Dalmatian and Stones:
Dalmatians form urinary crystals and stones in stagnant urine. Dals must be allowed to drink freely and potty often! We watch our dogs urinate every morning to make sure they can and do urinate. Boys, naturally, can "plug" up more easily than girls due to the difference in their urinary tract. For this reason we recommend boys not be neutered until the age of 9-12 months. The more "grown up" a boy is the more "grown up" his urinary tract is (or more technically the more grown up his os-penis is).
Dalmatians form crystals and stones in acidic urine (pH below 7). These are known as urate crystals/stones. Most other breeds of dogs form stones in alkaline urine (pH above 7) known as struvite or infection stones. This is not to say that Dals cannot form struvite stones. What you need to know is that the treatment is very different!
If you own a Dalmatian, have a urinalysis performed every year as part of your Dal's routine heath check. It is also wise to check the pH at home. pH test strips are available at most pharmacies. The normal urine pH for a Dalmatian is 6.5 to 7.2. If your Dal's urine pH is below 6.5, you should take a sample in to your veterinarian for analysis. This does not necessarily mean stones or crystals.
Most urinary stones are not detectable under "normal" x-ray procedures. Urate stones require "indirect" radiography. So just because the vet can't see any stones on an x-ray, does not mean they aren't there. Most Dalmatian stones are found in the lower urinary system (bladder) versus the upper urinary system (kidneys). Treatment of bladder stones is more successful and simple than those found in the upper urinary system.
A urinary obstruction can become life threatening between 24-48 hours. As urine continues to collect in the bladder, it is not uncommon for the bladder to burst. To prevent this from happening the urine can be expelled by catheterization or cystocentesis (a needle is inserted into the bladder and the urine is pulled out). This buys time to decide what course of action should be taken.
Water, diet, and medication can take care of the stones sometimes. All crystal/stone formers should drink distilled water (versus tap water or even spring water). The vet will normally put crystal/stone formers on Hill's Prescription UD (urinary diet) food. While this food is a very low protein diet, we have managed a stone former on top quality non-prescription food. The drug Allopurinol is usually prescribed for crystal/stone formers. (Allopurinol from www.Medicinenet.com...is used to lower blood uric acid levels. Uric acid is a breakdown product of purines in foods. Uric acid forms crystals in the tissues of the body. Elevated blood uric acid levels can also cause kidney disease and stones. Allopurinol can be used to prevent uric acid kidney stones.)
When water, diet, and medication cannot mange the problem, surgery can be performed to remove the stones from the bladder called a cystotomy. Another option is surgically creating a temporary opening that allows the dog to pass urine, crystals and small stones. This is called a urethrotomy. If stones continue to form even after taking all the precautionary measures, the next step is a procedure called a urethrostomy. Basically it is very similar to the urethrotomy except the opening is permanent.
Urethrotomy vs. Urethrostomy, Lannie Lancaster DVM
Marshall's Story, Rae Breternitz
There are a number of different urate stones. The most common found in Dalmatians is Ammonium Urate Stones. Another common urate stone is Calcium Urate Stones. Still another is Sodium Urate Stones. In order to properly treat the stones, you must know what kind of stone your Dalmatian is forming.
disclaimer: I am not a
veterinarian! This is information I have learned