Straining to pee is the most visible signs of Cystinuria in Bulldogs. Cystinuria is a hereditary condition in which the kidney is unable to process cystine, an amino acid, correctly. This leads to the formation of cystine stones and can cause blockage in the kidney, bladder, or ureter.
Canine cystinuria can be of three types – Type I (autosomal recessive), Type II (autosomal dominant), and Type III (formerly known as non-Type I).
Cystinuria in Bulldogs and other Mastiff breeds is mostly of the Type III category. Unlike the first two types, the Type III does not show a simple mode of inheritance. This disease is somehow only found in intact males.
Aside from Bulldogs, Mastiff and Bulldog breeds such as the English Mastiff, the Cane Corso, the Italian Mastiff, and the French Bulldog are also prone to this type of cystinuria. Type I is common among Newfoundland dogs, Landseer dogs, and Labrador Retrievers. On the other hand, Type II is usually seen in Miniature Pinschers and Australian Cattle dogs.
Diagnosing Cystinuria in Bulldogs
Vets prescribe four tests to detect cystinuria in Bulldogs or any other dog. Three of them are urinary tests while the other one is a DNA test.
Urinary Tests To Diagnose Cystinuria in Bulldogs
The following urinary tests help detect cystines in a Bulldog’s pee.
- A simple urinalysis
- The nitroprusside spot test
- The urine amino acid quantitation test
The simple urinalysis is the least reliable among the three while the urine amino acid quantitation is the most accurate although this method is more expensive.
Negative results from urinalysis and nitroprusside spot test do not mean that your Bulldog is free from cystinuria. He could have cystines but that are not detectable during the time of testing. On the other hand, a positive result from either test always means the dog has the disease. The only exception is if your Bulldog has been taking certain antibiotics prior to the test.
If your Bulldog has any genetic disease, he is at a very high risk of having cystine stones. It is only a matter of when the disease sets in and causes symptoms to appear.
When the effects of cystinuria start to show, your pet may experience the following.
- Pain when peeing
- Have bloody urine
- Straining to pee
- Chronic urinary tract infection
X-ray and ultrasound can detect the presence of stones and crystals in the dog’s bladder.
DNA Test for Cystinuria in Bulldogs
The DNA test for cystinuria can be done at any age. But it is best to have the test done as early as possible so diet and neutering plans can be set early before the body starts forming crystals. The earliest time to have the DNA done is a few days after a puppy stops from suckling for his mother’s milk.
All that you need are blood samples are. Do not forget to ask specifically for the Type III test. Although dogs with cystinuria have a very high chance of forming stones, not all of them do.
Preventing Cystinuria in Bulldogs
Because it is a genetic disease, there is no concrete way to prevent cystinuria in Bulldogs. But it is recommended not to breed Bulldogs tested positive for the disease.
Cystinuria in Bulldogs is also driven by hormones, particularly the testosterone. For this reason, neutering a male cystinuria-positive Bulldog will prevent his body from forming stones or developing symptoms. Giving your Bulldog a low-protein diet until he is ready for neutering also helps.
Treatment of Cystinuria in Bulldogs and Cystine Stones
Sadly, there is no cure for cystinuria because the condition is embedded in your Bulldog’s genes and bodily chemicals. But you can do something about his cystine stones.
If you Bulldog happens to form cystine stones, you have to get those things out of your Bulldog’s body to prevent blockage in his urinary system.
Hydropulsion and Cystotomy
A method called retrograde hydropulsion is often used for this problem. The technique pushes any stones blocking the urethra back into the bladder. This only solves the obstruction and does not get rid of the stone. The stones can only be removed via a surgical procedure called cystotomy.
Scrotal Urethrostomy and Cystotomy
This method is used if hydropulsion fails to work. In this procedure, a new tube or path is made for the urine to pass. This complicated surgery creates an exit for the urine between the dog’s penis and scrotum. A cystotomy is also needed to remove the cystine stones in the bladder.
Dissolving Cystine Stones in Your Dog’s Body
An expensive drug called Thiola can dissolve cystine stones. But this drug must be given only if the hydropulsion is successful or if the urethra has no existing blockage.
Penicillamine can also be used to dissolve stones. Both Thiola and Penicillamine can cause serious side effects on your Bulldog. However, the latter is known to cause more side effects. Ask the veterinarian which drug or method suits your Bulldog the most.