What are the symtons and treatment for kidney stones?
I am the medical author of "The Kidney Stones Handbook: A Patient's Guide to Hope, Cure and Prevention" and I know our animal friends are also plagued with kidney stones. I own a basset hound (Bart, my best buddy) and I am aware (and have seen basset kidney stones the size of a golf ball!) which affect our four-footed friends. The Dalmatian is known to be commonly affected, including the Beagle, Dachshund, Bulldog, Basset Hound, Cairn and Scottish Terriers, Welsh Corgi, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese and Yorkshire Terrier.
A dog with kidney stones will exhibit some or all of the following symptoms: frequent urination (often in unusual places), bloody urine, dribbling urine, straining, weakness, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting and pain. Without appropriate diagnosis and treatment, your dog could face a life threatening situation.
There is no single cause of dog kidney stones, but there are many important factors. These include:
Age: Kidney stones may appear in your dog when it is less than two months old, but most stones occur in dogs two to ten years of age.
Sex: Kidney stones appear in both adults of both sexes, however, because the urethra of the male is longer and narrower than the female's, urethral obstruction is more common in males.
Confinement and exercise: Infrequent urination, as a result of confinement, lack of regular exercise, or low water intake, contribute to the formation of crystals and stones.
Diet: High levels of some minerals in the diet, such as magnesium, phosphorus, and sometimes calcium, have been directly linked to canine urinary bladder stone formation. A diet with excess protein can also contribute to stone formation.
In most cases, stones may be dissolved by feeding a special diet with reduced amounts of certain minerals and protein, or a special diet plus medication. Special diets work by reducing the mineral building blocks or urinary stones in the urine. These diets affect the urine pH and increase urination to help flush the urinary tract.
In humans, a prescription of Polycitra-K Crystals (potassium citrate and citric acid for oral solution) is given to dissolve uric acid stones, and to prevent calcium oxalate stones. This product is made by Baker Norton Pharmaceuticals. I would ask my vet if a low-dose of this can be given to my pet.
Another prescription drug for humans is Urocit-K, a potassium citrate tablet) also used in prevention of calcium oxalate stones and is made by Mission Pharmacol Company.
I don't know what the normal pH level is for our animal friends (in humans it is between 6.5 and 7.5; at this ideal range, we are less likely to develop recurrent stones). However, after consulting with a vet it would be possible to test the dog's acidity level with litmus paper if one is able to collect the dog's urine for a daily sample. This way, both medication and the dog's diet can be checked.
There are certain prescription diets available for dogs and it is important to feed only the prescribed diet! Do not feed meat, liver, calcium supplements, breakfast cereals or vegetables (which are often high in oxalates and a major contributor to stone formation). In dogs, it takes 4 to 16 weeks to fully dissolve some kinds of stones, depending on the size and number of stones present. Again, the correct diet for the dog is one based on the type of stone your pet had.
Of all dogs treated for stones, 20 to 50 percent will have a recurrence of the problem and accompanying pain if preventative measures are not taken. I believe it is important for the vet to test the type of kidney stone the dog has (it can be struvite, an infection stone; uric acid as on previous posts, and calcium oxalate among others and the stone is normally sent to a special laboratory for identification). For humans, blood and urine metabolic testing is necessary in terms of prevention. Again, I would check with my vet to see what is available for my pet.
For humans, vitamins B6 and magnesium supplements help prevent stones. Again, this needs to be discussed with the vet to see if this also applies to dogs.
Kidney stones in our best friend's life are nothing to fool around with. In humans, the pain of a kidney stone has been linked with one of the most painful of all human conditions, even worse than childbirth. IMHO, if we are responsible for the health and welfare of our pet(s) who rely upon our kindness, it is imperative to give the proper diet to prevent recurrent kidney stones.
Gail Golomb, Author & paw print/URL http://www.readersndex.com/fourgeez
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