal

Answer for Bulldog Urinary Cystine Stones GENETIC CAUSE:

The underlying factor for this predisposition lies in genetics. Bulldogs carry a genetic mutation affecting the transportation of cysteine, an amino acid, in their kidneys. This mutation results in an excess of cystine being excreted in the urine, where it can crystallize and form stones.

Answer for Bulldog Urinary Cystine Stones / SYMPTOMS:

These stones can give rise to various issues for bulldogs, such as:

  • PAIN & DISCOMFORT: Irritation of the urinary tract lining can lead to pain and difficulties in urination.
  • UTI: The stones create an environment conducive to bacterial growth, elevating the risk of UTIs.
  • URINARY OBSTRUCTION: In severe cases, stones may obstruct the urethra, causing a complete blockage of urination.

This is a medical emergency necessitating immediate veterinary attention.

If you’re concerned about your bulldog’s susceptibility to cystine stones, there are preventive measures you can take:

bulldog cystine urinary stone radiograph

Answer for Bulldog Urinary Cystine Stones: PREVENT & TREAT

  • WATER INTAKE: Encourage your Bulldog to consume ample water, as it helps dilute urine and reduces the likelihood of stone formation.
    • Tip: Enhance your pet’s hydration by creating ice cubes from unsalted broth mixed with water. Place one cube in the water dish daily. The enticing aroma and flavor will likely encourage your pet to drink more water, promoting better hydration.
    • Tip: A water fountain for pets might increase water intake


  • URINE PH: maintain a urine pH that is neutral or slightly alkaline (7 or higher). This can aid in dissolving existing cystine crystals and preventing the formation of new ones.
  • LOW PROTEIN: Reduce protein consumption. Cystine, an amino acid present in protein, can be minimized in the urine by lowering protein intake.

Bulldog Cystine Stone Prescription Veterinary Diets:

Your veterinarian may recommend a specific prescription diet tailored for managing cystine stones. Notable options include:

  • Hill’s Prescription Diet u/d: This diet, low in protein and sodium, is crafted to address cystine stones.
  • Royal Canin Urinary UC Low Purine: With low protein and sodium, this diet supports urine alkalization.
  • Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Hypoallergenic: While not explicitly designed for cystine stones, this low-protein diet may be suitable for some Bulldogs with this condition.

Bulldog Cystine Stone Prescription Home-Made Diets:

Crafting a homemade diet for your bulldog is possible, but it’s essential to consult with a veterinary nutritionist to ensure it meets their nutritional requirements while managing cystine stones.

Bulldog Cystine Stone REGULAR MONITORING:

Schedule periodic checkups with your veterinarian to monitor your bulldog’s urine pH and cystine levels, making necessary adjustments to their diet as needed.

  • Tip: Purchase urine strips that can be dipped into freshly collected urine. These strips offer various indicators, including urine pH, providing valuable insights into your pet’s urinary health.

Answer for Bulldog Urinary Cystine Stones: URETHROSTOMY

Regrettably, the likelihood of recurrence of cystine stones in bulldogs persists even after the stones have been removed and dietary modifications have been made.

Bulldog stones Urethral stone Urethrostomy


Consequently, I agree with the veterinarian’s recommendation for a urethrostomy, preferably of the scrotal type. I have successfully performed numerous bulldog urethrostomies, experiencing minimal to no long-term complications, such as cystitis.

I have not encountered any post-operative ascending infections, and in my perspective, the potential benefits outweigh the risks. As both you and many of my clients have witnessed, the issue tends to recur, leading to substantial expenses for emergency room visits and potentially repeated surgeries for stone removal and flushing.

With the urethrostomy, there is a higher likelihood that the stones will be expelled during urination through the newly enlarged scrotal urethral opening.

bulldog urinating stones from a urethrostomy

Bulldog Urinary Cystine Stones THERAPEUTIC SUPPLEMENTS

You can add a bully urinary supplement to improve comfort and reduce infections.bulldog urinary stone preventive bundle

Recommended by Owners Approved by Bulldogs


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The information provided on this platform is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding any medical condition. It's important to always consider professional medical advice promptly and not to delay seeking it based on information you've read on this platform. Any reliance on the information provided here is entirely at your discretion.

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