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Rudy
By Tom Eckert

In August of 2004, my beautiful 3-year-old champion male mastiff (my first mastiff), Rudy, returned from the vet one night. He was loaded with bladder stones and had a serious blockage in his urethra. They were able to catheterize him and push the stones back into his bladder. They then operated,removed all stones and did a complete battery of tests. The first urinalysis came back and showed cystine crystals in his urine.

He never had a urinary tract infection or any problems urinating in threeyears. Never even had a cold. The whole thing was quite shocking

By Feburary of 2005, Rudy was still battling cystinuria, although most of the six months had been fairly quiet. His main problem was a recurring, almost constant, bladder infection, caused presumably by the sediment collecting in his bladder. His vet ran culture and sensitivity tests on his urine every two or three weeks to monitor changes, adjusted his antibiotic when indicated, but we had no luck eradicating the infection. At this time Rudy was getting no poultry at all, and I had removed vitamin C and eggs from his diet as well. We began to investigate drug options, such as thiola or cuprimine, and also look into a urine alkalinizer such as potassium citrate, as we were unable to get his urinary pH over 6.0-6.5.

We ultimately put him on the curpimine, but after six weeks, he was blocked again. We took him at this time to Dr. Debra Wiessman, a board certified surgeon, who performed a scrotal urethrostomy. She is the vet who performed his first bladder surgery the year before.

Rudy came through the surgery very well. Although three weeks earlier his sonagram had shown no sign of stones, when they operated on him, his bladder was chock full of them. This is a vile disease.

His recovery was not as bad as I had feared. There were only some minor blood droplets, and blood in his urine. He was eating, drinking, urinating, and moving his bowels after the first day home. I did have to stay up with him all night as he had to urinate every 30 minutes or so. It was a long weekend, but he made a wonderful recovery. About three months after the urethrostomy, he got back up to his fighting weight of 195 pounds, after a low of 170 when leaving the hospital. He has grown accustomed to his altered anatomy and has learned to urinate without messing himself. He also seems happier and calmer now that he is neutered. We went for re-check at the vet this and they found no stones although there was some sediment. We did a urine culture and it was, finally, negative! We are hoping that most of the sediment and smaller stones are passing through the larger opening that the surgery created. He remains on cuprimine and potassium citrate.

All in all, the surgery was much easier on him than I had imagined. After two weeks of recovery, he was completely back to his normal life. We pray everyday that his good luck will continue! I would encourage anyone who is faced with blockages and/or urethrostomies to contact me.

I also can't recommend my vet enough: Dr. Debra Weissman in Norwalk,CT. She is at the Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center, 23 West Cedar St., Norwalk, CT, 06854. Her number is 203-854-9960.

It is really sad that people are so cavalier about cystinuria. Do the owners of dogs with this condition who keep breeding them aware of how truly terrible this disease is? Can they possibly think that nice type and a good pedigree are worth the risk of blockages and urethrostomies? I suffered a heartbreak too when i discovered that my champion mastiff was afflicted with this disease, but the decision to neuter was quite easy. I just don't see how anyone could possibly consider breeding a dog who tested positive for cystinuria. People really need to be educated about this diease before it becomes even more common.

Cystinuria is a vile disease. And it is not a cheap disease. I have spent well over $10,000, alot of sleepless nights and much heartache!


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