Gout in Dogs and Pets

Gout and Dogs

Can Dogs Get Gout?

Gout is a disease that’s commonly experienced by humans but did you know that dogs can have gout too? Yes, unfortunately, man’s best friend has the potential to experience this debilitating condition as a result of excessive uric acid in the bloodstream.

It’s often a result of genes too with some dogs being more predisposed to the diseases such as Dalmatians, Whippets, German Shepherds, Irish Wolfhounds, Labrador Retrievers, and English Bulldogs.

This happens because their liver is not able to convert uric acid resulting in uric acid stones forming in the kidneys and bladder. Their unique metabolism doesn’t allow them to get rid of excess uric acid in the blood so instead of excreting soluble waste, these breeds produce insoluble uric acid.

The good news is that gout in dogs is exceedingly rare. It’s more closely related to bladder disease than it is to arthritis, so if your dog has gout, you need to pay extra attention to his bladder health. Gout in dogs can also be linked to diabetes, liver dysfunction, kidney disease, and hip dysplasia.

Gout in Dogs and Humans: The Differences

Both gout in dogs and humans are caused by high uric acid levels but symptoms can differ between the two. While humans develop uric acid crystal deposits in their joints, dogs develop uric acid crystals in the kidneys and bladder causing lesions and ulcerations in the stomach. This directly affects their urination making it painful, difficult, and more frequent.

If left untreated, uric acid crystals can clump together, form stones, and possibly get flushed down the urethra, blocking the entrance and making it difficult for your dog to urinate. This is where it becomes an emergency situation and you need to take your dog to the veterinarian for treatment.

Symptoms of Gout in Dogs

Gout in dogs commonly appear in the paws and toes and sometimes in the neck, elbow, ears, and even the tongue area. The most common area it appears is in the hind feet. These are other symptoms you need to watch out for as they indicate that your canine friend could have gout:

  • Gait or limping
  • Bloody urine
  • Gritty urine
  • Frequent urination in small amounts
  • Straining to pass urine
  • Straining, but not able to produce urine
  • Lumps on the neck
  • Lumps and bleeding in the paw/toe area
  • Chalky white substance oozing out of lesions
  • Stiff, painful joints
  • Lethargy
  • Mood change

Some of these symptoms could be misdiagnosed for other conditions so it’s best to have your dog checked immediately by a veterinarian so they can get proper diagnosis and treatment.

 

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Treatment for Gout in Dogs

Surgical correction is the quickest, easiest way to treat gout in dogs especially in situations where uric acid stones already block the urine passage. Another surgical method uses lasers or ultrasound waves to breakdown the stones, however, this technology is only available in specialized veterinary clinics.

These treatment methods are more expensive than most dog owners can afford so the next best solution is treating gout with antibiotic medication that helps clear up the infection. You can also apply emu oil to the affected area as it’s been known to help reduce swelling.

The vet may also recommend that you change your dog’s diet to one that’s low-protein and high fat to prevent the formation of crystals that cause the complication.

A fatty acid diet of raw egg yolks have been found to be helpful for dogs with gout as well as activated charcoal pills that help with metabolism problems.  Diluted amounts of apple cider vinegar added to your pet’s food or water also helps lessen symptoms of canine gout as it balances healthy alkaline pH levels in their body.

As a dog owner, you are responsible for your pup’s health so make sure to give them the right medication on time and feed them a proper diet. For owners of breeds that are predisposed to canine gout, you may want to consider putting your dog on maintenance of allopurinol. It helps with gout by enabling the body to process and excrete uric acid through urination. Although it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, your veterinarian can prescribe this to your dog as an extra-label drug.

Extra Precautions

Check for any growths on your dog’s skin and feel for any lumps or tumors. If you find anything unusual, take your pup to the veterinarian right away for a more thorough examination. Your vet will take a short medical history of your pup and perform a blood test to determine the amount of uric acid in the body.

You don’t want to depend entirely on medications because as mentioned before, it is not approved by the Food and Drug and Administration. Allopurinol for dogs can have negative side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, cramping, and pretty much an upset stomach. There’s a good reason why it’s prohibited by the FDA and should only be used as a last resort with proper prescription from the veterinarian.

