Urolithiasis Treatment | Traditional Medicine & Clinical Naturopathy


Urolithiasis in bladder commonly leads to cystitis. Uroliths can be located anywhere within the urinary tract but they are most commonly found in the bladder. Males are affected more commonly than females. The prevalence of urolithiasis is however less common in equids. Some authors believe that urinary system infections occur less frequently in the equine than in other species such as dogs, cats, swine, bovines, ovine and caprine. The prevalence of urolithiasis in horses has been estimated at 0.11% over a 20-year period. Out of 68 horses reported with urolithiasis, 59.7% had calculi in bladder and 24% had urethral calculi while 12.6% had renal calculi, and 3.7% had ureteral calculi. The factors that help predispose a horse for urolith formation are prolonged urine retention, incomplete bladder emptying, increased mineral content of the water as well as decreased water intake. In addition, once the process is activated, the alkaline environment and high level of calcium carbonate mineral in normal equine urine favor crystallization. Urolithiasis can be diagnosed by rectal palpation and endoscopy is indicated to confirm urethral and cystic calculi. Uroliths are composed primarily of calcium carbonate  and also contain magnesium and phosphate reported that the prominent composition of the nephroliths was magnesium ammonium phosphate. Urolithiasis due to calcium oxalate calculi is relatively uncommon, with calcium carbonate calculi tending to develop more commonly in animals grazing on oxalate containing plants. Recently, reported that the most common component in canine uroliths is struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate). High incidence of inflammations of the urinary bladder in equine, 19.55% reported in Perillo et al.. The buffalo calves affected with urolithiasis showed anorexia or reduced appetite, restless and had a signs of colic, such as treading, kicking at the abdomen, tail switching and sinking of the back. The case of a 7-year-old gelded donkey that sustained a type IV rectal prolapse secondary to a long-standing cystic calculus after several episodes of intermittent mucosal prolapse .

Treatment of uroliths includes removal of the stone either surgically (most common in male horses) or manual removal via dilation of the urethra. The uroliths can easy fragmented by laser lithotripsy.

The surgical procedures include midline or paramedian laparotomy and cystotomy, pararectal cystotomy, subischial urethrostomy, urethral sphincterotomy, and laser or shock wave lithotripsy. The selection of a suitable procedure is depending on the size, location, and number of uroliths and the sex of the horse; and the availability of surgical facilities.

Hong Shang
Associate Editor
Journal of Traditional Medicine & Clinical Naturopathy