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"Max" - Springer Spaniel with Idiopathic Renal Haematuria



A friend recently told me that if he ever owned a dog he wouldn't ever need to seek my advice as a vet as he reckoned that having previously read all my articles he was well equipped to diagnose most problems himself! If only it were that easy!

Three years ago when Max was only 5 years of age he was brought to me by his owners because they had noticed him passing blood in his urine. Normally, this should be a relatively straightforward diagnosis but sadly not everything in life is that simple despite my friend's "black and white" vision! Many of the patients I treat that never quite make the newspaper occupy that rather large "grey" zone!

With regard to "Max's" symptoms an infection would be top of the most likely list but antibiotics failed to produce any improvement.

Further investigation involved assessing the entire urinary tract for other possible causes. The bladder and prostate were visualised using radiography, contrast studies and ultrasonography.

The kidneys and ureters were evaluated using special contrast dyes. Blood tests and coagulation profiles were performed to check the ability of his blood to clot. Bladder stones, cysts, blood dyscrasias and tumours were all crossed off the list. Finally when we couldn't think of any more places to search for the continued blood in the urine "Max" was taken to the University of Bristol. There the search was repeated all over again all to no avail.



By a process of elimination we are then able to give the condition a name....
idiopathic renal haematuria.
Idiopathic, because we don't why;
haematuria, blood in the urine which describes the symptoms; and
renal (kidney), because we know it can't be coming from anywhere else!

And the treatment.... there is none! Simply continue to monitor the symptoms and assess the amount of blood loss occurring through repeated blood tests. As long as "Max" can replace all the blood he loses then there is nothing further to be done.

Over the last 3 years that is exactly what has happened. The only additional treatment "Max" has had to take is extra iron supplementation which is lost with the blood. Despite his peculiar condition "Max" continues to live up to his "Springer" credentials and remains a popular "season ticket" holder with all the staff!

Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS

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