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Urinary Tract / Kidney Stones (Cystine) in Dogs

Urolithiasis (Cystine) in Dogs

Urolithiasis, characterized by the presence of crystals or stones in the urinary tract, poses a medical concern for dogs. When these stones consist of cystine, a natural compound found in the body, they are termed as cystine stones. These stones can form not only in the urinary bladder but also in the kidneys and the tubes linking the kidneys to the bladder, known as ureters.

Both dogs and cats are susceptible to urolithiasis, predominantly affecting adult animals. Among dogs, certain breeds such as Dachshunds, English Bulldogs, Newfoundlands, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and Welsh Corgi Dogs exhibit a higher susceptibility to cystine stones. Similarly, Siamese and domestic shorthairs are more prone to stone formation among cats.

Fortunately, in most cases, cystine stones can be dissolved and eliminated without resorting to surgery, providing a positive prognosis for the affected animal.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of cystine urolithiasis in dogs may include frequent urination (pollakiuria), difficulty or pain during urination (dysuria), and an abnormal urine flow (post-renal uremia).

Causes

While the precise cause of urolithiasis remains unknown, in certain animals, the inability to metabolize proteins or amino acids has been associated with the formation of cystine stones.

Diagnosis

To diagnose cystine urolithiasis in dogs, veterinarians commonly utilize ultrasounds and X-rays to assess the size, shape, and location of the stones, aiding in the formulation of an effective treatment plan. Additionally, a urine test can detect the presence of stones. In certain situations, a urethrascope—a scope equipped with a camera—is employed to examine the urinary tract’s interior for abnormalities.

Treatment

Typically, the veterinarian will advise utilizing treatment methods such as a specialized diet and medication, specifically N-(2-mercaptopropionyl)glycine (2-MPG), to decrease and remove the stones without resorting to surgery.

Living and Management

Adhere to all advised dietary modifications and administer the prescribed medication as directed. This approach aids in preventing a recurrence of the stones. Additionally, it’s essential to schedule follow-up appointments with the veterinarian to confirm the successful dissolution of the stones.

Prevention

At present, there are no established preventive measures for this medical condition.

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