Urolithiasis is a medical condition referring to the presence of uroliths -- stones, crystals or calculi -- in the kidneys, bladder or anywhere in the urinary tract. Rats with this condition suffer from secondary bacterial infections and pain due to the rubbing of the uroliths against the urinary tract. Male rats are more prone to urolithiasis because of their longer urethras.
Uroliths are rough in nature, causing the rat's urethra, urinary bladder or kidneys to become inflamed. Kidneys can also become inflamed due to secondary bacterial infections. Rats suffering from this condition will lick or bite the urinary area. And while some are unable to urinate or at least urinate properly, others frequently urinate but only in small amounts, leaving the fur around the perineum damp. In severe cases, urolithiasis may lead to renal failure. Some other symptoms include:
The consistency of uroliths depends on the types of minerals or solutions in the formations. For example, urolithiasis struvite stones consist of magnesium ammonium phosphate and causes the rat's urine to become highly alkaline, and urolithiasis cystine stones consist of calcium oxalate, causing the urine to become highly acidic. Meanwhile, ammonium acid urates and silicate stones cause the urine pH to become either neutral or acidic.
There are several known risk factors for urolithiasis including diseases and conditions such as leukemia, diabetes, paralysis and diverticula (balloon-like growths on the bladder). Some other causes include:
Heredity can also cause urolithiasis in rabbits.
Other than observing the rat's clinical symptoms, the veterinarian will conduct X-rays and urine examinations to confirm the diagnosis. Culture and sensitivity tests may be required if secondary bacterial infections are present.
A stone that can be found in the urinary bladder; may also be referred to as a cystolith.
A medical condition in which the bladder is filled in full or in part with bladder stones.
A tube found between the bladder and the outside of the body; used to assist in urination.
The area between the vulva and anus or scrotum and anus
An increase in the number of bad white blood cells
Inducing death on an animal or putting them to sleep
The failure of the kidneys to perform their proper functions