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J Vet Intern Med. 2001 Jul-Aug;15(4):361-7.

Cystinuria in the dog: clinical studies during 14 years of medical treatment.

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Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.

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  • J Vet Intern Med 2001 Nov-Dec;15(6):594.


The purpose of this study was to summarize 14 years of clinical experience with medical treatment of 88 cystinuric dogs. Of special interest was evaluation of recurrence rate of cystine uroliths and adverse effects during long-term tiopronin treatment. Twenty-six different breeds were recognized, and the most common breeds were Dachshunds, Tibetan Spaniels, and Basset Hounds. In 76 of 88 treated dogs (86%), re-formation of cystine uroliths was prevented. Recurrence rate of cystine uroliths changed from 7 months before to 18 months during tiopronin treatment. On 28 occasions, bladder stones were found, and in about 60% of the dogs, the uroliths dissolved. Quantitative measurement of the urinary excretion of cystine showed a significantly (P < .03) higher excretion of cystine in dogs with recurrent urolith formation than in dogs with only 1 urolith episode. Another finding was a significant (P = .02) decrease in urinary cystine excretion in older (>5 years) than in younger (<5 years) dogs. Adverse effects were found in 11 dogs, and the most severe signs were aggressiveness and myopathy. All signs disappeared when tiopronin treatment was stopped. In conclusion, this study emphasizes the importance of an individual strategy for lifelong treatment of cystinuria. In addition to increasing water intake, chemical modification of the cysteine molecule into a more soluble form by means of tiopronin is useful. In dogs with re-formed cystine uroliths, dissolution may be induced by increasing the tiopronin dosage to 40 mg/kg body weight per day. In dogs with a low urolith recurrence rate and low urinary cystine excretion, the tiopronin dosage may be decreased or treatment discontinued.

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