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Urolithiasis Term Paper

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In captivity and in the wild, many animals suffer from a urinary disorder called urolithiasis. Urolithiasis is the process of stones forming in the kidneys, bladder, or any other part of the urinary tract (Kerr, 2013). Uroliths or calculi are the stones formed which are concretions composed of mineral salts that form in the urinary tract (de Oliveira Fernandes & das Graças Mendes Marcolino, 2007). It is common to see this problem in domesticated animals, as uroliths occur more commonly in captivity than in the wild. Urolithiasis is caused from secondary problems depending on the animals and is not a specific disease on its own (de Oliveira et al., 2013). The formation of these stones is most common in domesticated hoofstock, cats, and dogs.…show more content…
This is the reason that cases are seen in greater quantities in certain species, especially the wild populations that have continual problems with urolithiasis. Cases seen in species are usually of a certain type of urolith mineral concretion, although rare cases of different urolith compositions are often studied as well. Different urolith cases have been recorded for carnivores, ruminants, equine, porcine, rodent, marsupial, fish, cetacea, primate, reptile, and other groups of animals (Osborne et al., 2008). This diversity in species and uroliths is an indicator that genetic predisposition is not the only factor that contributes to uroliths. Complete nutritional studies are rare in zoos especially for carnivorous species (de Oliveira et al.,…show more content…
Struvite uroliths are made of magnesium ammonium phosphate. The formation of uroliths happens when urine is saturated with a solute which causes crystals to form and grow in the urinary tract. During urolith growth, there are other factors like cell debris, bacteria, or foreign bodies that have to be there to proliferate the process. There are many factors that can exacerbate urolith growth such as urine volume, pH, concentration of solutes, and urolith promoters and inhibitors. Dilution through water consumption is an important way to decrease the concentrations of minerals that cause uroliths. Water intake is shown to be more effective in the form of preformed water, and that just free water intake may not help with mineral oversaturation. Another way to prevent struvite is to feed a special urolithiasis diet that has low levels of magnesium and has greater solubility for that magnesium. One of the problems with lowering magnesium is that a decrease in another mineral, like calcium, can cause calcium oxalate stones to form. Calcium oxalate stones form when calcium levels are decreased and oxalate levels are not, which increases the absorption of oxalate. Without magnesium to form complexes with oxalate, there is more of a chance to form uroliths with calcium. Magnesium acts as a calcium oxalate inhibitor. For these cases, it is important to not have reductions or excesses of minerals and
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