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RUN N RATE

Kidney And Bladder Stone

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Just wanted to share some things about my mare CC who was diagnosed with a bladder stone last April.

I had taken a lesson on her and the woman that I took the lesson from hopped on her and did some drills, then as she got off and went to hand me the reins back, CC urinated but it was basically straight blood, bright red. The woman immediately thought that CC was either tying up or had tied up recently and we treated it as such even though the mare has never tied up in the past and at the moment was still moving freely. 45 minutes later when I got her home she urinated again and it was normal and continued to be normal for the next 2 weeks that I gave her off just in case it was a tie up episode though nothing else suggested that. Got on her and walked her for about 10 minutes and she urinated and it had blood in it. Did some research and felt strongly that I was dealing with A) a UTI or B) a bladder stone. Made a vet appointment and sure enough she had a bladder stone. CC is not a good candidate for an abdominal type surgery, she is an epic fail at being a quiet patient for 24 hours let alone 4-6 weeks so looked into Lithotripsy and found that UC Davis Large Animal Hospital had done a few successfully. In Lithotripsy they go in thru the urethra and break the stone up either with a laser, or a pair of nippers or a drummel tool and take the pieces out. We made the appointment and got her down there, ultrasounded her kidney's only to find that she also had stones in her left kidney, right kidney was clear and 2 smaller stones in her bladder also. It was recommended we take her home and put her down when the pain became too bad for her. Her blood work showed also that her immune system was a bit compromised which I guess explained why suddenly the summer before her feet kind of fell apart on us but her hair coat still looked alright at this point.

Took her home and decided to look for some other options, figured if I tried a few things and they didn't work that at least we had a better shot than if I tried nothing and just put her down. Had her hair analysis done also, came back her kidney and immune systems were weak as was her lymph system. Put her on Equine Natural Care Herbs, apple cider vinegar with Mothers in it, changed her hay to grass based feed and put a filter on the spicket that feeds their water tank. Spoke to a woman that had a horse that was diagnosed with kidney stones as a 4 year old futurity prospect, she still had him and had run him until he was 18 when she had to retire him due to a hock issue but he was still living and loving life in the pasture at 21 years of age. She had managed his issues with essential oils and accuscope therapy. I did some research on the essential oils and also added a few to CC's regimen. By the middle of June I had started riding her lightly again just mostly because she is a horse that loves having a job. At this point she had been on the herbs for almost a month. I made paste of them and syringed them to her orally the first few months, then started feeding them to her over her hay but she bled one day after a ride so went back to syringing them to her again. By the middle of July I was able to trot and lope her with no bleeding after the rides though we kept the rides shorter and I also rode at 4:30 am because around here it gets to be 110+ at that time of the year and I didn't want to stress her system more than it already was. Another thing was that her feet started looking better too and she gained some weight, she has always been a leaner racey built mare, she put on a bit of weight. Also added having her BioScanned a few times a month at this point too as it seemed to help her urinate more easily for 3-4 days afterward. In September after a short ride she passed a good amount of blood again so I decided to get off of her until we got her back to the vet for some follow up ultrasounds which we had planned for at around the 6 month mark. November 18th we took her back to UC Davis, the vet that had been on her case the first time was amazed at her condition when I walked her up to the exam room. When they ultrasounded her , she had one less stone in the left kidney, both kidneys functioning, you could see the uretor's working also, and the two smaller stones that had been in the bladder were gone. We think that is why she bled in September, passed the stones sometime around there. So it was decided after the blood panel came back to go ahead with the attempt at the stone removal via the lithotripsy. The biggest news was that in the 6 months that we had waited the vet had learned about using a retrieval bag for the stone, so they get the stone in a bag and then break it up inside the bag rather than busting it up in the bladder loose so that once it is busted up they can remove all the pieces at once. Took almost 2.5 hours between getting the epideral placed and the sedation started also not to mention getting the stone corralled in the bag but once they got that all done the actual break up and removal of the stone took about 20 minutes. CC had a bit of trouble coming out of the sedation so I was happy that she wouldn't have to go back in the next day again, I guess before the retrieval bag most often they had to repeat the whole process again the next day to make sure they got everything and the process was so exhausting for both the animal and the vet that often they had to break it up into 2 days.

They scoped her the next day to make sure they got everything and she got the all clear. Had her home 3 days later with a full return to exercise release which we have not been able to do as of yet as our drought has decided to come to an end and we have been hammered with rain . She will remain on the herbs and other products and we will be ultrasounding her every 6 months to try to catch any stones in the bladder before they get to large, where if there is one it can be "plucked" out at a smaller size.

Tried to paste a link to the pictures but doesn't seem to want to work...

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That was a very interesting read. Would love to help you figure out how to get the pics up... feel free to e-mail me the link at and I'll see if I can get them on here!

Edited by Serah Rose

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Thanks Serah...I'll do that right now...the vet I normally use for the bigger issues who found the bladder stone initially thinks that horses that on and off are colicky acting with no other symptoms, just belly achey but have decent gut noise and their gums are nice and pink he said he thinks there is a good chance they may have kidney stones and without an ultrasound they are about impossible to diagnose. We wouldn't have known about CC's either except for the fact the vet in Davis had dealt with bladder stones before and believes most bladder stones start as kidney stones and then drop thru the uretor into the bladder. CC's stone was very large.

Edited by RUN N RATE

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Thanks so much for posting those for me!!!

