Study Group on Urinary Stones
Health & Research Committee
Dalmatian Club of America, Inc.
For further information, contact:
Carroll H. Weiss, Director
8290 N.W. 26th Place / Sunrise
Telephone & Fax: (954) 741-5560
See online information at the
mostly all other dog breeds form urinary stones.
Some stone-forming dogs, Dalmatians
included, live out their lives happily without ever revealing any
symptoms, according to U.S. veterinarian specialists in urinary stone
problems. Many other
Dalmatians never become stone formers at all.
stone-forming dogs can easily and successfully be treated - the benefit
of 25 years' experience of research and findings in this health problem.
Accumulated knowledge improving diagnosis and treatment provides
methods even to avoid surgery which used to be the only treat-ment, but
no longer is. These
advances are largely from two U.S. centers specializing in urinary
stones: (1) the Minnesota Urolith Center at the School of Veterinary
Medicine of the U. of Minnesota, and (2) the Urinary Stone Analysis
Laboratory at the School of Veterinary Medicine of the U. of California
at Davis (names, addresses and telephones cited elsewhere in this
"urates/purines" making up most (not all) Dalmatian
stones may best be prevented by diet and probably by type of water
advances in veterinary knowledge, anti-urate food formulations have also
One - Hill's u/d � - is
available only from vets as dry or canned.
After being weaned from puppy diets, maturing and adult
Dalmatians can be fed now from a choice of non-beef, non-meat dogfoods
such as vegetable-and-rice or turkey-and-barley and go their entire
lives without forming urate stones.
In other Dalmatians, urate stones already formed can be
successfully dissolved non-surgically with an anti-urate drug,
allopurinol, and the prescription u/d �
dogfood. For the few
resistant cases for whom stone-removal surgery is unavoidable, modern
anesthetics for dogs such as Isoflurane provide no more
threatening anesthetic risks than appendix removals in humans.
Why Do Some Dalmatians
Form Urinary Stones?
humans and apes are unique in the way they metabolize purine-yielding
foods. Not every human will
form purine/urate stones and neither will every Dalmatian.
than the amount of dietary protein contributing to the problem is the
type of protein particularly those dogfood formulations containing large
amounts of purine-yielding foods. For
feeding a confirmed urate stone former, liver and other organ meats are
undesirably very high as purine-yielders whereas other foods like eggs
and most vegetables and fruit are desirably low as purine-yielders.
When the diet of
some humans is high in purines, they develop gout or kidney stones.
When the diet of some Dalmatians is similarly high, they develop
urate stones in their urinary tract.
Dogfoods with high amounts of beef and meat or their
"by-products" should be avoided for the Dalmatian who has been
diagnosed with urate urinary crystals/stones.
table scraps to Dalmatians is perhaps
one of THE worst disservices to their NORMAL GOOD health !
stone-forming Dalmatians, the vast majority form urates/purines but a
few may form other types. Treatment
of one type of stone may worsen another type so an essential first step
is a dependable assay by an experienced laboratory if treatment and
prevention of future stone forming is to be successful and not
Urate stones may
be composed of one or more of several purines.
Over 90 percent of all stone-forming Dalmatians produce "ammonium
acid urate," a purine stone very responsive to simple
non-surgical treatment. A
conscientious program of anti-urate medication and anti-urate diet can
be highly effective for both treatment and especially for prevention of
The number one
type of stone in other dogs is �struvite,�
so identified with urinary tract infections they are nicknamed "infection
treatment of infection stones vs. Dalmatian-specific urate stones is
totally different and underscores the importance for - first - accurate
assay of the type of urinary stone being formed if treatment of the
Dalmatian is to be successful.
Urinary stones in
dogs are found in the "upper" system (e.g., the kidneys), or
in the "lower" urinary system (e.g., the bladder). Data collected for 15 years from some 2,800 stone-forming
Dalmatians showed 97 percent of their urinary stones were found in the
lower system where treatment and maintenance is simpler and more
successful than for those in the kidneys or elsewhere in the upper,
How is a Stone Former Detected?
urinalysis generally shows if abnormal crystals are forming in the urine
long before the crystals �grow up� to become stones which then may
reach a size large enough to create the dreaded urinary obstruction in
males. Urinary pH showing persistent and unchanging abnormal acidity
vs. alkalinity is another sign.
If no diagnostic
tests ever are done, stone forming may progress to show symptoms more
obviously detectable in male dogs than those in females, perhaps because
of the marked difference in their gender's normal urinary anatomy. As a large enough stone is carried down the urinary pathway,
it can lodge within the male dog's penis at a damlike narrowing of a
cartilage, the "os penis." (The
same size stone may pass uneventfully through the urinary anatomy of
When normal urine
flow is obstructed by a stone, the male dog revealingly will strain to
urinate. No urine will pass
or only a few drops. The
dog will repetitively attempt to urinate with little or no result.
Urinary obstruction in male dogs is thus very visible to the
observer aware of these signs and regularly watching for them.
stones may demonstrate symptoms similar to those of urinary infections,
namely more frequent urinating, "accidents" by housebroken
bitches and very frequent licking of their genital area.
(Because these are similar symptoms to simple urinary infections,
do not become concerned unless results of a urinalysis confirm abnormal
crystals and/or abnormal pH.)
unproductive attempts, some stone-forming dogs will succeed with a
sudden outpouring of urine. In
such cases, it is likely that the stone creating the obstruction was
"passed" thereby opening and restoring the normal flow and
pathway of urine. Any
obstructed dog, even those who quickly pass stones, should be seen by
their veterinarian for workup and to embark immediately on a
preventative program of anti-stone medication with the proper anti-stone
General Preventative Guidelines
for Stone-Forming Dalmatians
Stone Formers and Their Diets
dipsticks are like litmus paper in high school chemistry.
They are simple to use and show exact degrees of urinary pH.
A quick dip into a dog's urine will indicate if the pH is abnormally acidic (how much below normal) or abnormally
alkaline (how much above normal).
By regularly dipsticking and keeping a diary of the results, any
owner can monitor their Dalmatian to detect when and how long it is
producing abnormally unstable urine, often much before crystals mature
is best done first thing mornings before feeding with fasting
"first-catch" urine when the Dalmatian has been indoors and
urine has sat overnight in the bladder.
Some very conscientious owners also dipstick a few hours after
feeding to compare differences in pH between fasting urine and that due
to digesting the food formulation the Dal is fed.
success or failure of preventative diets and drugs also can be monitored
by dipsticking and the regimens modified if the Dalmatian's pH continues
to be unresponsively abnormal.
SEVERAL PREVENTATIVE ANTI-URATE GOALS, ONE IS FOR THE DALMATIAN TO
AT A PLATEAU OF NORMAL, IN THE RANGE OF
URINARY pH 6.5 - URINARY pH 7.0
also known as �chemstrips,� can be purchased from your veterinarian
or drug store.
If those sources do not stock them, look in the yellow pages of
your telephone directory under �Medical Supply Companies.�
Carl A. Osborne, DVM, PhD,
Dept. of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
University of Minnesota Veterinary School
C339 Veterinary Hospitals
1352 Boyd Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
Telephone: ( 612) 625-4221
Fax: (612) 624-0751
Urology Laboratory for assay results:
Telephone: (612) 625-4221
Urinary Stone Analysis Lab
Gerald V. Ling, DVM, Chief
Dept. of Medicine
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California at Davis
Davis CA 95616
Telephone: (916) 752-3228
Fax: (916) 752-0414
Dalmatian Cannot Pass Urine