Clinical Investigation Center

Novel mutations associated with calcium oxalate urolithiasis risk in dogs

Current Status: Active and enrolling
Principal Investigator: Eva Furrow, VMD, PhD, DACVIM
Contact: Dr. Eva Furrow, 612-625-7493,
Amber Winter, Senior Research Veterinary Technician, or 612-624-1352

The study:
Calcium oxalate (CaOx) urinary stones are a common and painful health problem for dogs. We have discovered two genetic mutations strongly linked to CaOx urinary stone formation in some dog breeds. Our team is now embarking on a follow-up study to further evaluate these mutations in multiple breeds to confirm their role in stone formation. Understanding the genetic basis of urinary stone formation is fundamental for developing new diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative strategies, including genetic testing.

Eligible dogs:

  • Purebred Miniature Schnauzer, Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu, Border Collie, or Dachshund  dogs
  • Cases – Dogs with a history of CaOx stones (any age permitted) OR
  • Controls – Dogs that are at least 9 years old and have never had calcium oxalate stones

Exclusion criteria (reasons a dog cannot enroll):

  • Dogs receiving steroid medications (ex. prednisone, dexamethasone, methylprednisone) or diuretics (ex. Lasix, hydrochlorothiazide)
  • Dogs with hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease (also known as hyperadrenocorticism)

Cases (dogs with CaOx stones) - Anyone with a dog that has a history of CaOx stones can participate by sending in a DNA sample from their dog. We can send you cheek swabs and instructions for DNA collection at home or to provide you with simple instructions for blood sample collection by your veterinarian. If you live local to the University of Minnesota, your dog may also be eligible for a single study visit which includes free laboratory tests and $50 compensation.

Controls (older dogs with no history of CaOx stones) - If your dog is has never been diagnosed with stones and meets the eligibility criteria described above, he/she can participate by coming in the University of Minnesota for a single study visit. You will receive $50 compensation, and we will perform free blood work (mini panel that includes kidney values, blood sugar, and electrolytes), urine tests, and abdominal x-rays on your dog. These are non-invasive tests. Please note that the urine sample will need to be fasted; we often ask that you withhold food (but not water) on the morning of the appointment.

Confidentiality will be maintained for all study participants. No individual names or medical information will be shared with anyone outside of the research group.

If you would like information on the management of CaOx stones, please read the Minnesota Urolith recommendations:

Funding for this study is provided by the Morris Animal Foundation.

If you have further questions about this study, please contact Dr. Eva Furrow or Kelly Bergsrud (above).