Current studies

Currently recruiting cystinuric cats of all breeds and cystinuric dogs of Irish Terrier, Kromfohrlaender, and Scottish Terrier Breeds. Contact [email protected] for more information

Cats with Kidney Stones and/or Chronic Kidney Disease

Cats with Kidney Stones and/or Chronic Kidney Disease

image of feline kidney and capsule removalDr. Jody Lulich at the Minnesota Urolith Center (MUC) is investigating the connection between kidney stones and chronic kidney failure in cats. Help us solve this common, costly and devastating problem.  We need whole, formalin-fixed kidneys of cats with nephroliths or chronic kidney disease. If cats have a kidney removed during therapy, succumb to their illness, or are humanely euthanized; place whole, intact kidneys (after carefully removing the outer capsule) in formalin.  We’ll cover shipping; please email Dr. Jody Lulich at [email protected].

One of the most compassionate acts we can perform as veterinarians and cat owners is to contribute to the efforts of scientists working to cure diseases.

Genetic Risk Factors for Dogs with Urinary Stones

Genetic Risk Factors for Dogs with Urinary Stones

Calcium Oxalate Uroliths

canine calcium oxalate urolithDr. Eva Furrow in the canine genetics laboratory is investigating genetic risk factors for urinary stones. She is currently seeking DNA samples (cheek swabs or blood) from dogs with CaOx stones. While the Border Collie, Dachshund, Miniature Schnauzer, Bichon Frise, and Shih Tzu breeds are her main focus, DNA from any affected breed can be helpful. Please see the following website for more information: 

Hereditary Xanthine Uroliths

microscopic image of canine xanthine crystals in urine.

Dr. Furrow also recently discovered genetic mutations for xanthinuria (the cause of hereditary xanthine stones) in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Toy Manchester Terriers, and a mixed breed dog. Tests for these mutations are available:
Dachshund and Chihuahua dogs with a history of xanthine stones may be eligible for free testing.   

Contact Dr. Furrow at [email protected] for more information about either study or other genetic stone types.

Cystinuric Dogs and Cats

microscopic image of cystine urine crystals in a dog

The Minnesota Urolith Center, in collaboration with The Section of Medical Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine are working together to identify cystinuric dogs and cats. Recently, UPenn identified an androgen-dependent type of cystinuria and SLC3A1 and SLC7A9 mutations in autosomal recessive or dominant cystinuric dogs and cats.  The goal is to further characterize the molecular and metabolic genetic components associated with cystine urolith formation in dogs and cats. 

The data obtained from each animal is important.  The Minnesota Urolith Center received over 71,000 canine uroliths in 2015.  Only 2.4% were composed of cystine; and very few uroliths were from the breeds listed above.  Cystinuria is even less common in cats.  Approximately 0.1% of feline uroliths received at the Minnesota Urolith Center in 2015 were composed of cystine.

Research ethics at the University of Minnesota

We are committed to protecting research participants, upholding ethical standards, and improving our practice at every step of our work.  
Learn more about our commitment to research ethics