Nephroliths and ureteroliths: a new stone age

Nephroliths and ureteroliths: a new stone age
Peer reviewed


Nephroliths may obstruct the renal pelvis or ureter, predispose to pyelonephritis, or result in compressive injury of the renal parenchyma leading to progressive chronic kidney disease. Indications for removal of nephroliths in dogs include obstruction, recurrent infection, progressive nephrolith enlargement, presence of clinical signs (renal pain), and patients with nephroliths in a solitary functional kidney. The most common indication for removal of upper tract uroliths in cats is ureteral obstruction caused by ureteroliths. Nonobstructive nephroliths in cats are not usually treated unless they move into the ureter resulting in ureteral obstruction.

The treatment approach to nephroliths and ureteroliths is different for dogs versus cats. Surgical removal of nephroliths or ureteroliths by nephrotomy and ureterotomy respectively is associated with potential for complications in more than 30% of cats treated by ureterotomy; therefore, minimally invasive options should also be considered. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) treatment of nephroliths results in small “passable” stone fragments in most dogs, whereas ESWL does not work effectively in cats. Ureteral stents are effective for relief of ureteral obstruction by ureteroliths in both dogs and cats. Ureteral stents may be left in place long-term to relieve ureteral obstruction by ureteroliths. Post-operative morbidity and mortality are substantially lower for ureteral stent placement compared to open surgical ureterotomy in cats.

KEY WORDS: Nephroliths, ureteroliths, extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, ureteral stents

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