This is Ruby, a 4 and 1/2 year old Schnauzer/Poodle mix (a Schnoodle!). Poor Ruby has been having some problems lately! A few weeks ago, Ruby’s owners noticed some blood in her urine and Ruby had some accidents in the house. They brought her in to see us at Sault Ste. Marie Animal Clinic and after checking a urine sample, we diagnosed a urinary tract infection or cystitis.
We dispensed some antibiotics and for awhile, Ruby seemed to feel better. Once finished her antibiotics however, Ruby started to experience more blood in the urine. Ruby came back to see us for a recheck and we were suspicious that she had something more than a simple bladder infection. We recommended repeating the urinalysis and performing a bladder ultrasound to check for changes that might explain why the infection had come back. An ultrasound of the bladder can show us if there are changes in the bladder wall such as thickening or growths, defects in the bladder shape or ureters, or bladder stones (uroliths). In Ruby’s case, her ultrasound showed a thickened bladder wall and a large bladder stone.
Bladder stones or uroliths are a relatively common finding in dogs and cats. They can have a number of different causes including infection, diet, metabolic abnormalities, liver disease and genetic predisposition. There can be a single large stone or multiple small stones and there may or may not be crystals present in the urine. Some bladder stones can be treated with a combination of medications and specialized diets but most of the time we recommend surgically removing the stone (cystotomy) since the stones and crystals tend to be quite irritating to the bladder and will cause clinical signs like blood in the urine (hematuria) and accidents in the house.
After discussing the findings with Ruby’s owners Ruby was scheduled for surgery. Pre-anesthetic blood work was performed, an IV catheter was placed in her front leg and she was given antibiotics and pain control medication. She was then given a general anesthetic and prepped for surgery. An incision was made in her lower abdomen and then an incision was made into the bladder itself. A single large stone (13mm) and three smaller stones (2-4mm) were removed. An x-ray was taken after the surgery to make sure that there were no stones left in the bladder.
The stones themselves were sent to a specialized laboratory in Guelph that will analyze them. From this detailed analysis, we will know what kind of stones they were, what likely caused them and what we can do (ie medications and or a special diet) to keep Ruby from developing more bladder stones.
In the meantime, Ruby is doing very well – feeling much better and happy to be back at home.