What are bladder stones?
They are mineral crystals that form in the kidney and move to the bladder where they are referred to as “bladder stones.” Dogs tend to have either struvate or urate bladder stones. The latter, termed hyperuricosuria, are the kind reported in Aussies.
What are urate bladder stones?
Crystals formed from uric acid grow in the kidney and pass to the bladder, and sometimes out of the urinary tract.
How do I know if my dog has urate stones?
Dogs with urate stones may have bloody urine, urinate frequently, or strain upon urination. You may see gritty material in the dog’s urine. Your vet will examine the dog and may run blood or urine tests to rule out other possible causes of symptoms. Positive diagnosis is made with ultrasound or contrast radiography. It can be confirmed with a DNA test.
What does it mean for my dog if it has urate stones?
Urate stones can be painful and even life-threatening. In some cases surgery may be needed to remove stones. The disease cannot be cured but can be managed with medication, diet, and regular veterinary monitoring.
How common are urate stones in Aussies?
They are rare.
Are urate stones inherited?
Yes, it is recessive. Affected dogs have two copies of the mutation, so both parents are carriers.
Is there a DNA test?
Yes. There is a test for hyperuricosuria (urate bladder stones). Dogs with two copies of the mutation will be affected, those with one are healthy carriers, those with none are clear of the disease. If a dog is tested and found to have two copies of the mutation, its parents are obligate carriers and do not require testing unless you suspect they might be affected. Breeding quality offspring, if any, and full siblings of any dog with two copies should be tested. If a dog has one copy, its parents plus full siblings and offspring who might be bred should be tested so their status is known. The full siblings, offspring and parents of any relative found to have the mutation should be tested if they are to be used for breeding.
What do urate stones mean for my breeding program?
Affected dogs and those tested and found to have two copies of the mutation should not be bred. Breeding relatives should be tested as outlined above to determine their status. Dogs with one copy of the mutation should be bred to clear-tested mates with preference given to clear-tested offspring to carry on with.