Scippione has been coming to our clinic for the last ten years and had enjoyed good health for almost all that time. In April, he gave his owner a scare during a regular visit to the dog wash, where he would normally try to escape, but instead Scippione stood still and groaned. Immediately afterwards he became unsteady on his feet and his owner brought him straight to our clinic.
A physical examination showed that Scippione's leg reflexes were not normal, and we suspected that he had a slipped (prolapsed) disc in his spine, putting pressure on his spinal cord, affecting the control of his legs. Radiographs of his spine were taken under general anaesthetic and indeed we could see a compression in his spinal vertebrae which was likely the source of the problem. To our surprise though, the radiographs also clearly showed about 12 stones visible in his bladder.
When we talked to Scippione's owners about the bladder stones, they were as surprised as we were, because he had not shown any signs at all of a problem with his urinary tract. Normally we expect to see some blood in the urine, or pain and difficulty urinating but Scippione was urinating just fine. Some of the stones were quite large, but others were very small, and the concern was that if they happen to get stuck in his urethra (urine passage) he might need immediate surgery to remove the blockage.
Unfortunately we were not sure at that stage whether Scippione would need emergency surgery on his spine to remove the slipped disc, and we had to wait at least a week to see if his reflexes and walking improved with strict rest and anti-inflammatories. Luckily for Scippione, he improved in this area day by day, and with his owner's loving care and attention, his back became more stable.
As it turned out, just as his back was given the "all clear" that spinal surgery was not required, Scippione started passing blood in his urine. He returned to us and underwent bladder surgery to remove all the stones in his bladder. The procedure was long and difficult because many of the stones were very small and hard to find, but Scippione recovered remarkably quickly and well from the surgery, even though he is an older boy and took it all in his stride.
Two and a half weeks after surgery, Scippione is continuing to do well. We are awaiting results on tests to identify the type of bladder stones to determine if we can prevent any new stones from forming. Scippione has pulled through bravely from both major problems, and we think he deserves a long period of good health once again!