Stagecoach Pet Hospital Blog
It can be scary when your pet has ingested a potentially toxic substance, especially when you didn’t see what he licked or swallowed. To help raise awareness of the issue and prevent illness or fatality in pets, the American Veterinary Medical Association named the third week in March Pet Poison Prevention Week. Below are some hazards you should be especially aware of this time of year.
JD, a 7 month old Labrador mix puppy, presented to Stagecoach Pet Hospital for vomiting and diarrhea for several days. No history of any toxins in the home and there was no history of chewing on any toys. There was no change in diet in the last several weeks. JD is not up to date on puppy vaccines.
Lucy, a 4 year old female spayed Labrador Mix, presented to Stagecoach Pet Hospital for frequent urination. Her owner noticed that her urine was darker than usual.
Lucy has a normal body temperature as well as heart rate and respiration. During the examination, Lucy urinated and it was blood- tinged. No other significant problems were noted on examination.
Lucy had an x-ray of her belly performed. In this x-ray, Lucy is laying on her side with her head facing to the left (head not pictured). See below.
Can you spot something abnormal in the urinary bladder?
Below you can see arrows pointing to several large bladder stones! OUCH!
A urine sample was then analyzed and a urinary tract infection was found.
Due to the large number of bladder stones, the doctor recommended bladder surgery to have them removed. Lucy was also started on antibiotics and pain medication.
Lucy’s procedure went well and there were no complications removing the bladder stones. The stones were sent to an outside laboratory for analysis. They were found to be triple phosphate (Struvite) stones. Lucy’s parents have reported that she feels better than ever now that she is no longer having repeat urinary infections and bladder pain!
How did the stones form?
“Struvite is the name given to the crystal composed of magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate. Struvite crystals are not unusual in normal urine and their presence alone does not require treatment. Combine them with certain bacteria, however, and a stone is created.
Stone creation is made possible by an enzyme called urease that certain bacteria, particularly Staphylococci and Proteus species, can produce. Urea is a substance seen in large amounts in urine. Where does all this urea come from? In short, when the body breaks down amino acids, it must contend with ammonium that is generated in this process. The ammonium, which would be toxic if left alone, is converted to urea, which is much less toxic and is readily soluble in water making for its easy disposal in urine. Unfortunately, adding urease-positive bacteria into the urinary bladder converts the urea back into ammonium. The combination of infection and inflammation caused by the ammonium creates a matrix which traps the struvite crystals and gels into an actual stone. This reaction can only take place in an alkaline urine but the ammonium creates the perfect pH for stone formation. In dogs, the general rule is: No infection, no struvite bladder stone.”
- Wendy Brooks, DVM, DABVP
Lucy will have her urine monitored closely for the next several months in order to prevent more infections.
If you suspect your pet has a urinary infection (trouble urinating, change in urine color, increased urination) please call and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Let us know you read our case of the month and receive a free nail trim!
Your pet is part of the family and you naturally care about her safety. You also want to include her in family activities whenever possible over the carefree days of summer. By keeping the following safety tips in mind, your entire family can have a summer to remember.
If you only visit our Stagecoach Pet Hospital when your pet is injured or sick, you’re missing the opportunity to get a complete picture of her health. The preventive care exam allows our veterinarians to detect potential health issues and begin monitoring or treating them right away. By committing to preventive care, you could extend it by months or years. It’s well worth the investment when you consider how much love and joy your pet brings into your life.