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Calcium Deposits in the Urinary Tract in Dogs

Urolithiasis, Calcium Oxalate in Dogs

Calcium oxalate urolithiasis refers to the formation of stones in the urinary tract of dogs, characterized by the accumulation of calcium deposits. This condition is more prevalent in dogs compared to cats, especially among older animals. Fortunately, in the majority of instances, these stones can be safely removed, leading to a favorable prognosis for the affected animal.

Symptoms and Types

Affected animals typically do not display overt signs of this condition, although difficulty urinating is the predominant symptom. In cases of inflammation, noticeable swelling in the abdominal area or irritation around the urinary region may occur. Veterinarians may be able to palpate large stones through the skin if they are present.

Causes

The main factor leading to stone formation is elevated calcium levels in the urine. Various risk factors contribute to this condition, such as calcium supplements, excessive intake of dietary protein or Vitamin D, high steroid levels, diets lacking in Vitamin B6, and a diet solely consisting of dry food.

Although stones can develop in any breed, a significant portion of cases, over 60%, are observed in specific dog breeds. These breeds include Miniature Schnauzers, Lhapso Apsos, Yorkshire Terriers, Bichon Frises, Shih Tzus, and Miniature Poodles.

Diagnosis

To identify any potential underlying medical issues causing pain or urinary difficulties in the animal, veterinarians typically conduct X-rays and ultrasounds. Additionally, blood work is carried out to assess nutrient levels and identify any abnormalities beyond the normal range.

Treatment

Surgical removal of the stones is frequently employed as one of the primary treatment methods. In certain instances, shock waves may be utilized to assist in breaking up the stones. Additionally, depending on the size and seriousness of the stones, they can sometimes be dislodged and expelled from the animal’s system through catheterization and fluid therapy.

Living and Management

After surgery, it’s crucial to minimize the animal’s physical activity levels. Potential complications arising from stone formation include urinary tract blockage and the inability to urinate. Recurrence of calcium-based stones is common over time. Continuous management involves monitoring calcium intake and the animal’s urinary patterns for any emerging issues.

For cases where surgery was performed to extract the stones, follow-up X-rays are advisable to ensure complete removal. Regular X-rays at intervals can aid in early detection if calcium stone formation recurs, allowing for non-surgical interventions to remove or dissolve them.

Prevention

The most effective means of preventing recurrence is to continuously monitor the animal’s calcium levels. This enables adjustments in the diet to maintain calcium levels within the normal range.

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