|(X-ray of bladder stones. Courtesy of enpevet.de)|
|(Courtesy of caninehealthanswers.com)|
Urinary crystals can grow into visible and sometimes huge stones causing trauma to the bladder, frequent and/or bloody urination, and occasionally life-threatening urethral blockage. For many years, treatment of bladder stones involved a combination of antibiotics, dietary management and surgery. However, thanks to voiding urohydropropulsion, a technique developed by Dr. Jody Lulich of the University of Minnesota Urolith Cnter, there's a non-surgical option to resolve small bladder stones. And that's where Princess comes in.
Princess is a 9 year old Rat Terrier owned by Mrs. Maria Wethington and our Case of the Month.
To say that Princess and her housemates Prince and Baby are doted upon or that Ms. Wethington is merely a concerned pet owner would be serious understatements. They travel on pillows, lots and lots of pillows. Originally from Germany, Mrs. Wethington has lived in the United States for 45 years. She retains a charming accent and, despite some serious health concerns of her own, the indomitable courage and sense of humor of a woman who's seen too much difficulty not to appreciate every sunrise.
Careful as she is with her canine babies, it's no surprise that when Princess began to act a little oddly Mrs. Wethington was quick to seek veterinary care. It was that early intervention that made voiding urohydropropulsion an option. Briefly, the technique involves placing a urinary catheter and instilling sterile saline into the bladder to gently distend it. A finger is placed over the urethra to prevent leakage while the dog is held upright, tipping the bladder stones down. The bladder is gently squeezed, the finger pressure is released and the stones are flushed to the outside. This technique works if the stones are relatively small, (which usually means of short duration), in relation to the dog.