If you are a Dalmatian owner you probably know how susceptible your beautiful dog is to urinary problems. If you are wondering why this breed is so prone to developing such problems with the urinary tract here are some facts and pointers which you will better understand the underlying reasons as well as the possible ways to control and treat this health issues in your Dalmatian.
The reason is that the liver and kidney biochemistry in Dalmatians is very different from that in other dog breeds.
This is due to certain genetic mutations which cause an impairment of the ability to process uric acid. This causes its spread in the urine. Dalmatians lack a certain enzyme which helps deal with purine type proteins found in certain meats. Dogs with normal and healthy livers can easily convert the purines into uric acid and then into allantoin which is secreted in the urine. This conversion is done by the hepatic uricase enzyme.
In dogs from the Dalmatian breed, the lack of this enzyme prevents the proper conversion of uric acid into allantoin, so they secrete the uric acid without the last and very important conversion to allantoin. While allantoin is water soluble and can easily be discharged with the urine of the dog, uric acid isn’t so it can end up deposited in the kidney and bladder and in the urinary tract. This can cause the development of crystals which cause infections as well as blockage of the passages which requires veterinary intervention.
Thankfully, there are ways to prevent the recurrence of urinary stones in your Dalmatian. Here is what you should do:
- Allow your dog to urinate frequently because this will help the potential sediments get flushed out before they start accumulating and transforming into stones. This means taking your dog out at least every 4 to 5 hours.
- Encourage your dog to drink a lot of fresh water. This too helps dilute the uric acid. You can add water to dry food for additional hydration. Some Dalmatian clubs and experts recommend that Dalmatians with confirmed urinary stones should be given distilled water to drink.
- Feeding the dog with a low protein diet is also known to help with urinary problems. The lower the protein the less purine in the system. There are special prescription diets, such as anti-urate diets and foods made especially for Dalmatians so ask your vet about these too. Canned foods also increase water consumption so you can try that too.
- Avoid foods which are rich in purine. These include kidney, anchovies, gravies, game meat, calf or beef liver, sardines, and
- Add 1 hard-boiled egg per feeding and a tablespoon of canola oil.
- Use a test with litmus paper for testing for alkalinity and abnormal acidity of the pet’s urine. The level needs to be pH 7.0.
With regular care and special attention to the dog’s diet, you can prevent the formation of stones and infections in the urinary system of your Dalmatian!