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Dear Daisy Dog

Sparky, our Dalmatian, developed bladder stones that blocked his urethra, preventing him from urinating. Surgery corrected the problem, but he needs a special diet for the remainder of his life.

We recently adopted Susie, a 5-year-old Dalmatian. We don’t know her medical background. Should we feed her the same prescription food to prevent bladder stones?

Daisy Responds

You probably don’t need to do that. Let me explain.

Some Dalmatians have a genetic defect that prevents them from properly metabolizing and excreting certain proteins.

Consequently, their urine contains excessive amounts of a metabolic byproduct called uric acid, or urate. Concentrations can get so high that the urate coalesces into stones.

Not surprisingly, 96 percent of Dalmatian urinary stones are composed of urate.

For reasons that are not well understood, bladder stones are diagnosed much more frequently in male Dalmatians than in females.

In a recent study of over 10,000 Dalmatians, five percent of males – but only 0.4 percent of females – formed bladder stones.

To prevent urate stone formation, dogs like Sparky should eat a low protein diet, like u/d by Hill’s Science Diet, and they should be encouraged to drink plenty of water. Some dogs also require a medication called allopurinol.

However, because only a small percentage of female Dalmatians develop urinary stones, Susie can eat a regular diet.

If she develops signs of urinary tract disease, such as frequent urination, or you see blood in her urine, have your veterinarian determine whether she has a simple urinary tract infection or bladder stones. Fortunately, both problems can be treated successfully.

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