What are Urate Urolithiasis?
Typically found in the urethra or bladder (the most common site), there are several types of uroliths. Struvite stones are most typically seen, with the others being urate, calcium oxalate, xanthine, and cystine.
Urate stones are known to be found as an autosomal recessive condition, particularly in certain breeds such as the Dalmatian and the English Bulldog. A urinalysis, along with abdominal radiographs, can often confirm the diagnosis of urolithiasis; in some cases, additional imaging may be needed. Treatment may involve medication and diet change. More serious cases may need surgery, especially if there is risk of blockage.
Urate Urolithiasis is a condition in which crystals in the urine combine and create stones in the urinary system.
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Symptoms of Urate Urolithiasis in Dogs
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination
- Abdominal pain
- Weakness and lethargy
- Straining to pass urine
- Bloody urine
Studies show that breeds found to be predisposed to urate urolithiasis are as follows:
- English Bulldog
- Giant Schnauzer
- Jack Russell Terrier
- African Boerboel
- Large Munsterlander
If you have a canine of this breed, discussion of dietary needs with the veterinarian is recommended and may aid in reducing the risk of stones occurring. Regular urinalysis may be suggested. Keeping a watchful eye on your pet’s day to day urinary habits may be wise as well.
Causes of Urate Urolithiasis in Dogs
Urate urolithiasis is an autosomal recessive genetic condition. The dog must have two copies of the mutant gene to show clinical symptoms. Dogs bred with another dog without the genetic mutation produce carriers in about one-fourth of their offspring. More dogs are affected when a carrier stud is bred many times or dogs of close family relation are bred together.
Diagnosis of Urate Urolithiasis in Dogs
If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of this condition, contact your veterinarian for a consultation. The veterinarian will discuss important topics such as your pet’s typical diet, daily water intake, family history, previous illnesses, and existing medical conditions. There are health conditions that can increase the risk of urate urolithiasis, and the veterinary team will also want to investigate and out rule out other possible causes like cancer or prostatic disease.
The veterinarian can do a urinalysis to analyze your dog’s urine. Urate stones will also show in an ultrasound or x-ray. Size, consistency, and probability of causing obstruction are all characteristics to be considered. In the instance of a stone that cannot be easily dissolved, it may be necessary to determine where the larger stones are in the urinary system for surgical removal.
Treatment of Urate Urolithiasis in Dogs
There is often a secondary infection that accompanies urate urolithiasis. Antibiotics are used to combat the bacteria. Urohydropropulsion can be successful in eliminating smaller urate stones. Laser, ultrasonic sound waves, and extracorporeal shock wave therapy (all classified as lithotripsy) may be considered as treatment. In some cases, surgery is needed to remove larger stones that are obstructing parts of the urinary tract or will not dissolve with medical therapies.
Preventative measures should be taken to prevent recurrence using prescription diets. Because urate stones can be a by-product of the breakdown of protein, many prescription diets have a lower protein level. Because of the direct threat of recurrence, it’s important to work closely with your veterinarian while navigating diet choices. Having a diet rich in water intake, such as mostly canned, will help prevent relapse. Pet-friendly broths are now commercially available to encourage drinking.
Recovery of Urate Urolithiasis in Dogs
Follow up will be needed to verify that all crystals and stones have been eliminated. A recheck of your pet’s urine may be all that is needed. Depending on the severity of the condition before treatment, it may be recommended that imaging tests are repeated.
It can be difficult for a pet parent to live with a dog that is prone to urinary stones. The symptoms may come on quickly and fast action is needed to ensure the health of your pet. The best solution is to have ample fresh water available for your dog to drink and a diet that has a lot of water content in it to prevent recurrence. Although stress on the kidneys can cause a shorter lifespan, many dogs are able to live a normal life with careful management.