Twelve year old Maltese Fella seemed to take ill quite suddenly one afternoon, shaking, panting and refusing to eat. His owners took him to see Dr. Izzy at our Narre Warren clinic to see what might be going on with him. After a general examination, a urinalysis was performed, and it appeared that Fella was suffering from a pretty nasty urinary tract infection. He was given some antibiotics and an ant-nausea injection to try and assist him. Dr. Izzy did warn Fella’s owners that there may be an underlying cause for the UTI and that further investigation would likely be necessary. Rather than having to bring Fella back in, they consented to have radiographs performed that day to see what might be the root cause of his issues. Unfortunately for little Fella, the radiographs revealed large uroliths in his bladder, meaning that he would most likely require surgery to remove them. Uroliths, also known as urinary stones or bladder stones, are mineralized deposits that form within a dog’s urinary tract. These stones can develop in various parts of the urinary system however, including the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. The formation of uroliths is typically related to the composition of a dog’s urine, which can be influenced by factors such as diet, hydration, and underlying medical conditions. There are several types of uroliths, each with its own mineral composition, but the most common types in dogs are struvite and calcium oxalate stones. Other types, such as urate and cystine stones, are less common but can also occur. The symptoms of uroliths in dogs can vary but often include; frequent urination, painful or difficult urination, blood in the urine, straining to urinate, increased thirst and drinking, lethargy, inappetence or signs of discomfort or pain in the abdominal area.
Due to the nature of the stones on radiograph and how Fella progressed after his initial visit, he represented a couple weeks later to have the stones removed via a procedure called a cystotomy. A cystotomy is a surgical procedure performed on dogs to address issues within the urinary bladder. This procedure is typically done to remove or address various conditions or problems that can affect the bladder. Leaving large uroliths in Fella’s bladder without treatment could have led to various complications, some of which could have been severe and even life-threatening. These complications could include; stones blocking the urethra and causing an obstruction, bladder rupture where the stones put so much pressure on the bladder wall it perforates, bacterial infection and blood in the urine (as seen in Fella’s case), and in some cases, dogs can go into septic shock if the infection spreads to the rest of the body.
Dr. Jon performed the life-saving surgery for Fella and removed FOUR uroliths in total directly out of his bladder! These stones have now been sent overseas for analysis to determine the exact type of stone the team are dealing with, and the results will hopefully be back shortly. This information will then dictate Fella’s ongoing management, including any medication he may require and specific veterinary urinary food. Fella has had a couple of hiccups along his recovery path with difficult urination (a very common complication after a cystotomy) but appears to be improving daily, and we are so happy that those stones are no longer sitting in his bladder waiting to cause him any further drama! Well done little Fella!