Main : Stories: Ernie
By Susanne Walters

This site really helped me cope with my dog, Ernie, being diagnosed with Cystinuria. Hopefully my story will help others see that there dog is not alone in this battle.

My dog Ernie is a 3 and a half year old Pekingese. About six months ago I noticed that Ernie started to pee in the house, which was unusual because he was house trained. It wasn't until he urinated on a white carpet that I noticed his urine was tinged with blood. The next day my husband and I took Ernie to our vet. They told us that he had a UTI and gave us some antibiotics, and to bring him back in 2 weeks. So when we brought Ernie back they tested his urine again and said that he still seemed to have a slight infection. We were told to give him another treatment of antibiotics and not to worry anymore about it.

A few months went by and Ernie seemed to be doing fine. He wasn't urinating inside as much, and things seemed to be under control. I never made it a point to watch my dog urinate so unfortunately I didn't notice the blood in his urine until I started to see drops of blood on the floor. After noticing the drops of blood on the floor I took him outside and waited for him to urinate. When he did it was bright red, it seemed to be more blood than urine. I took him back to the vet were they finally did x-rays. In the x-ray there was one stone. The vet told me the only way to get rid of bladder stones was by a cystotomy. The vet also told me that Ernie's prostate was enlarged and he would have to be neutered. I made an appointment for surgery the next morning.

When I dropped Ernie off for surgery the vet asked me if I wanted to see a bladder stone. The vet showed me a small jar full of stones. All of the stones in the jar were very smooth and round. I left my dog with the vet and went home to wait on the call from the vet. Eight hours later, I got a call telling me my dog was out of surgery, and ready to be picked up. When I arrived at the clinic the vet told me that surgery went well and Ernie did real good. But before I could get too excited the vet told me that the stones he took out of Ernie were not like the ones he showed me earlier that morning. He showed me the vile which held Ernie's stones (there was more than just the one they saw on the x-ray) all of the stones from Ernie looked sharp and jagged. The vet told me that based on his experience these looked like cystine stones, the bad kind of stones. The vet explained these were stones that his own body made and there was nothing we could really do besides put him on a special diet, and if that didn't work we could put him on medication.

The next few days my husband and I nursed Ernie back to health and started him on his new food. Three weeks post surgery I noticed that Ernie started to dribble urine as he walked and I knew immediately that this was not a good sign. I called the vet's cell phone since it was Sunday and explained the situation to him. The vet told me that Ernie had most likely developed another stone and needed to come to the clinic first thing Monday morning. On Monday morning the vet told me that she would try to catheterize Ernie to get a urine sample and that she would call me later. Less than an hour after leaving the vet I got a call stating that Ernie had stones in his urethra and that they would have to do a perineal urethrostomy. I gave my consent for the surgery and went to work. During my lunch hour I received a call from my husband and he told me to come outside in the parking lot. I could tell he was about to break down, and my heart sank because I knew there was something wrong with my dog. I prayed for him to be all right. I couldn't stand the thought of loosing him.

I walked towards my husband and asked, "What happened to my puppy?" My husband explained that the vet called and told him that they couldn't do the surgery because the two stones were lodged in his urethra at the place where they needed to do the surgery. The only options were to put his bladder on the outside of his body, or put him down. I knew we couldn't do the surgery because that would mean he would have to become an outdoor dog, and small furry dogs and 115 degree weather don't mix. With that surgery Ernie would constantly leak urine, so we couldn't keep him in the house.

My husband and I called the vet and told them we would have him put to sleep but we wanted to come say goodbye. I felt like the worst mom in the world, I left my dog there this morning without properly saying goodbye, and now he was under anesthesia and he wouldn't know I was there to wish him off to heaven. I was crying so hard, I didn't want my dog to die. When we arrived at the vet they told us they were going to try something else to save our dog. Instead of making the incision between the penis and scrotum they were going to make the incision between his scrotum and anus. This was the only way we were going to be able to save our dog, and we took the chance. The surgery is usually done this way in cats so the vet didn't see why it wouldn't work with our dog. There are risks for infection because the incision is so close to the anus and urinal scalding, similar to a baby's diaper rash due to urine on the skin, but all of these can be treated explained the vet. It's been two days since Ernie's surgery, and we are going to start him on medication, I can only hope that everything turns out great, because this is our last option. I would like to mention our vets, Dr Valerie Holt and Dr. Jay Holt from the Animal Kindness Animal Clinic in Las Vegas, NV. They were always there when we had questions, and they always did everything they could to help Ernie.

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