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Does the Color of a Bladder Stone Mean Anything?

My Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix male just had surgery to remove a MASSIVE stone in his little bladder. The stone is GREEN, & my vet, who...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  May 7th 2010


My Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix male just had surgery to remove a MASSIVE stone in his little bladder. The stone is GREEN, & my vet, who has been in practice about 30 yrs, says he’s NEVER removed a stone that was green from an animal’s bladder. If Linus was human, it might indicate cholesterol issues-does this coloration mean anything in dogs?

Diana
Indianapolis, IN

The color of the stone does not mean much.

I also have never seen a green bladder stone, but I can imagine a few ways that one might develop. First off, although the stone appeared green, it might not have been green all the way through. Just as gold-plated jewelry is gold on the surface only, it could be that Linus’ bladder stone was coated with a thin green layer that rapidly would give way to a more traditional grey or white if the stone were cut open.

How might a stone be green? The most likely answer is contamination of a common stone (the two most common stones are called struvite and calcium oxalate) with some trace chemical or element. Less conventional stones also may have a green tinge. Any stone with traces of iron (especially as part of a structure called hemosiderin) or cholesterol could be tinted green.

In the long run, the color of the stone is irrelevant. What matters is the chemical composition of the stone. Bladder stones can (and should) be analyzed by laboratories to determine their exact compositions. This information will not only satisfy your curiosity about the stone’s color. It also is a highly relevant piece of medical information. The composition of the stone will give insight into what caused it to develop. That insight may help you prevent another stone from developing.

Photo: These calcium oxalate stones have a greenish tinge in my opinion. By Joel Mills.