Darwin is your typical Fox Terrier and perhaps a brave choice for a first dog, given the tenacious intelligence of the breed.  But Darwin’s owners have enjoyed the challenges he has given them and the fun that he has brought to their lives, describing him as:


“Very smart and with ‘selective hearing’ at times, but a very loving family pet’


So when, on one of his daily walks, they noticed that his urine was dark, almost red, they were understandably concerned. Of course they contacted us for an appointment straight away where Darwin was examined by vet Maria.  Darwin was seemingly well in every other way, so his owners were sent off with some antibiotics for Darwin and a urine pot, tasked with obtaining a urine sample.  His owner remembers this undertaking saying:


            “It’s quite entertaining if you’ve not done it before.  The neighbours were wondering why we were chasing Darwin round the garden with a plastic pot!”


Fortunately Darwin was “surprisingly cooperative” and we were soon able to test the urine which was remarkably normal except for the evidence of blood.  In the meantime, Darwin’s owners were getting increasingly concerned that there was something sinister going on and were stricken with worry at the thought of losing their beloved pet.  The antibiotics hadn’t cleared the issue so five days later ultrasound imaging was the obvious next step.  Darwin stayed in with us for the day so that Maria could visualise his urinary bladder and the associated structures using ultrasonic waves.  What she saw was a lesion within the bladder which needed further, surgical investigation and a cystotomy was planned.  Cystotomy refers to the surgical opening of the urinary bladder.  It is a process which takes great skill so as not to allow urine to leak and infect the abdomen as this could result in peritonitis.  Fortunately, we have some very skilled surgeons, one of whom is Maria.  So back Darwin came for surgery and at this point his owners in their own words thought:


            “This is it; it’s some kind of awful bladder cancer”


What Maria and the team found were numerous ‘polyps’ or small lumps attached to the walls of the urinary bladder.  She painstakingly removed a dozen of them as well as some bladder stones.  As a skilled surgeon, she sutured (stitched) Darwin back together and sent these structures off to an external lab for expert analysis.  Our working diagnosis for Darwin’s troubles is that these structures developed secondary to an infection, which is reassuring for his owners who have been extremely worried.


The whole process doesn’t seem to have fazed Darwin and he still pulls his owners into the practice as soon as he is out of the car.  His owners put this down to our team…


            “…having looked after him so well, knowing him by name, giving him lots of fuss and treats.”


 We are just delighted that Darwin has recovered well from his ordeal and should live a long and happy life.  His owners agree that he has made a good recovery saying:


            “He looked funny in a baby grow which kept him from removing his own stitches.  He has healed really quickly and is very resilient. After two weeks he had his stitches out and after three weeks he’s running around, right as rain.”


Longer term management of Darwin’s health should be relatively simple. A dietary change is likely to be the only real difference in his routine.  Depending on the laboratories analysis of his stones, we will recommend a diet whose constituents are specifically designed to reduce the chances of the stones reforming.    


To top off Darwin’s smooth recovery, we have recently tested another urine sample from him which confirmed that there was no longer any blood detected in it.  Darwin’s owner described Maria as being “extremely excited to deliver the news” as were they to hear it.  All in all his owners describe the surgery as a “resounding success”.