Well today has been extremely stressful. Forgive me, but this will probably be a really long post.
Yesterday, Winston went outside at around 3pm and peed as per usual. Only, shortly after that, he lifted his leg at another tree but no pee. Yesterday, I thought this was kind of cute, thinking that even though he had never done it before, maybe at 4 years of age (his birthday was on the 7th!) he finally decided to start marking his territory.
I didn't really think anything else of it. Later that evening, he went out and he did his poop but no pee. It didn't occur to me that it was a big deal. Today, I took Winston out and he pooped first thing, which is weird because he always pees. Well, he lifted his leg and nothing. He proceeded to do this leg-lift and wait routine at every single tree. Nothing came out. I was starting to get worried.
I spoke to a friend who said that Apple Cider Vinegar and some plain yogurt would help. So I rushed to Target and got the smelliest liquid ever and mixed that. I cannot believe any living creature would willingly ingest something that smelled so awful, but Winston will literally eat anything (except mushrooms).
Well, I walked Winston repeatedly and no luck. Eventually, he started lifting his leg and crying in the house. I really started to panic and called the vet's office. They told me it was super serious and that they were open for another 30 minutes so if I made it in time, they would see him. Of course, on a Friday night during rush hour traffic, I knew there was no way I would make it to that area of town in 30 minutes' time. When I told my vet that, they recommended the 24-hour animal hospital.
I took him there. While we walked to the bus stop, we stopped every few feet and he would lift his leg, and stand there, waiting to pee. He was truly miserable.
The vet looked at him and said that it could be a lot of things, most likely a UTI, bladder infection, or crystals/stones in his bladder. He said they would put a catheter in him and get some urine to test it for bacteria. Well, a half hour later (and heart-breaking dog squealing, which I have no evidence came from Winston, but it sure sounded like his "voice") the vet came back and told me that his urethra had over an inch of heavy blockage and when they looked at the xray, it was thick, grainy, little crystals. He flushed it and pushed some of the crystals back into his bladder for now. Apparently, when I came in, Winston's bladder was already at 200cc of urine. I didn't think to ask but I'm not sure how much more he could have taken.
The vet is keeping Winston overnight, with a catheter to make sure he can continue to urinate without any problems. He is also going to test to make sure he doesn't have any signs of kidney failure. He said he would also be sending Winston home with a special diet.
This is where I got really upset. For Winston's entire life, he has eaten nothing but "good" food. He started out on Blue Buffalo, then when I moved to Seattle, that was difficult to obtain. So I switched him to Orijen but I started to have some financial issues and switched him to Taste of the Wild. Then, when money started to get a little better for me, I switched him Wellness, which is what he has been eating.
I asked if Wellness caused this and the vet didn't say either way. He just said that his diet would the main culprit of causing the crystals.
Did the Wellness do this to my baby?! This makes me so outrageous! I am worried sick about him - he's never not been here at night, I've never spent a night without him. And now I'm looking at the dog food I literally bought last week and crying, wondering if it is my fault he is sick.
I think I would like any and all advice but I really needed to vent as well. I am just so worried about Winston.
UPDATE: So I picked Winston up this morning. He is doing much better and does not need surgery, thankfully. He didn't have actual stones but just crystals. They were struvite crystals and his urine had bacteria and blood in it. They sent off a sample to the lab to test it. The doctor did say that his kidneys are perfect so I am really happy about that. Winston is home and playing. It makes me so so so happy. Although they did shave his little privates! His pink little belly is exposed now, haha.
They gave us a special diet of Royal Canin Urinary S/O for him to eat, which is a wet food so I'm sure he will love that. And he has three medications to take, an antibiotic, a pain medication, and something for spasms to help his urinary muscles contract.
It is NOT your fault. You don't know if it was the food in the first place and you have been feeding him a good quality, well respected brand because you love him. So stop blaming yourself. I know that's not easy....we do it with our pets and our kids. It's always what did I do wrong. You did nothing wrong. Now you just need to wait and get the answers from the vet and go from there.
When Winston comes home you will need to be your normal self, it's what he expects. Don't transfer your anxiety on to him, don't feel bad for him. Animals don't think beyond the next treat, he is not worried that this is going to any kid of a problem. I dealt with the whole crystals thing with one of my cats. There are different reasons for it..wait till the vet figures out what is going on.
Thank you so much for your kind words. Winston is home and well. I've written a small update into the main post.
As Linda said...it is NOT your fault. I had a cat years ago that had this and once we got him on special food he did wonderful:) So sorry for what you are going through...
He seems to be on the mend! Everyone at the emergency vet office was simply infatuated with little Winston, he's such a little trooper. He's at home now. Winston is now on a special medicated food which should help get rid of all the little crystals.
Bladder stones in corgis is very common. The type of stones will need to be determined for proper treatment. My first corgi Lexus had them and once bad enough required surgery to remove them. She had the calcium oxalate kind. WE changed her diet for a couple of years to canine u/d and then since she had no recurrences we switched her to the same food the boys were getting. ( sorry, I don't remember what that was.) Then due to one of the boys being kidney failure we switched them all over to FROMM Duck and Sweet Potato as that was all he would eat. She was on that with no issues for two years before she crossed the bridge in 2011 two weeks shy of her 15th birthday. So, bottom line here... it is treatable.