She is doing really well, her body is figuring out that she doesn't have to urinate constantly like it used to and that it doesn't hurt like it used to when she did. She is no longer posturing constantly and when she does urinate it is a full stream and she isn't grunting in pain like she was the last few weeks before we got her in for the surgery.

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Yes, that is the stone that they had to remove...she passed the two smaller ones that were viewable in her ultrasounds in May, or they dissolved. I'm thinking she passed them around the middle of September as she hadn't passed any blood in almost 4.5 months and one day she did as well as took to scratching her rear end on the fence for a few days. I looked her pen over and never found them but she also spends about 8-10 hours at that time of the year turned out in an acre and a half pasture. I think they said it measured 6.4 cm which is roughly what? I think about 2.5 inches?

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what a story! I thought that at least in humans they could shatter them internally so that they could pass a "little less painfully".

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Yes, horses kidneys are too deep and the liver or pancreas is in the way on the left...having a brain fart and can't remember which organ it is now on that side which is the side that CC had the stones on as far as kidney. The two kidneys are different shaped because of the other organs and space for them.. I tried to pay attention and really learn from the vets and the students but after 3- 6 hour sessions my brain kind of faded, LOL!!!

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I was too busy having my nose pressed to the ultrasound machine asking "Do you see it do you see it??? HOw bout now???" The vet student that was assigned to CC while she was under their care tossed away her already finished Grand Round presentation that they have to give for a final grade and redid her entire presentation on CC and the stones. Had a little over a week to get it done. Thank goodness for a teaching hospital or we could not have afforded to do this for my little mare. At the vet that first diagnosed CC's bladder stone an abdominal type surgery would be 7K with a minimum of 4 weeks aftercare added to that...he figured 10K on the low side and 5-7K for the Lithotripsy surgery she did have. At UC Davis because it is a teaching hospital you basically pay for the tools and meds for the most part. Her surgery, the ultrasounds, blood work and meds that she went home on plus 5 days of stall rent cost us $2200. My vet that diagnosed her, when I called him to tell him that UCD could do it at a price that I could work out was super excited for me and he and the vet that worked on her at UCD shared information back and forth before and after. Just really blessed by the people that were put in our path on this journey.

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Well we finally dried out enough around here that I got my first ride on her since the stone was removed :yay:

She was awesome!!! Worked really nice and I hung out with her for about 10-15 minutes after I unsaddled her to watch her and try to check any urination. She finally did and it was a nice full flow with no blood in it which the vets had wondered how much of the blood earlier was from the kidney stones and how much might be the bladder stone. I think we all decided after seeing the size of the bladder stone in real time that it was in fact the bladder stone but it was sure nice to have some proof. :yahoo:

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Thank you so much for sharing this experience. I had a dog with stones but never any horses. Have heard of horses with on & off colic's that this could have been a possibility for sure. Another thing I find interesting is the relation of perhaps her scratching her tail if I understand this right. Often times we contribute so many other factors of cause. Will think of this first if I ever see blood for sure.

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I usually think worm or cleaning between teats if I see them scratch their tail, though I deworm basically every other shoeing but I do have one mare that during certain times of the year under certain conditions has to be dewormed more often and growing up showing halter and showmanship classes I tend to clean teats every time I run my hands over them and already knowing her history I figured the tail rubbing was an indication that something was taking place with her as it isn't her usual behavior.

I do wonder if I missed earlier signs with her as I tend to ride her first which means then I'm on to saddling and getting another horse ridden and probably missed earlier signs of her passing blood. It has completely changed my approach to what I do after riding now also, I know take them down to roll and then tie them up in a place I can watch and observe them while I saddle the next horse and then I turn them out in a pen that is close to my worked up area so I can observe them while I ride also.

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CC is continuing to do well, getting fit enough that I'm thinking we will be able to start entering up again in March. I've been taking my time with her and getting her fit after the year she had, just really blessed to be able to even think about the possibility of running her again. :yay:

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I'm happy for you and your horse! I think you should consider having your story published by a magazine like The Horse or Equus. It might help other owners.

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That would be interesting to pursue...I know I didn't have a whole lot to go on when she was diagnosed. She will always have the kidney issues, its just a matter of trying to maintain their function to a level that keeps her healthy enough for normal body functions hence the plan to have her kidneys and bladder ultrasounded every 6 months for the first few years and then depending on what that shows us we may go to once a year.

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Couple updates...we went to our first race in almost 2 years back in May, I rode like a moron but she tried hard and she cooled out well. Urinated about 15 minutes after our run and no blood in the urine. The vets weren't entirely sure whether the blood had been from stones in the bladder bouncing around or from the kidneys. She had not bleed at all since the surgery but then again I hadn't actually "run" her either. She answered a few questions for us :-)

Then last Friday, June 12th we took her back to UC Davis to have the bladder scoped to check on any new formations of stones, hoping if there were any the vet could pluck them out before they got large. Her scope showed no new stones, bladder lining looked so much better than it did last November and again urine coming from both kidneys. Vet said to do another scope in 6 months and if that scope comes back clean we can push them out to yearly. We still have her on the grass hay diet, timothy pellets and Renew Gold along with her kidney herbs and Apple Cider Vinegar.

Edited by RUN N RATE

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Pretty excited about the results on my end too!!! Threatened to kiss the vet when he said there was no sign of any stones and when I got to go around and look at the scope the difference in the lining of her bladder was beautiful to see. :yay:

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