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Why was Axel developing bladder stones?

Axel’s is a really interesting case that we would love to share with you all. We would like to thank Axel’s owners for allowing us to share this with you.

Axel came to the surgery back in December 2020 as he was straining to urinate and only passing very small volumes of urine.

After some initial urine tests, Alex treated Axel with anti-inflammatory pain relief and asked to see Axel again after two days.

Unfortunately, at this visit, Axel’s bladder was large and painful and he was unable to urinate. The team ran some blood and took some x-rays of Axel’s abdomen to see if there was a reason for his symptoms.

What was happening to Axel’s bladder?

It was clear that Axel had developed bladder stones (red circle on the x-rays) and Alex was suspicious that one of the stones has become blocked in his urethra meaning Axel could not urinate.

A cystotomy (abdominal surgery to open the bladder and remove the stones) was performed the same day. Alex removed a massive 126 bladder stones from Axel’s bladder and he made a full recovery.

The stones were sent away and the analysis came back as the stones being made up of ammonium urate. These are not common bladder stones and further specific tests revealed that Axel’s liver was not functioning properly, which had allowed the stones to develop.

An ultrasound scan was performed and revealed an extrahepatic portosystemic shunt (EHPSS). This is a large blood vessel that bypasses the liver and prevents the liver from getting rid of certain toxins from the bloodstream.

After a long discussion with Alex, Axel’s owners decided to proceed to surgery to close the shunt.

Axel’s surgery

Catherine Sturgeon (Visiting Vet Specialists), a specialist soft tissue surgeon, performed this very delicate surgery at Woolton Vets meaning the owner did not have to travel to a hospital and Alex could oversee the case from start to finish.

A special device – an ameroid constrictor (the silver and blue device on the photo) – is placed around the shunting vessel. Over time this tightens and forces the blood to be directed back through the liver where is should go.

Catherine and all the team were amazed at how big the shunting vessel was. These cases are usually picked up in much younger animals and it’s amazing that Axel was actually brought in for urinary problems and that he had not shown any signs of liver disease up to this point.

We are pleased to say Axel was signed off from his surgery in April 2021 and is continuing to do really well. Now that the shunting vessel is fixed these problems should not happen again in the future and we expect Axel to have a happy and healthy life with his owners!

Alex and all the team are super proud of Axel and all the time and dedication his owners have given him.

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We believe prevention is better than cure. Your small monthly payments INCLUDE two check-ups a year as well as 10% discount on ALL consults, food and dental procedures should they need them.

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