Canine Urolithiasis is a disease that affects many pets. Miniature Schnauzers are particularly susceptible to this disease. Urolithiasis is caused by the urinary tract having uroliths (stones) or calculi (excess amounts of crystal). Urolithiasis is also known as urinary calculi, bladder stones, cystitis or kidney stones. They are very similar to kidney stones in humans as they can develop in the kidney, urethra or anywhere in the urinary tract of the dog. The most common place, however, is in the bladder. Whether it's crystals or stones, they irritate the urinary tract lining, cause pain, blood in the urine or changes of the urinary tract lining. In more severe cases, flow of urine will be blocked making urination painful if not impossible.
The symptoms of a dog having Urolithiasis are actually similar to a human: bloody urine, frequent urination, dribbling urine, weakness, loss of appetite, vomiting and pain. It is important that the dog be given immediate medical treatment if he exhibits any of these symptoms, as lack of proper treatment for this disease can be fatal. The miniature Schnauzer may exhibit all of these symptoms or just some of them, so either way they should get treatment. There are also different kinds of stones, so it is important to know what kind your dog has.
Although a specific cause for Urolithiasis has not been determined many different factors can contribute to this disease such as age, sex, breed, exercise or living quarters and diet. Although a young puppy may get this disease, it is more common in dogs from two to ten years old. Males and female have both been victims of Urolithiasis, but it is more common in males because their urethra is longer and narrower than the females. Small breeds such as the miniature Schnauzer are more susceptible to this disease than larger breeds. Lack of exercise, low water intake or a dog being confined where they can't urinate often contributes to this disease as well. Diets that are very rich in certain minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and protein may also contribute to Urolithiasis.
If the urinary tract is blocked, the vet will need to empty the dog's urinary bladder to attempt to fix the blockage. Years ago, the vet would surgically remove the stones, which can often still be the case. Most of the cases can be cured with treatment and a special diet to help reduce the excess minerals so the dog can pass the stones on their own. This will usually take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the severity of the stones. If there is also an infection present, the dog will receive an antibiotic.
It is very important that the diet be followed very strictly for the miniature Schnauzer so the stones will disappear. After the dog is once again healthy, it is equally important that the dog be on a diet that will not cause the same problem again in the future. Urolithiasis can be very serious to the Miniature Schnauzer, as well as other dogs, and almost 50% of dogs have a relapse of this disease if they go back to the same diet they were on prior to the onset of the disease.