Meet our pets!

If you have a small, white dog, then you have probably noticed that our veterinary assistant Diana has a bit of an obsession with the shih tzus, malteses, and toy poodles of the world — but who can blame her, when the love of her life is her little bichon frise Cookie? Cookie is a 6 year old girl who behaves as a role model to the students in our weekly puppy class sessions. She is such a wonderfully behaved dog that is hard to imagine her causing trouble for her mom, and her mom would have agreed with you until this past winter when Cookie gave her quite a scare.

When taking the dogs out in the snow, it was easy for Diana to notice that Cookie’s urine was not its normal yellow colour…it was straight blood! Diana called the clinic and let us know she was bringing Cookie in to get to the bottom of this startling discovery. Whenever there is a urinary issue, our starting point is always running a urinalysis so we can microscopically assess the cells present in the urine. To collect Cookie’s sample, we did a cystocentesis (directly collecting urine from the bladder with use of a needle and syringe); because we have use of an ultrasound machine, we used it to visualize the bladder for the cystocentesis. By visualizing the bladder in this way, our doctor noticed something looked strange, so also decided to take an x-ray and…there was the answer:

Cookie had bladder stones. Animals always amaze us with their ability to hide their discomfort — if not for the snow on the ground, how much longer would Cookie have kept her bladder stones a secret? The small changes we notice in our animals can actually be huge hints towards larger issues. One of the challenges we face with our patients is that they cannot tell us what is bothering them, so we need to build off of these hints. Not everyone will be thankful for snow on the ground, but Diana certainly was when it helped her to notice that something was wrong with Cookie!

Due to the size of Cookie’s bladder stones, the plan was to proceed with a cystotomy: surgically opening up the bladder to directly remove the stones. Bladder stones are not only very painful, but they also pose a risk of restricting the ability to urinate or causing a urinary blockage. Cookie’s bloodwork was run immediately to make sure that her organs were functioning well, and the surgery date was set. Dr. Craig successfully removed seven stones from Cookie’s bladder.

After we remove bladder stones, they are sent off for analysis in Guelph. Cookie’s stones were found to be calcium oxalate, which bichon frises are predisposed to. Cookie now strictly eats a urinary diet, and has x-rays repeated every few months in order to catch any developing stones early so they can be flushed out using a urinary catheter, rather than bladder surgery.

Despite all that has happened to her, Cookie is in great spirits and is always happy when she visits the clinic for puppy classes every Wednesday!