Keeper is originally from Mexico. He spent the first 6 months of his life in a “pet store” in a tiny wire rabbit cage with his sister. This cage was so small he couldn’t stand or sit.
When he was finally removed by a local rescue group his legs had grown deformed, his pads, ear tips and tail were bleeding from the wire. He was treated, neutered, vaccinated, dewormed and put up for adoption. He arrived in BC where his new home didn’t work out and he was surrendered to See Spot Smile Dalmatian Rescue in 2012. By this time he was 1 year old.
Keeper has had a number of health issues but our biggest concern was that he was urinating out small bladder stones. Dalmatians carry a gene causing Hyperuricosuria (high level of uric acid). This causes bladder crystals, which if not treated, can turn into bladder stones. There are DNA tests now to rule out stone forming parents, but Keeper’s parents were not tested prior to breeding. Bladder stones are a serious concern as they can cause urinary blockage, which is a medical emergency, and would require immediate surgery to correct. Uroliths (bladder stones) are more of a concern for males because their urethra is much narrower, longer and more curved than a female’s.
Once diagnosed the stone forming dog can be maintained on a low purine diet, an increase in water intake and frequent bladder emptying. These dogs lack the ability to break down meat proteins and must be fed a vegetarian diet based with soy, egg, dairy and/or nut proteins. The pH of 5 of a high uric acid dog should be maintained at a more neutral pH of 7. So now that Keeper is a vegetarian, he no longer forms stones. He must have his urine frequently checked to make sure he is maintaining healthy urine. With annual blood tests, quarterly urine tests and being maintained on a special veterinary diet he can live a full, happy and healthy life!
Written by: Jennifer Winder