Urolithiasis in dogs is a pathological condition of the urinary system, in which concrements are formed in the cavities of organs. Crystallization of salts is accompanied by a violation of diuresis, intoxication of the animal’s body and inflammation of the urinary system.
Factors of the development of pathology
The damaging effects of internal and external factors can trigger the development of urolithiasis (ICD) in dogs, regardless of age. However, according to statistics, 15% of animals have ICD, of them 70% of uroliths are diagnosed at the age of 7-8 years, 20% at the age of 4-6 years and only 10% of dogs – at the age of 1 to 3.5 years. .
There is a relationship between the frequency of urolithiasis in pets with:
- Gender. Although the difference in the results of the study is small, but males suffer a little more from urolithase, which may be due to the structural features of the excretory system, since the length of the urethra in males is longer than that of females, which, in violation of metabolic processes, facilitates the prolapse of uroliths in the urethra.
- Belonging to a certain breed. In small dogs whose weight does not exceed 10 kg, uroliths are formed due to the smaller volume of the bladder, which makes its emptying more rare. As a result, the salt content in the urine increases.
- Low physical activity. In dogs that are rarely walked, or walk takes little time, the risk of the formation of stones is significantly higher compared with active animals. Hypodynamia causes stagnant processes in organs.
- Disorders in the diet and water consumption. In dogs that eat food with a high content of mineral salts or protein, the risk of ICD disease is higher than that of animals on proper nutrition. Animals that drink a little fluid, sick more often, because the density of urine they have increased. Restriction in the diet of foods with a large number of purines reduces the risk of disease of dogs ICD. A large amount of fiber, bran, soy increases the risk of formation of silicate stones.
- Bacterial or viral infection. According to statistics, this factor is more characteristic when urolithase occurs in females, which is also due to the peculiarity of the structure of the urogenital system. In this case, the accumulation of bacteria can become the center of crystallization of uroliths and the cause of the formation of large stones.
The causes of the formation of stones and sand in the urinary system do not affect their composition. However, there is a relationship between the frequency of urolith formation of a certain nature and such factors as the breed, age and sex of the dog.
Types of uroliths and their characteristics
There are 4 main types of stones formed during ICD – struvites, urates, phosphates, oxalates. Consider their composition and risk groups, which most often fall into animals of a certain breed, age and sex.
- Struvites and triplex phosphates – form ammonium salts of magnesium phosphate. Struvites are much more common in all dog breeds with diagnosed ICD. Among the breeds that have the risk of struvite formation, they distinguish beagles, dachshunds, terriers, and Pekingese. Concrements of this type can be formed, regardless of age, but most often bitches in the age group of 3.5–5 years are susceptible to struvite urolithase. The main reason for the formation of struvite stones is the alkaline pH of urine and the presence of pathogenic microflora.
- Calcium oxalates fall out in acid urine. This type of calculus is typical for dogs of such breeds as affenpinscher, shih tzu, pug, lhasa apso, lapdog, Yorkshire terrier. Among patients with veterinary clinics with oxalates, predominantly males aged 6-7.5 years.
- Urats are represented by ammonium urate. Bologs, Dalmatians, shepherd dogs, terriers, wolfhounds are exposed to an increased risk of ICD development and the formation of urates. Urates are more characteristic of dogs aged 1.0–3.5 years, and are caused by genetic disorders.
- Cystine – rarely formed in females type of stones. Pathology is caused by genetic abnormalities and occurs in males of terrier, dachshund, chihuahua at the age of 1.5-5 years.
Stones are rarely monocomponent, they are usually 2 or more salts. The surface of large stones may be smooth, nosed, or covered with spikes and protrusions. Depending on the predominant salt in the composition, the color can vary from white, yellowish, gray to brown. Genetic predisposition to a certain type of urats is confirmed by the fact that they are detected in representatives of certain breeds. Uroliths composed of phosphate salts or calcium oxalate are characteristic of aging dogs.
The main signs of urolithiasis in dogs
The main sign of urolithiasis is difficulty urinating. When blockage of the urinary tract or their obstruction as a result of inflammation, urine may be excreted or not excreted. The animal behaves restlessly, whining from pain. Symptoms of pathology depend on the stage of the disease. For example:
- In mild ICD, the following symptoms are noted: increased diuresis, traces of blood in the urine, pain and discomfort during urine, the dog lick the urogenital area vigorously.
