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Calcium sulfate dihydrate urolithiasis in a pet rabbit

Jaroslav Kucera MVDr, PhD1, Tamara Koristkova RNDr2, Barbora Gottwaldova MVDr3, and Vladimir Jekl MVDr, PhD4
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  • 1 Veterinary Clinic PET, Beloruska 2, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic.
  • | 2 Laboratory Specializing in Urinary Stones Analyses, Calculi, Vránova 172, 621 00 Brno, Czech Republic.
  • | 3 Veterinary Clinic, Vankova 921/44, Stara Bela, 72400 Ostrava, Czech Republic.
  • | 4 Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Science, 612 42 Brno, Czech Republic.

Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION A 3-year-old sexually intact male rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was evaluated because of a 1-day history of signs of anorexia and depression.

CLINICAL FINDINGS Clinical examination revealed signs of depression, hunched posture, low skin elasticity (suggesting dehydration), slightly distended abdomen, and penile and preputial edema. The owner reported that the rabbit had been fed a routine diet, received water via a sipper bottle, and was allowed free movement around the home. It had been observed by the owner to bite and chew gypsum-based plaster from the walls of the home. Abdominal radiography and ultrasonography revealed radiopaque material in the urinary bladder, irregular thickening of the urinary bladder wall, and gaseous distention of the cecum. Urinalysis revealed mild hematuria and proteinuria. Results of the physical examination and other diagnostic tests were consistent with urolithiasis, cystitis, and gastrointestinal stasis.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME At clinical examination, numerous small uroliths originating from the urethral orifice were removed and submitted for composition analysis via infrared and Raman spectrometry and polarized microscopy. Laparotomy-assisted flushing of the urinary bladder and urethra was performed, and the rabbit recovered without complication. Results of composition analysis indicated the uroliths were composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE This is the first report of calcium sulfate urolithiasis in a rabbit, which was attributed to dehydration (possibly due to inadequate water provision) and excessive dietary intake of sulfur in the form of gypsum-based plaster. Rabbits should be prevented from consuming plaster and other potential extradietary sources of sulfur and provided an appropriate water supply.

Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION A 3-year-old sexually intact male rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was evaluated because of a 1-day history of signs of anorexia and depression.

CLINICAL FINDINGS Clinical examination revealed signs of depression, hunched posture, low skin elasticity (suggesting dehydration), slightly distended abdomen, and penile and preputial edema. The owner reported that the rabbit had been fed a routine diet, received water via a sipper bottle, and was allowed free movement around the home. It had been observed by the owner to bite and chew gypsum-based plaster from the walls of the home. Abdominal radiography and ultrasonography revealed radiopaque material in the urinary bladder, irregular thickening of the urinary bladder wall, and gaseous distention of the cecum. Urinalysis revealed mild hematuria and proteinuria. Results of the physical examination and other diagnostic tests were consistent with urolithiasis, cystitis, and gastrointestinal stasis.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME At clinical examination, numerous small uroliths originating from the urethral orifice were removed and submitted for composition analysis via infrared and Raman spectrometry and polarized microscopy. Laparotomy-assisted flushing of the urinary bladder and urethra was performed, and the rabbit recovered without complication. Results of composition analysis indicated the uroliths were composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE This is the first report of calcium sulfate urolithiasis in a rabbit, which was attributed to dehydration (possibly due to inadequate water provision) and excessive dietary intake of sulfur in the form of gypsum-based plaster. Rabbits should be prevented from consuming plaster and other potential extradietary sources of sulfur and provided an appropriate water supply.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Jekl (jeklv@vfu.cz).