Vet removes largest bladder stone he's ever seen


A family pet has undergone surgery to remove a huge bladder stone weighing a hefty 220g – the largest the vet has seen in 20 years.


Vets were stunned to discover the 10cm stone nestling among numerous others in the bladder of a nine-year-old Labrador when she was about to have an operation on an unrelated condition at Chantry Vets.

Senior hospital vet Fraser Reddick felt something firm in the abdomen when he gave Marley a pat while she was on the operating table at their 24-hour veterinary hospital in Brindley Way, Wakefield.

Upon further investigation, an ultrasound scan and x-ray confirmed Marley’s bladder contained a 220g stone, known as a urolith, measuring 10cm x 7cm x 5cm – the biggest Fraser has seen during 20 years as a vet.

The rock-like formations of minerals can develop due to factors such as high mineral content in food, genetic predisposition, deficiency of metabolism or secondary to infection in the bladder.

The stones were surgically removed, and Marley’s bladder was flushed out. She also had two lipomas – non-cancerous fatty tumours – removed as planned.

The ultrasound scanner and digital X-ray machine are some of the state-of-the-art equipment available at Chantry Vets’ flagship £1.6m veterinary hospital and enabled the team to operate on the same day as diagnosis.

Fraser said: “It is not uncommon to have a build-up of stones, but this is probably the biggest one I have seen in about 20 years of being a vet. It is massive. I am planning to make it into a paperweight!

“There were quite a lot of smaller stones which were still a fair size. Marley recovered well and went home the same day. She is brighter and comfortable and has been back in for two checks which showed she is doing well.

“The surgery has obviously had an immediate effect as Marley has shown a significant improvement in her urination. I expect this to continue to improve as the bladder was chronically inflamed and stretched so will take time to return completely to normal.”

The remaining stones which together weighed 60 grams have been analysed to determine their chemical composition and are a type of stone called Struvite. Marley will be put on a special diet to prevent them from reforming.

Had the chance discovery not been made, the stones would have continued to cause cystitis, which is very uncomfortable, as well as risking more serious complications including obstruction, bladder rupture, sepsis and kidney damage.

Marley is now back at her home just outside Wakefield with owners Carol Thorpe and David Chappell, enjoying a new lease of life.

Carol, who has had Marley since she was seven months old, said: “When we got there and saw the big stone it was unbelievable. We were both mesmerized. They are actual stones like pebbles on a beach – and the size of them! Poor little Marley - they must’ve been weighing her down.

“There had been no signs apart from that she used to urinate little and often. We just thought that was to do with her getting older. Marley now has a new lease of life. She is a lot calmer. You can tell she is so different. She goes to urinate straight away, and she seems so much better in herself.

“We have been with Chantry Vets for years and years, and it’s a good job because of what happened to Marley. They have been brilliant with her, and Marley likes them; she is not scared of going to the vets as some animals are.”

Chantry Vets’ veterinary hospital, which opened in March, also boasts an advanced CT scanner allowing 3D imaging of the body, intraoperative X-ray, endoscopy, arthroscopy and a dedicated dental suite. It was funded by VetPartners, a family of 148 of the UK’s most respected and trusted veterinary practices including Chantry Vets.