I concur with Linda-- it is NOT your fault. Don't try to blame anyone. Some corgis are just predisposed to them no matter what. Take it one day at a time and do your research as you are doing to make sure Winston is getting the right treatment and that you are comfortable with it.
Here's some good articles on bladder stones in general.
Thank you for the links.
Winston has had FROMM before, he really likes it. I think after we finish with the special medical diet, we will be getting him back onto that :) The vet said that some dogs just metabolize some foods better than others. So I don't think Wellness is a good choice for him anymore.
Glad to hear he is home and happy. They will figure out what is going on and set you on the right course of action and not all require surgery. With my cat Oliver it turned out his uthrea was too narrow and was getting blocked by the small crystals that are a normal part of urine. I had never of the surgery to re-route his plumbing so he would pee like a girl kitty. Turned out it's very common so that's what was done. He is 2 years post surgery and hasn't had a single problem since.
Keep us posted.
He's doing really well - he's been mostly sleeping since I fed him and gave him the pain meds. He's snuggling with his stuffed piggy and just kind of watching me with his eyes when I move about. The vet is having his urine analyzed to determine if after we are done with the antibiotics, if the strain of bacteria would be resistant and will call me in 2-3 days about that. I'm following up with his regular vet on Monday.
They told me that he seems to be doing much better now and that he didn't have any actual stones at this time, just crystals so the medicated food should hopefully dissolve the crystals over time and that way we can avoid surgery.
So happy he is better and didn't need surgery!
Augh! This is what happened to Ruby the Corgi Pup, only she (thank heavens!) didn't get plugged up. She was very tiny -- don't know if she came to me with the bladder infection at 8 weeks or developed it very shortly thereafter, but I think she was never right from the git-go.
Don't panic about the S/O diet. When Dr. B put Ruby on it, I thought UGHHH it looks soo substandard (i'm such a dog food snob!), but to my relief she did just fine on it. It contains two ingredients that specifically help to acidify urine (which helps dissolve the crystals) and also it's pretty high in protein, which also helps with the urine acidity balance.
Wellness made Ruby good and sick. I tried that and also Castor & Pollux after she "graduated" from the Royal Canin. She so much liked the canned food that I thought OK, let's just keep her on canned. But...baaaaad idea! Ask your vet for advice.
Ruby is now eating what Cassie the Aged Corgi has always eaten: real food cooked in my kitchen (1/2 plain unadulterated meat such as chicken, beef, turkey, or pork and yes, pork IS ok for dogs; 1/4 dog-friendly veggies, and 1/4 starch such as sweet potato, rice, or oatmeal), plus a full-spectrum dog vitamin each day. And she's thriving. Her hair glows in the dark and she's growing apace.
One extremely helpful thing that readers here advised: add a little water to his food with each meal. Dehydration can aggravate (cause????) urinary crystals, so it's in the pooch's interest to be sure he consumes enough fluids.
After learning this from the MyCorgi group, I observed that neither dog was drinking very much water from the two big bowls I put down for them -- not so good in Arizona's 110-degree "dry heat." A dog can consume about 1 ounce per pound of weight without getting overhydrated. Ruby weighs about 15 pounds now, so I add about 1/4 cup of tap water to each of her three daily meals. So far, so good...
I'm so sorry this happened to you. You must have been scared to death! On the not-your-fault issue: like everyone else said! Who on earth could imagine any such thing would happen? Glad Winston is springing back -- after about three weeks he'll probably be completely back to normal.
Yeah I started adding water with his food. He really likes it. I had to switch from the wet to the kibble form of the SO because in just four days, he had gained about 5lbs! He seems to be doing really well. I'm still giving him antibiotics daily but he's off the pain meds and the anti-spasm stuff now.
I've noticed too that Winston does not drink a lot of water. When he is drinking, he gulps it down and dribbles water everywhere because he's pretty messy haha, but he doesn't actually go and drink very many times during the day. I've tried incentivizing him but he seems pretty uninterested in water most of the time.
Hopefully this will just clear itself up and he not need anything else. It's scary!
We've been struggling with this for a while now. We started Ein on Orijen Regional Red when we firt got her, then switched to Acana after she got fixed. When she was 11 months she came down with a UTI. We tested the urine and there was struvite crystals. My vet does not do prescription diets. She said one of the best ways to treat struvite crystals is to acidify the urine by doing a raw diet. So thats what we did. Ein was on a raw diet for a few months and it worked wonderfully.
Well, we got a bit lazy and switched back to kibble. We did Evanger's, then Fromms, and then back to Orijen when we got the new puppy. Well, Sunday Ein started squatting a lot. Then came the blood clots. I freaked and rushed Ein to the ER vet. She had a sterile urine draw and an x-ray. Ein has a big ole stone in her bladder. It must of been forming for months the vet said. So, looks like us switching to kibble was a bad idea. I took Ein to our regular vet and Ein needed to have surgery to remove the stone. She came back from surgery last night. Once we get the results back from the stone analysis we'll know more. We just switched both dogs to Honest Kitchen in order to reacidify Ein's diet. So, hopefully that helps keep more stones from forming.
The big thing is that none of this is either of our faults. Some dogs and dog breeds are just prone to this issue. We just have to do whats best to make them healthy and happy. I learned my lesson that regular kibble just doesn't sit well with Ein. Hopefully, the switch to Honest Kitchen will acidify her diet enough along with a new cranberry supplement. Hopefully your pup doesn't need surgery like Ein did. Good luck!