North of England Irish Terrier Club
Founded 1906

Xander and Cystinuria       A case history by Mandy Atwell

On Good Friday we noticed 9yr old Xander was not urinating, he kept cocking his leg but nothing was happening, we immediately contacted the emergency vet who examined him and said he had an enlarged prostate, as we had a bitch in season, kept separately from Xander we thought this could be the reason, he had a catheter inserted and his bladder drained and we were told to think about castration. The next day he was still no better so we took him back, they catheterised him again and operated to castrate him. He didn't recover well and was on medication and was having his bladder drained twice a day at our own vets and every other day was having a chem10 blood test to show his kidney function, by the Wednesday this showed his kidneys were failing. He was admitted and put on a drip to flush his kidneys and a catheter put in situ so his bladder could be drained regularly, he wasn't eating very well and kept regurgitating what food he did eat. He had to go to the emergency vets that evening as our vets don't have overnight facilities, he got worse during the night and we were phoned at 5.45am to be told he was in heart failure and they were having to drain his urine through his side as a catheter couldn't be inserted! We were advised euthanasia would be best for him.

Xander recovered

We picked Xander up to say our goodbyes and take him to our own vets where he would be more comfortable, on arriving he had more blood tests which showed his kidney levels were improving, they managed to insert a catheter and drain his bladder and we decided to fight for him a little longer on the advice from our vet he was put on another drip. The next day he had X-rays which showed stones in his urethra which were the cause all along of him not being able to urinate! Our vets operated to remove the stones and flush out his bladder, where he went from strength to strength with his recovery, the stones were sent for analysis and Xander was diagnosed with Cystinuria which is stones in the bladder, caused by a high cystine level when cystine is not fully reabsorbed into the body so the excess filters into the urine in high levels these stones then build up and cause inflammation and irritation or worst of all a blockage as in Xander's case. This condition is apparently only in entire males, research is being done to try to find the mutant gene that predisposes to the condition. We have sent a blood test from Xander to the laboratory in Switzerland to help with this research. We didn't have any indication of Xander having this condition before he stopped urinating, he was a fit healthy dog, he had had a couple of times with blood in his urine when he was younger, which was treated with antibiotics and cleared up, and regurgitation of his water if he drank it too quickly. He is now 10 1/2 years old and doing brilliantly keeping up with the other dogs and being terrorised by Darla the youngster!

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