Marshall's Story

by Rae Breternitz

I got my puppy when he was eight weeks old.  He was neutered at four months old (I believe that neutering him young caused his reproductive “parts” to stop developing, causing him to become more easily blocked). Everything appeared to be normal until he was about three and a half years old.  On September 11, 2003 is when I first noticed he was yelping while trying to urinate.  Although at the time I thought he was trying to poop by the way he was all humped up.  He was dripping urine from his penis and he was all humped up like he had a tummy ache.  So my mother and I rushed him to our emergency vet at 9:30 PM.  They took a urine sample and ran sedimentation on it.  The vet spotted crystals in the urine so she did an X-ray.  The thought of stones was dismissed because they didn’t show on the X-ray.  Come to find out that urate stones do not show up on a regular X-ray (they can only be seen on an X-ray taken with indirect lighting).  They thought he was constipated so they gave him a sudsy enema.  He pooped a little and they sent him home on Valium. She said it would move through as the enema softened the stool.  The next morning he wasn’t any better and he still couldn’t go potty.  Now we went to our regular vet.  She took an x-ray and something “suspicious” showed up.  We think what she was looking at was all of the stones lying to one side of his bladder.  She ended up doing exploratory surgery.  She noticed a little resistance when trying to catheterize him.  By the time she checked his large intestine for an obstruction, she noticed the bottom of the pail she had drained his urine in was covered in what appeared to be sand!  So she opened his bladder to find thousands of stones ranging in size from a grain of sand to about three millimeters.  It took her an hour to clean out his bladder.  She then closed him up and sent the stones off to the lab for analysis.  They came back as urate stones.  He was then put on Allopurinol to dissolve any remaining stones and a prescription diet to keep him from forming any new stones.  About two weeks after his surgery I noticed he was having trouble urinating again, of course on a Saturday.  So off to the emergency vet we went.  Once there they did a procedure where they put in a catheter and flushed the stone back into his bladder with saline, also known as Hydro-Propulsion.  This is meant to put the stone back into the bladder so it can be dissolved.   Unfortunately he had to have this done several times within the next ten months.  After doing extensive research on bladder stones, I had learned of a procedure known as an Urethrostomy.  So I talked to a Dalmatian breeder/veterinarian about the procedure.  He told me that the procedure is done quite frequently now and that based on my Dalmatians case, he would recommend it.  That every time he had to get catheterized his urethra would grow more and more scar tissue, which would cause him to become blocked more frequently. I talked to my veterinarian about it and she knew of a vet who specializes in this very procedure, so we set up an appointment.  He underwent an Urethrostomy on July 20, 2004.  He is doing wonderfully now. I’m so glad I chose this procedure. He is happier and healthier. Now I just wish he would stop lifting his leg to pee!  It makes for a mess down his legJ.