Veterinarian - San Diego
1540 Morena Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92110



By Heather Beeson of Morena Pet Hospital
July 27, 2012
Category: Pet Care
Tags: Untagged


More times than not when pet owners hear the diagnosis bladder stone, they associate this with extensive surgery, never-ending veterinary visits, and expensive medications.  Learn below about one owner’s struggle to overcome her dog’s guarded prognosis.

Domino, a 4-½ year old male, neutered Dalmatian presented to an emergency clinic with symptoms of an urinary obstruction (straining to urinate, blood in urine).  Domino has had a history of bladder stones and had been on a restricted diet.  Upon examination, Domino’s owner was given the options to pursue surgical means to remove the stone obstruction (requiring a significant financial investment), or to otherwise euthanize her young pet.  Unable to say goodbye to her wet-nosed pal just yet, she opted to proceed with the surgery.  Fortunately, prior to surgery, a urinary catheter (which had previously been attempted unsuccessfully) was finally able to be placed with anesthesia.  Upon removal of the urinary catheter, a large stone and three others were pulled out.  Although Domino’s prognosis was still guarded, he seemed to have successfully passed his urinary obstruction.

At his follow-up exam here at Morena Pet Hospital, Domino, given his history of urinary obstructions, straining, and painful urination, underwent x-rays and blood-work examination to evaluate whether surgery would still be needed.  Upon ultrasound, no obvious stones were visualized, only numerous bright, sand-like fragments in the bladder were apparent.  Thus, surgery was averted.  An urinalysis was performed that showed build-up of ammonium urate crystals.  Fortunately, for Domino and his owner, urate stones can be dissolved on an outpatient basis using medical treatment (in this case allopurinol and diet).

Dalmatians by breed are genetically predisposed to forming these urinary stones, most commonly the urate stones that Domino had experienced.  Similar to Domino’s treatment plan, these stones can be managed by feeding certain prescription diets that are low in certain types of protein that yield purine (Dalmatians due to their unique metabolism are sometimes unable to convert these purines properly leading to stone formation).  High water intake may also help prevent stones, as well as prescribed medical therapy when necessary.  It is always best to consult with your veterinarian as to the proper methods to treat and prevent future stone formation. 

Common statistics of urate stone formation in Dalmatians as reported by Veterinary Information Network:

  • Average age at which a Dalmatian first experiences stone formation is 4.5 years.
  • Male dogs are reported as stone formers more often than females, which may be a reflection of the male anatomy being more predisposed to the added complication of urethral obstruction (rarely an issue with female dogs).
  • The risk of stone formation declines as the dog ages.

Common signs your Dalmatian may have stones:

  • Bloody urine
  • Straining to urinate
  • Urinating frequently, in small amounts
  • Cloudy, gritty material in dog’s urine

Urinary Obstruction is an emergency!  If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

For references or additional information, please refer to the following:

ThinkPets, Inc.  Healthy Pet University. Dalmatian Breed Information. 2011

Veterinary Information Network. Uric Acid Stones and Urate Urolithiasis. 2004