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Buster

Buster is an almost 9 year old Cardigan Welsh Corgi. I got him when he was almost two. He was born in March 1997 and was neutered April 1999. He was born with a retained testicle which, at the time of neutering, the vet described as being "way up there but we got it." I got him from a breeder who does all the usual health screenings and had not heard of cystinuria but has since read all the stuff I've sent her.

The first problem I noticed was in February 2002 when he was diagnosed with an enlarged prostate. He had passed some brown (not red) urine a few times . At that time the urinalysis showed a few blood cells but nothing remarkable according to that vet. The condition seemed to respond to the homeopathic remedy the vet prescribed and Buster seemed to be peeing normally.

Around 2003 Buster stopped jumping on the bed and developed some intermittent limping. I consulted several vets. One tried to give me Rimadyl, another tried chiropractic adjustments that seemed to help. Eventually I took him to an alternative vet for seasonal allergies. That vet did a SNAP test and Buster was diagnosed as having Lymes disease in mid-2004. He was treated with four weeks of antibiotics for this condition.

Around the same time (June of 2004) he started peeing blood. Initially, it wasn't all the time and it seemed to occur near the end of our walks after he had done a lot of marking. This time I went to a regular vet. In July 2004, that vet did an x-ray and ultrasound which showed that Buster still had an enlarged prostate and possible bladder stones. He also ran a testosterone level which came back 2.58. The vet suggested the high testosterone level was consistent with a retained testicle among other possible explanations. He thought that the testosterone was causing the enlarged prostate that was preventing Buster from urinating completely which was causing bladder stones which were causing the blood in the urine. He referred me to a specialist to do exploratory surgery and remove the stones. By now blood was appearing in Buster's urine on a regular basis and he seemed to pulse when urinating.

On August 10, 2004 the surgeon found a piece of the vas deferens that had been left behind (apparently hidden by a clamp during the original neutering surgery). His opinion was that this was generating the testosterone that caused the prostate enlargement and bladder problems.

He removed the stones and treated Buster for the bladder infection. At that point Buster's urine ph was 7.3. The stones were analyzed and came back 100 percent cystine. The intern at the specialty hospital who saw Buster for the surgical follow up merely said that they were "unusual" stones and told me nothing about what caused them. Neither did the surgeon who assured me my dog would be fine after surgery.

Buster had complications from the surgery, the stitches came lose and he developed several seromas. I had to go to another vet because the resident who had been assigned to follow up on Buster's case said there was nothing to be done about them and the original surgeon was on vacation. Buster finally healed from the surgery. My costs were well in excess of $4,000

Since then I have not been able to find any vet, conventional or alternative (and I've gone to five of them) who is interested in treating this condition. I have copied articles from the list and given them to a vet who said he was interested in working with me on this but this year when I took Buster to him for his physical that vet just did a normal urinalysis and said "oh good there are no stones."

I even wrote to Dr. Carl Osborne who initially said he would help but than never responded to any of my specific questions. The last time I wrote to him he just sent back a suggested article with no indication of where I could find it. When I wrote back asking where I might find this article, he didn't respond.

Buster is a BARF fed dog and I have been adding additional water to his diet to encourage him to pee a lot. I work at home so letting him out is not a problem although he is not usually interested in going out more than two or three times a day. I've added an additional walk at night to shorten the time urine is sitting in his bladder.

His last urinalysis didn't show any crystals or bacteria. I know that cystine doesn't show in a regular one but that was what my current vet ran anyway. The PH was 6.

The best info I've found is on the cystinuria list. I'm jealous of folks who have vets who suggest thiola or cuprine or offer to do repeated urine tests. None of my vets have suggested doing any of this.

Recently I met someone else who had had a cardi with this condition who lived to 12 and died of liver complications. The owner wondered if the treatment for cystinuria caused the liver damage.

I'm doing what I can. I've increased Buster's water consumption and walks, watch him like a hawk everyday to make sure he is peeing and not passing blood and hope to someday find a vet in my area who is interested enough to help.


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