During the past three decades, a tremendous amount of information has been generated regarding the etiology, detection, treatment,
and prevention of canine urolithiasis. No longer is surgical removal the only option available when dogs develop urolithiasis,
nor is surgical removal the "treatment" of choice" in all patients. Although we know a lot more information about urolithiasis
in dogs than we did three decades ago, there is still a lot that we don't know and remains to be discovered. Nonetheless,
our ability to medically manage this disease in dogs has dramatically improved since 1973, and new knowledge continues to
be generated. The purpose of the lecture is to provide an overview and an update on therapeutic options available for the
four most common mineral types of uroliths in dogs.
Canine urolithiasis overview table
Distribution of mineral types of canine urolths
In 2003, the distribution of canine uroliths (n = 28,629) submitted to the Minnesota Urolith Center (courtesy of Dr. Carl
Osborne and The Minnesota Urolith Center) were as follows:
- struvite = 41%
- calcium phosphate = 0.5%
- calcium oxalate = 40%
- silica = 0.3%
- cystine = 1%
- mixed composition = 11%
- purines (ammonium urate, sodium urate, uric acid xanthine) = 6%
Since 1981, the prevalence of calcium oxalate in dogs has continued to increase, and it is equal to that of struvite now.
Successful long-term management of urolithiasis is dependent upon an understanding of each mineral type.
Calcium oxalate urolithiasis
- The majority of dogs diagnosed with calcium oxalate urolithiasis are not hypercalcemic
- Proposed reasons for why some normocalcemic dogs develop calcium oxalate uroliths are
o Excessive GI absorption of calcium (intestinal hyperabsorption of calcium)
o Excessive renal loss of calcium
o Defective nephrocalcin, a glycoprotein that inhibits calcium oxalate crystal growth
Medical dissolution protocol
- Currently, calcium oxalate uroliths in dog can not be medically dissolved.
- Therapeutic options available
o If stones are detected when they are small enough, they may be able to be removed via a urinary catheter or by voiding urohydropropulsion
(Lulich JP. VCNA Small Anim Prac 29:283-292, 1999)
o If stones are too large to be removed non-surgically, and the dog is symptomatic, it may be necessary to initially remove
all the stones surgically, and then take appropriate dietary and monitoring steps to detect recurrence of stones when they
are small enough to remove non-surgically (i.e. via urinary catheter or voiding urohydropropulsion).
Prevention of recurrence
- Recurrence of calcium oxalate uroliths in dogs is common
o In 1992, Lulich published an abstract (JVIM) that revealed that recurrence rates of calcium oxalate uroliths in dogs 12
months after surgery was 36%, after 24 months was 42%; and after 36 months was 48%
- Despite high recurrence rate, the following steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood of having to perform repeated cystotomies
o Diet should have the following characteristics: protein-restricted; alkalinizing, low in oxalate; not calcium-restricted,
sodium-restricted; and canned if client can afford.
- One diet that meets these criteria is Hill's Prescription Diet u/d. this diet is protein-restricted, however the amount of
protein in this diet is high .enough that it can be used long-term
- Hill's Prescription Diet u/d and Waltham S/O Lower Urinary Support are both high in fat
- Same precautions and contraindications (pancreatitis and hyperlipidemia) mentioned for Hill's Prescription Diet s/d should
be taken when feeding these diets.
Hill's prescription diet w/d*
- Can be used in patients where a high-fat diet is contraindicated
- This diet is an acidifying diet, and therefore should be used in combination with potassium citrate, which is primarily used
for its alkalinizing properties.
Although calcium oxalate uroliths can not be dissolved medically, additional surgeries in dogs can be avoided by diligent
monitoring with the goal of detecting a recurrence when tones are small enough to remove by urinary catheter or by voiding
- The following frequency of rechecks is recommended:
o q 2 months for 1 year; if no recurrence, then
o q 4 months for an additional year; if no recurrence, then
o q 6 months thereafter.
- At each recheck, evaluate a lateral abdominal radiograph and a urinalysis.
- If at any time the dog has a recurrence, perform voiding urohydropropulsion and then go back to the beginning of the recheck