Nephrolithiasis is the medical term for the condition where clusters of crystals or stones– known as nephroliths or, more commonly, “kidney stones”– develop in the kidneys or urinary tract. The kidney is made up of countless nephrons, each including blood capillaries and a series of tubes through which filtered fluid flows as urine is produced. The tubes of the nephron drain into ducts through which urine streams; these ducts ultimately go into the renal hips and a tube through which urine follows into the ureter. Kidney stones or kidney stone pieces can also go through this system of tubes and into the ureter, causing serious complications.
Both dogs and cats are vulnerable to kidney stones. However, some breeds of dog are more vulnerable to particular types of kidney stones than others. For example, kidney stones containing calcium and oxalic acid (known as calcium oxalate nephroliths) are most likely to be found in Lhasa Apsos, Yorkshire Terriers, and Miniature Poodles. Kidney stones including uric acid (called urate nephroliths), on the other hand, generally impact Dalmatians, Yorkshire Terriers, and English Bulldogs.
Symptoms and Types of Kidney Stones in Dogs
Many dogs with kidney stones have no obvious signs; that is, the nephroliths are frequently not detected until diagnostic screening is done for other medical issues. Some symptoms that may take place consist of blood in urine (hematuria), vomiting, frequent urinary tract infections, painful tough urination (dysuria), and frequent urination with small volume of production (polyuria). Other symptoms might appear however vary depending upon the area and kind of the stones.
Keep in mind that some nephroliths might be “non-active”; significance, they are not infected, not gradually enlarging, and not causing obstruction or medical signs. Inactive kidney stones may not need elimination, however must be kept an eye on periodically (by means of urine analysis for example) for any modifications.
There are a variety of causes and risk factors that may add to the development of nephrolithiasis and the development of uroliths, such as the oversaturation of stone-forming material’s in the dog’s urine. Other potential causes consist of increased levels of calcium in the urine and blood, diets that produce high (alkaline) urine pH, and recurrent urinary tract infections.
You will have to offer your veterinarian a comprehensive history of the dog’s health, including the beginning and nature of the symptoms. She or he will then perform a total physical exam, ultrasound imaging, and urinalysis. Nevertheless, in order to validate the medical diagnosis, determine the mineral material of the stones, and establish a proper course of treatment, pieces of nephroliths need to be recovered for analysis. This is normally accomplished by performing a procedure called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), in which stones are separated within the urinary tract using sound waves.
Treatment for Nephrolithiasis in Dogs
Numerous dogs detected with inactive kidney stones can be treated at home with appropriate medication administered in order to dissolve the stones. A change to the dog’s diet is likewise required. These dietary changes will depend on the chemical makeup of the kidney stone.
In severe cases, the dog might require immediate elimination of the kidney stone( s) and hospitalization. There are a number of options for kidney stone removal, consisting of surgery or ESWL.
Living and Management
Due to the fact that kidney stones have the tendency to recur, routine monitoring is essential. A lot of veterinarians recommend abdominal X-rays and/or ultrasound examinations every three to six months post preliminary treatment. A periodic urine analysis is likewise frequently suggested.
If your dog is predisposed to nephrolithiasis, special foods and dietary management can be effective at preventing stone formation.