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The Dalmatian dog breed is rather more prone than most other dogs to suffer from urinary tract problems, such as infections, crystal formation and bladder stones.
This is due to the unusual biochemistry of the liver and kidney of the breed, because of a genetic mutation present within the Dalmatian gene pool. This mutation causes Dalmatians to excrete uric acid in much higher amounts than normal, as the breed has an impaired capacity for processing uric acid naturally. The cause of this inability to process uric acid is due to the Dalmatian lacking the enzyme that is responsible for processing purine proteins, which are present in many different types of meat-based foods. The Dalmatian’s liver cells fail to properly absorb uric acid and convert it into allantoin, which is water-soluble and secreted in urine. Uric acid itself is not soluble in water, and so, this becomes deposited in the kidneys and bladder in large quantities, which can, over time, build up to form crystals and bladder stones.
Crystals within the kidneys and bladder lead to irritations, which can cause infections, blockages and related problems.
While there is no way to change the essential genetic makeup of the Dalmatian in order to correct their inability to process uric acid in the normal manner, there are various different ways in which Dalmatian owners can accommodate for the problem, and potentially prevent or minimise the chances of the excess uric acid transforming into crystals and stones.
Read on to learn more.
There are a range of different ways in which the owner of a Dalmatian can minimise and hopefully prevent the formation of bladder stones in their dogs, and your vet may suggest that you try out several methods at the same time. Prevention is of course preferable to having to deal with a problem further on down the line, and if you own a Dalmatian dog of any age, you should already be thinking ahead!
As all Dalmatians as a breed are considered to have or carry the mutation responsible for difficulty processing urea, outcrossing of the Dalmatian breed to attempt to breed the mutation out of breed lines is something that has been suggested.
This could potentially involve breeding a purebred Dalmatian to a Pointer (a similar dog in terms of ancestry, appearance and size) and then breeding back the subsequent puppies to another purebred Dalmatian. However, this would mean that the puppies and their progeny for some generations to come would not be classed as pedigree Dalmatians, something that deters many professional breeders.
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