Jake had been having some minor problems passing urine for a couple of weeks. He had been showing signs of discomfort when urinating and was straining after he’d finished as though he thought his bladder wasn’t fully empty. As he was unwell whilst on holiday in Wales, Jake’s owners had taken him to the vets there where he was treated for cystitis, but Jake did not improve.
We started investigating Jake’s problem by looking at a urine sample under the microscope. There were no foreign bacteria present but what we did see were multiple tiny crystals in a very unusual dumbbell shape, typical of a crystal known as calcium oxalate. These crystals can stick together to become larger crystalline structures so we arranged to x-ray Jake to check if he had any of what are commonly known as bladder stones.
X-rays indicated there was a stone present in his bladder, made more obvious by introducing air to the bladder via a catheter.
We first attempted to remove the stone using a new non-surgical technique known as voiding urohydroprepulsion: the bladder is filled with saline solution to force stones out through increased pressure. Jake did pass a bladder stone which must have been stuck in his urethra (exit tube from his bladder) but the larger crystalline structure we’d seen on initial x-ray was still there when we repeated radiography, as it must have been too large to pass.
We couldn’t leave this stone in place as not only would it continue to irritate Jake, but more seriously would almost certainly lead to a complete blockage of the bladder and inability to urinate at some point soon. This is a potentially life threatening complication, so Jake underwent surgery.
As you can see in the photograph below, calcium oxalate stones are usually extremely sharp and spiky, as was Jake’s, and having it removed has given him a wonderful sense of relief!
Jake’s spikey bladder stone which was 6mm in diameter
A much happier Jake using the run before going home