If you own a dog breed predisposed to the condition, don’t give them vitamin C and B supplements as well as brewer’s yeast products. These are known to worsen gout symptoms by encouraging stone formation in the bladder.

Start with your dog’s diet. Strangely enough, the same low purine diet recommended for human gout sufferers also works well for dogs. Most fruits and vegetables, eggs, dairy products, whole grain pasta, and whole grain yeast-free bread are low-purine foods that can be fed to your dog.

Chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, lamb, pork, beef, oats, and oatmeal are considered to have moderate level of purines and are acceptable to include in your dog’s diet, even for predisposed breeds.

Foods that should be completely avoided include organ meats (kidneys, livers, brains, hearts), game meats (venison and goose), mussels, scallops, sardines, mackerel, yeast, gravies, and some high purine veggies like kidney beans, navy beans, lima beans, lentils, mushrooms, peas, spinach, and cauliflower.

Also make sure that your dog is properly hydrated since it helps dilute uric acid in the body. Make it so water is easily accessible around your house or feed your dog with food that has high water content.

In Conclusion

Dogs live a shorter life than humans and their bodies, being smaller than ours, can be much more vulnerable to diseases like gout. If you love your pet, make sure to take the proper precautions in protecting them against such conditions. Watch for any behavioral changes, check for anything unusual, and give them unconditional love and proper care. Your pup will give you love back ten folds!

Posted by Spiro Koulouris

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6 Comments

  • Carl Cioffi

    Reply Reply June 19, 2018

    Because of your book, I have eliminated my gout outbreaks for six months now! Thank you!!! I am an active 54 yr old (5′ 10″/155 lbs.) I also suffer from high blood pressure and cholesterol (genetics!) I stopped taking medications at the same time I started your 80/10/10 diet suggestion and have managed to reduce my blood pressure to an acceptable high normal range. However, my cholesterol is slightly above the acceptable high range, though lower than it was! Any suggestions for a good cholesterol supplement? I have eliminated all dairy and eggs and maintain a strict ‘clean/whole food’ diet and exercise. Is Red Yeast Rice acceptable for gout sufferers? I can’t thank you enough for helping me with what was chronic gout pain.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply June 19, 2018

      Hi Carl!

      Thanks for your comment!

      Research shows that red yeast rice containing considerable amounts of monacolin K can lower your total blood cholesterol level. You can try it and is acceptable to gout sufferers. Try eating mostly will cold pressed olive oil, eat grounded flax seeds, drink green tea, eat more fish, nuts, use fresh garlic regularly. I would recommend a fish oil supplement as well to get more omega-3s in your body.

      Glad to hear your health is improving!

      • Raymond Stuart

        Reply Reply June 27, 2018

        Hello Spiro!

        Is there any truth that taking cranberry extract capsules combats gout?

  • Rob

    Reply Reply June 7, 2018

    Hello Spiro,

    I’ve been combing the web for homemade dog food low in purines and found your site.

    Dalmatian dogs, particularly males, don’t metabolize purines correctly and are urate stone formers.

    My dog is 9 1/2 years old and had surgery to remove bladder stones a month ago. He is now on a preventive diet, Hill’s Prescription Diet, Urinary Care u/d, chicken flavor, both canned and kibble. It is very expensive (over $100 a month) and has a few things I don’t believe he should eat, for instance, corn starch is the 2nd ingredient and 5th is pork liver, sugar follows that. Those are in the canned food. I don’t have the kibble package, but there are things in it that don’t sound good either.

    Ideally, I’d like to find a recipe low in purines that I could pressure-can so it would be shelf-stable. That would be very convenient when I travel, etc. and I believe it would be less expensive.

    Currently, twice a day I feed him a cup of the special kibble, about 1/3 cup home canned chicken dark meat, about 1/3 cup 2% cottage cheese, a teaspoon of peanut butter and a couple dog biscuits. I worry that he’s not getting all the nutrition he needs, and would give him multivitamins formulated for dogs, but have read that they are full of liver extracts for flavor.

    If you have written any articles that you think might be helpful, or know of any other resources, please point me in the right direction.

    Thank you very much,

    Rob Bodermann

    • Unfortunately I am not the right guy to answer this question, maybe I will interview a veterinarian in the future to go more into detail about what foods dogs can eat, remember dogs have a different biology than humans so the same foods do not apply.

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