We thought Charles had a UTI so off to the vet we went. When he starts licking himself more than usual, that tends to be a sign.
As you can see in the picture above, Charlie was not too happy when the vet said she had to take him in the back and look at his privates.
Because Charles has a known heart murmur, she wanted to do an x-ray to see how his heart was doing. Well, we were surprised at what the x-ray told us.
First – Charles’ heart is enlarged. An ENLARGED HEART (dilated cardiomyopathy) is more common in large dogs (our luck). Not knowing the underlying cause we can’t say if it was because of an infection or some structural problem. Right now, we are just in watch mode due to other issues. From the x-ray, his lungs are clear (all that nice dark area around the heart in the ribs is the lungs), which means that they are not currently seeing congestive heart failure (which would be very bad). The vet said that you should be able to fit 3 hearts in that cavity.
Second – When they took the heart x-ray she notice that he has KIDNEY STONES (arrow above but see closer image below). This was an ‘incidental finding’ since she was actually x-raying his heart. According to pethealthnetwork.com, metabolic kidney stones, those that form due to some blood or urinary imbalance, are a bit more common than those from infection. The most common type is calcium oxalate. There are several different types of stones (we are learning). Stones tend to be a small dog thing but usually females. We are hoping they are not calcium oxalate but actually something called Struvite. That is a composite of magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate and can be dissolved, where the calcium oxalate can’t.
Third – and most critical at the moment – was the finding of BLADDER STONES, and a ton of them. Again we have no idea what caused all these stones, but the poor man has a ton in his bladder. Some theories are that the stones are caused by bacterial infection, body metabolism, previous disease, or dietary factors, like a lack of certain vitamins. Like kidney stones, there are several types: struvite, urate, xanthine, cystine, and calcium oxalate. Our hope is that these are struvite stones because they are the easiest to deal with.
I know your next question is how does one deal with the stones. There are several options.
- Dietary Dissolution
- Surgical Removal
- Non-surgical urohydopropulsion
- Ultrasonic dissolution
First, we are trying dietary dissolution. He is on a special Royal Canin Urinary SO diet and absolutely nothing else. The hope is that this food will begin to dissolve the stones. If nothing else, the vet hopes that it will at least make no new ones grow. He is also on an antibiotic (because he probably does have a UTI which is what we thought). Luckily, so far, he likes the food. I mix both wet and dry. We are making sure that he is passing urine every time he goes to the bathroom because the biggest concern, especially with a male, is a urinary blockage because of the stones. The vet said we need to take him to ER immediately if that happens. We are blessed that there is an Animal ER in town.
We go back on June 24th for another x-ray to see what is going on. He seems less lethargic and happier the last week, so maybe the food is working. Beat your drums for him. He is going to need all your prayers.