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Keywords:

  • Lower urinary tract;
  • Magnesium ammonium phosphate;
  • Struvite;
  • Urethral obstruction

Background

Crystalline-matrix urethral plugs have not been previously reported in dogs.

Hypothesis/Objectives

To report the composition of urethral plugs in dogs, describe clinical features of the disease, and identify overrepresented breeds.

Methods

Retrospective case series. A Minnesota Urolith Center (MUC) record search was performed for urethral plugs in dogs submitted during a 6-year period. The composition of the plugs and signalment of affected dogs were recorded. Breed risk analysis was performed using a control group without plugs from the Veterinary Medical Center, University of Minnesota (VMC UMN). Breed risk was also calculated for a group of dogs with struvite (plugs and uroliths). Medical records for the subset of plug cases from the VMC UMN were reviewed and described.

Results

Between 2006 and 2011, 42 urethral plugs from dogs were submitted to the MUC. All came from male dogs, and the mineral component of the majority (83%) was struvite. Thirty (71%) samples were from Pugs. Pugs were overrepresented in plug submissions (OR 179; CI 88–389; P < .001), and for struvite in general (OR 14.3; CI 7.9–24.4; P < .001). Nine of the dogs were treated at VMC UMN; all were castrated male Pugs. None of these cases had bacteriuria or positive urine cultures, and no underlying cause of plug formation was identified.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance

When evaluating dogs with urethral obstruction, plugs need to be considered, especially in male Pugs. Further investigation into the underlying cause of plug formation in dogs is warranted.