Canine Hyperuricosuria and The Black Russian Terrier
Knowing that Duncan has this I am now in “must learn as much about this as possible” mode. I have been researching quite a bit the last few days. As sad as I am about his condition, I think that things happen for a reason. He was meant to be with me and I am going to do everything in my power to help him in any way I can.
I would love to share with you all what I have found. I apologize if this is something that some of you already know, but I thought I would share it for any new people to the breed or any new people who don’t know much about Canine Hyperuricosuria (like me).
This is what I have learned so far:
The formation of urate stones occurs because affected dogs excrete uric acid in their urine rather than allantoin. Uric acid and allantoin are waste products from a chemical called purine, thus uric acid is formed from purines. The presence of uric acid (rather than allantoin) is what causes these dogs to produce and form urate crystals or stones. These crystals and stones can become lodged in the bladder or urethra causing a blockage.
Dogs have the ability to produce any purines that they need from other things in their diet. So, for dogs that are affected with Canine Hyperuricosuria you want to limit the purines in their diet significantly. A big key thing to understand is that you don’t want to limit the amount of protein in the dogs diet, but what you DO want to limit is the TYPE of proteins you feed the dog.
I have been in contact with some Dalmatian people since Canine Hyperuricosuria is a prevalent problem in the Dalmatian breed. Every single dog is affected and runs the chance of developing these urate stones. Female dogs are usually less likely to have a problem due to the fact that their urinary tract anatomy is a straight shot from the bladder to the outside. Males are the ones that have a bigger chance of having problems due to the shape of their os penis. There is a bend in their penis where stones have a greater chance of getting stuck, thus causing a blockage.
So moving back to purines, protein and diet. It is very important for dogs that are stone formers to be fed a diet low in purines. Purines are highest in organ meat, red meats, game meats and sardines.
There are a variety of diets you can put your dog on:
-Science Diet UD
-Royal Canin Urinary UC
-Flint River Ranch has several kibbles suited for this condition
-There are a variety of Limited Ingredient Kibbles that would work as well.
-A BARF (raw) diet geared towards dogs with this condition
I feed my dogs a raw diet. However, finding out about Duncan’s condition had led me to decision that I am needing to modify his diet.
I have researched the “Dalmatian Raw Diet” thanks to the advice from some Dalmatian breeders who feed the same and have had for years with great success. The diet mainly consists of chicken and turkey (since white meats are the lowest in purines), a veggie/fruit puree (to replace the nutrients lost from the organ meat and red meat), eggs, and some added supplements that are to be given a few times a week. Some add in dairy products (cottage cheese, yogurt, etc). A word of caution, some dogs will tolerate dairy while others won’t. It will depend on your individual dog as to whether you will want to feed any dairy or not.
Along with a low purine diet, WATER is the next most important thing to add to the diet. Stones are less likely to form in dilute urine. Also, emptying the bladder often is another important thing. Raw diets are high in moisture content (around 80%), however, I still recommend to add warm water to your dogs meals. If feeding a kibble, float your dogs meals in warm water. Keep the urine dilute and the bladder flushed!
I think it is very important to add that the diet for an HU affected dog must be tailored to that individual dog. What one dog may be able to tolerate in its diet another may not. Each dog is going to have a tolerance level to purine content. If you go over that limit your dog will end up with urate crystals present in the urine, which have the potential to turn into stones. It is the owners job to carefully adjust the diet to meet the needs of their individual dog.
It is a good idea for dogs who are stone formers to have a routine urinalysis done by your vet as well as testing the urine from time to time with pH test strips. You are wanting to keep the urine alkaline, as apposed to acidic.
There is also a medication called “Allopurinol”. I don’t know much about it, but what I have learned so far is that is it given twice a day at the proper dosage for dissolving urate stones. This is used as a prevention once the dog has undergone a surgery to have stones removed. It is very important to note that if you are giving your dog Allopurinol you MUST feed a low purine diet or else the dog runs the risk of developing xanthine stones.
So here is the short version:
Purines -> Hypoxanthine -> Xanthine -> Uric Acid -> Allantoin
Dogs with Canine Hyperuricosuria stop at uric acid. The medication Allopurinol shuts down “xanthine oxidase” which is responsible for converting Hypoxanthine to Xanthine and ultimately to uric acid. With out this conversion purines are stuck in Hypoxantine and never make it to uric acid.
So…that’s it! I am continuing my research and will share any more that I learn. I know that I feel much better about Duncan after learning more….and I hope this information can help someone in some way. :0) Knowledge is power!
This website had great information and is where I ordered my DNA test for Duncan:
I also got information from a great article in The Whole Dog Journal titled “Cast in Stone” June 2010 issue.
Raw & Natural Nutrition for Dogs, The Definitive Guide to Homemade Meals written by Lew Olson, PhD has some great information on nutrition as a whole, as well as a chapter on bladder stones.
I also had several exchanged emails with Dr. Tom Lonsdale on the topic of urate stones.
Duncan is a happy, handsome boy and is lucky to have such a caring and devoted dog-mom!