Kidney Stones and Purine Problems
If you have a Dalmatian, Beagle, Bulldog, Basset Hound, Cocker Spaniel, Bichon Frise, Miniature Schnauzer, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Yorkshire Terrier, Dachshund, Newfoundland, Irish Terrier, Scottish Terrier or Irish Setter then you are probably only too aware that these breeds can have purine metabolism problems.
Some breeds of dog are more susceptible to certain types of kidney stones than others. For example, kidney stones containing calcium and oxalic acid (known as calcium oxalate nephroliths) are more likely to be found in Lhasa Apsos, Yorkshire Terriers, and Miniature Poodles. Kidney stones containing uric acid (known as urate nephroliths), on the other hand, typically affect Dalmatians, Yorkshire Terriers, and English Bulldogs.
What are Purines and how do they cause kidney stones?
Purines can be found in the nucleus of any plant or animal cell. The name “purines” refers to a specific type of molecule made up of carbon and nitrogen atoms, and these molecules are found in cells’ DNA and RNA.
High levels of purine can be found in any food group (i.e. vegetables, fruit, meat and fish). Certain foods, such as kidneys, game, yeast, mackerel, herring, sardines and mussels have particularly high levels of purine. Others, such as chicken, beef, lamb and non-acidic fruit contain lower levels.
Once the cells in the body die, these purines are broken down and metabolized by the body, specifically the liver, the liver breaks down the purines and produces a waste product called uric acid. The uric acid is released into the bloodstream and is eventually filtered by the kidneys and excreted in the urine.
The kidney is composed of thousands of nephrons, each consisting of blood capillaries and a series of tubes through which filtered fluid flows as urine is produced.
Nephrolithiasis is the medical term for the condition in which clusters of crystals or stones — known as nephroliths or, more commonly, “kidney stones” — develop in the kidneys or urinary tract.
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