During the weeks leading up to the day Mummy was finally rid of the naughty gall bladder, she was curious if dogs get gall stones too. When she googled the topic, she was surprised that not only do dogs suffer from cholelithiasis but the symptoms and treatment is almost identical to humans!!!
She was reading Cholelithiasis in dogs – Pet MD and learnt that it is a medical condition – just as in humans, inflammation of the gall bladder and biliary tract can occur in dogs.
It results from the formation of stones made up of calcium or other secreted substances in the gallbladder. The difference is that dog’s bile has low cholesterol saturation – which is different from that in humans which is high cholesterol.
As in humans, in some cases there are no apparent symptoms. But if the gall bladder gets infected in addition to the gallstones, the dog may display lethargy, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, and jaundice. Mummy said – those were exactly her symptoms!!!
Once that’s determined and ultrasound is used to determine the stones that are usually visible in the bile ducts or the gallbladder. Surgery is not usually recommended for dogs, nor humans with gallstones unless there are serious symptoms like:
- failure of the gall bladder to function that could interrupt the bile flow, or the bile may be sludging
- the bile may be supersaturated with pigment, calcium, or cholesterol
- stone formation caused by inflammation, an infection, a tumor, or the shedding of cells
- the stones may bring on inflammation and allow the invasion of bacteria. (Yup! That was Mummy’s symptom!)
A complete blood count would be required to look for bacterial infection which was what the doctors did for Mummy. While ultrasound is able to make an internal visual examination to detect stones, thickened gallbladder wall, or an over sized bile tract.
And after they’ve taken out the gall bladder, a fat-restricted, high protein diet is usually prescribed. Hmm. This sounds so like what Mummy’s been talking about. That’s why she thought she would eat her last hamburger and sausages yesterday before she loses her gall bladder.
Finally, breeds that are predisposed to gallstones are – miniature Schnauzers, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels and Shetland Sheepdogs. With me being half-Poodle and half Cocker – oh dearie me!
May’s comment: Most gall bladder stone issues in dogs are mostly never detected it seems as they are often associated with other problems. Just knowing they are susceptible to the same, it’s just something to be aware of. Could not believe how similar the symptoms are. Now that I am an “experienced” gall stone/gall bladder sufferer, I will be highly alert!