Molly is a three year old Tibetan spaniel. This cool calm and collected small breed originated over 2,500 years ago in the Himalayas, where they were bred to act as watchdogs over the Tibetan monasteries.
Molly’s owner noticed her urine was red so brought her in for a check-up, during which I could feel hard material in her bladder. A digital x-ray confirmed the suspicion of bladder stones, of which there were multiple. Blood tests showed otherwise good health so Molly was scheduled for surgery the following day.
You might think it quite remarkable that Molly had showed no signs of discomfort with such a large burden of ‘uroliths’ on board. Interestingly it is quite common for there to be little or no signs visible to the owner until the stones are sizeable.
The operation to remove them is called a ‘cystotomy’. It involves opening the abdomen and stabilising the bladder before making an incision through the wall of the bladder. Molly had one large urolith and thirteen other smaller ones. An impressive collection!
Analysis of the stone’s make up is important to understand why they formed and how to prevent them recurring, but his does not happen in NZ. Molly’s stones boarded a plane to Minnesota, USA, where a full analysis was carried out, care of Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
Molly’s stones were made of magnesium ammonium phosphate, or ‘struvite’ and are the result of a bladder infection with a particular type of bacteria.
After recovering from her surgery and the appropriate antibiotics, Molly is back to her happy self. With a special urinary support diet and regular check-ups we will try to ensure she does not grow any more of these monsters.
Thea Sweeney, 9 March 2016