- With a severe form of the disease, there is a constant outflow and urinary incontinence (pollakiuria), an increase in the amount of blood in the urine and an increase in pain (hematuria). The dog is thirsty and drinks a lot (polydipsia), while significantly increasing (2-3 times) the amount of urine released (polyuria), which is accompanied by a depressed state, weakness, apathy in the animal. Due to lack of appetite, weight can dramatically decrease, up to the development of anorexia.
- Stage of development of ICD, threatening the life of a dog: the urine is no longer completely allocated, and this condition lasts 2-3 days or more (anuria). The dog loses consciousness as a result of heart failure (collapse). Such a manifestation of the disease can lead to the death of the animal. The smell of ammonia (uremic halitosis) is felt from the animal’s mouth. Vomiting may occur, leading to severe dehydration and tonic convulsions. In case of untimely or inadequate treatment, the condition turns into a coma and can cause a fatal outcome.
With prolonged anuria, the animal may burst bladder. Chemical and mechanical irritation of the urinary tract and the accession of a bacterial infection cause chronic cystitis, renal failure, pyelonephritis, nephroptosis, etc. To keep a pet alive, it is necessary to contact a veterinary clinic as soon as possible and be examined.
Pathology diagnostic methods
Upon presentation of complaints and description of the symptoms of the disease, the veterinarian conducts a visual inspection and palpation of the bladder. To detect, clarify the location and determine the shape and size of the stones, an x-ray or ultrasound scan is prescribed. In order to establish the type of calculus, prescribe a urine test. To identify the pathological processes that accompany the ICD, blood and urine are analyzed for salt, the number of leukocytes, bakposev.
Urine analysis should be fresh and warm. Cooling the solution causes crystals to fall out, and long-term storage distorts the test results. In the presence of pathogenic microorganisms, the sensitivity of microorganisms to various groups of antibiotics is determined in order to select the most effective medicine. In emergency cases may require cystoscopy, cystography. After clarifying the diagnosis, the doctor develops a treatment strategy.
ICD therapy methods
Treatment of urolithiasis in dogs involves an integrated approach and the use of one or more treatments. Conservative therapy includes the following:
- Drug treatment. Animal prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, drugs that increase diuresis, painkillers and sedatives.
- The use of physiotherapy methods, such as pulsed magnetic therapy, helps to ease the flow of urine, relieves the inflammatory process, “crushes” some calculi, relieves pain.
- Special diet and normalization of drinking regime. Today, many leading companies produce special food. For example, wet feed Urinary S / O or Urinary U / C from ROYAL CANIN. Marking shows for prevention, what types of urats are intended feed. So S / O – from oxalate or struvite urolithase, and U / C – from urate and cystine calculi. Urinary S / O Small Dog under 10 kg has been created for small dogs most at risk of disease.
To remove stones and sand from the urinary system of the dog, urinary lavage and urine output using a catheter are used. In severe renal failure, dialysis is performed — cleaning the animal’s blood from toxins. If conservative therapy does not help, the stones are removed by surgical methods:
- Urethrostomy – removal of stones through the stoma – a hole in the urethra. After the restoration of patency, the stoma is not closed until the stabilization of the dog.
- Cystotomy – the opening of the urinary and complete removal of stones, from which it is impossible to get rid of less traumatic methods.
- Retrograde urohydropulsion is an operation in which stones that block the urethral cavity are pushed into the bladder.
During the rehabilitation period, maintenance treatment is carried out. With the help of droppers, the volume of liquid is filled, anti-inflammatory drugs are introduced. The healing process is monitored by dynamic urine and blood tests. After the treatment or to prevent urogenital disease in dogs, pathology is prevented.
Disease prevention measures
In order to avoid the risk of recurrence of the disease or for the prevention of the disease in risk groups, it is necessary to exclude the factors causing metabolic disturbances:
- Normalize food. Use feed with a high percentage of moisture (70-80%), low content of phosphorus, sodium, calcium, protein. In the finished premium and super premium class feed, there are substances that maintain a normal urine pH and promote the dissolution of certain types of calculus. The diet is applied for life both after conservative and after surgical treatment.
- Provide access to clean soft (filtered) water. In a hot period of time, water the dog while walking.
- Do not overfeed the animal – obesity contributes to the formation of stones.
- When feeding with dry food, clean water should be abundant next to the bowl.
- The animal should be provided with adequate physical activity – games, walks.
- In time to examine the animal and sanitize all foci of infection, to treat pathological abnormalities and ailments.
Prevention of ICD and proper treatment will provide the animal with a healthy long life.