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Urol Res. 2012 Oct;40(5):467-73. doi: 10.1007/s00240-011-0451-1. Epub 2012 Jan 6.

Presence of Oxalobacter formigenes in the intestinal tract is associated with the absence of calcium oxalate urolith formation in dogs.

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Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA.


The incidence of calcium oxalate (CaOx) urolithiasis in dogs has increased steadily over the last two decades. A potential mechanism to minimize CaOx urolithiasis is to reduce enteric absorption of dietary oxalate by oxalate-metabolizing enteric bacteria. Enteric colonization of Oxalobacter formigenes, an anaerobe which exclusively relies on oxalate metabolism for energy, is correlated with absence of hyperoxaluria or CaOx urolithiasis or both in humans and laboratory animals. We thus hypothesized that decreased enteric colonization of O. formigenes is a risk factor for CaOx urolithiasis in dogs. Fecal samples from dogs with CaOx uroliths, clinically healthy, age-, breed- and gender-matched dogs, and healthy non-stone forming breed dogs were screened for the presence of O. formigenes by quantitative PCR to detect the oxalyl CoA decarboxylase (oxc) gene, and by oxalate degrading biochemical activity in fecal cultures. Prevalence of O. formigenes in dogs with CaOx uroliths was 25%, compared to 50% in clinically healthy, age-, breed- and gender-matched dogs, and 75% in healthy non-stone forming breeds. The presence of oxc genes of O. formigenes was significantly higher in healthy non-stone forming breed dogs than in the dogs with CaOx stones. Further, dogs with calcium oxalate stones and the stone-forming breed-matched controls showed comparable levels of biochemical oxalate degrading activity. We conclude that the absence of enteric colonization of O. formigenes is a risk factor for CaOx urolithiasis.

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