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Posted By: Ellen - Vet

Pickle gets treatment for bladder stones

Routine vaccinations are part of daily life here at the surgery. These appointments are a useful time to give our patients a full health check, as well as making sure they are fully protected against preventable disease.

Pickle, lovely Norfolk Terrier, came to visit us for her regular booster. While at the surgery, her owners mentioned that she had been having a few accidents -passing urine in the house. On further discussion it came to light that she was also squatting and trying to pass urine more frequently than usual. In order to investigate this, her owner’s collected a urine sample so we could perform some tests on it.

The sample showed that Pickle had a urinary tract infection, as well as some crystals in her urine. If there are only a few of these they may not be causing a problem. However, they may be an indicator that bladder stones are present. These form where minerals accumulate and can occur in the kidneys, the bladder or in the tubes that link the two.

In order to find out whether Pickle had any stones, or whether there were any masses in her bladder, we had to perform an ultrasound scan. This is a good way to detect any masses on the walls lining the bladder. We did not see any masses but some unusual structures were seen in her bladder. We took x-rays which revealed that she had 2 stones in her bladder. Fortunately for Pickle these stones in her bladder were too large to pass any further. If they had got stuck in the narrow tubes connecting the kidney to the bladder, or the tube through which urine passes out of the body, they could have blocked urine flow. This can be a very serious problem.

Xray of bladder stones

We had two options as to how to get rid of the stones. The first is a specially formulated diet which can help to dissolve certain types of stone. The second is to surgically open up the bladder to remove them. Pickle had another problem - she had quite sore teeth with a build of tartar, as well as bladder stones. For this reason we decided to start her on the special diet and to give her the dental treatment she needed. We removed some of her diseased teeth and cleaned those left. Starting her on the urinary diet meant that we did not have to give her a long anaesthetic in order to perform the dental work and the surgery to remove the stones.

After 4 weeks of eating only her special diet Pickle seemed to be doing very well and had stopped urinating in the house. We took repeat x-rays and these unfortunately revealed that the stones were still present, although slightly smaller. Given this improvement we continued with the diet for a further 4 weeks and then took another set of x-rays. The results of these showed that the stones were still present and had not reduced in size any further. After discussion with her owners we proceeded to surgery. A small hole was made in the wall of her bladder and the stones delicately pulled out, being very careful not to damage the bladder. The hole had to then be stitched back together very carefully so no urine leaked out. We got both stones which looked like very large pieces of gravel! For the next few days Pickle was kept nice and quiet by her owners to give the wound in her abdomen a good chance to heal.

Since her surgery Pickle has been doing brilliantly. She has not had any further problems going to the toilet and her breath is much improved after her dental work. She has been a brilliant patient throughout, taking everything in her stride, and she certainly gained some fans here at the practice. We’re all very pleased to see how well she is doing. 

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