Urate uroliths of calculi in dogs are also known as stones within the urinary tract which are not all that uncommon. Some dogs are more susceptible to them than others such as the Dalmatian, English bulldog, miniature Schnauzer and Yorkshire terrier.
Because of their abnormal metabolism, Dalmatians and English Bulldogs are predisposed to Urate Urolithiasis. Because of their genetic factors with the transport mechanisms of the calculi, they form an over-saturation of urine with certain minerals and abnormal blood flow, which can affect the kidney and liver functions as well.
Small breeds of dogs such as the miniature Schnauzer and Yorkshire terrier are prone to a condition called portosystemic shunts. This is a condition which affects normal blood flow. Blood should pass through the liver for detoxification but because of a shunt, it can bypass the liver causing disease. With urate urolithiasis, blood from the urinary tract bypasses the liver and enters directly into the systemic circulation.
If you suspect that your dog may be experiencing urate urolithiasis or stones within the urinary tract, you will notice symptoms such as difficulty urinating, blood within the urine, a need to urinate often with hardly any passage of urine when your dog does go. Some other signs, especially dogs with the portosystemic shunts may be due to an abnormal nervous system such as seizures, head pressing and an dull mental attitude. If you notice any of these systems it does warrant getting your dog to the veterinarian immediately. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Urate urolithiasis can be very painful for your precious dog and a diagnosis can determine the definitive cause of this pain. To determine if your dog has stones, your Vet may do a complete blood count, a biochemical profile and urinalysis. Other diagnostic tests may include a bile acid concentrate, an abdominal ultrasonography, and radiographic dye studies by inserting dyes in through the kidneys, liver and urinary tract.
Treating the condition depends upon your dog and any other underlying condition such as the portosystemic shunts, which requires emergency treatment with possible surgical intervention. Your veterinarian will advise as to recommendations for treatment. Most often, dogs with urate urolithiasis will go through fluid and electrolyte therapy as well as dietary therapy in some cases to facilitate dissolution of urate stones. Sometimes dogs need medication, Allopurinol, which remedies the breakdown of the calculi which may be a benefit for dogs with a metabolic abnormality such as the Dalmatian.
To help your dog avoid the onset of these stones . . . or to treat your dog with stones, follow the advice of your veterinarian. Most times, a proper diet can help in maintaining a low PH of acidic urine (consisting of animal based proteins). The best diet to maintain proper PH and proteins appropriate for your dog and his/her condition is a homemade or holistic diet. Speak with your veterinarian for specifics and personal recommendations for your dogs requirements. Unfortunately urate urolithiasis can commonly recur but is less likely if you follow the advice of your doctor.