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Summary

Vitamin A (VA) deficiency and Tamm-Horsfall glycoprotein (THP), a protein that binds retinol and retinyl esters in canine urine, might be involved in the pathogenesis of urolithiasis in dogs. In the present study, we assessed levels of retinol, retinyl esters, retinol-binding protein (RBP) and THP in plasma and urine of dogs with a history of urolithiasis (n = 25) compared with clinically healthy controls (n = 18). Plasma retinol concentrations were higher in dogs with uroliths of struvit (P < 0.01), calcium oxalate (P < 0.05), urate (P < 0.01) and cysteine, but there were no differences in the concentrations of plasma RBP and retinyl esters. Excretion of urinary retinol and retinyl esters were tentatively, but not significantly higher in the stone-forming groups, which was accompanied by increased levels of urinary RBP (P < 0.01) and lower excretions in THP (P < 0.01). The results show that VA deficiency may be excluded as a potential cause for canine urolithiasis. However, the occurrence of RBP and a concomitant reduction of THP in urine indicates a disturbed kidney function as cause or consequence of stone formation in dogs.