Canine Idiopathic Renal Hematuria: Sclerotherapy—Lucy’s Unique Life-Saving Procedure

If your dog starts peeing blood, it typically involves two potential scenarios—damage to the tissues of the urinary tract or conditions that cause abnormal bleeding.

The most common cause of blood in your dog’s urine (hematuria) are urinary tract infections (UTIs) or urinary tract stones. Other potential causes include:

  • trauma
  • non-infectious inflammation
  • cancer

Further information: Blood in the Urine in Dogs

But what if it is none of those things?

Canine Idiopathic Renal Hematuria (IRH)

IRH refers to a situation when your dog’s one or both kidneys start bleeding for no reason that can be identified. That is, obviously, potentially a life-threatening situation because your dog can lose substantial amounts of blood and become anemic.

Because the cause is not known, the only treatment has been removal of the affected kidney.

Canine Idiopathic Renal Hematuria: Sclerotherapy—Lucy's Unique Life-Saving Procedure

Lucy’s story

Lucy was a nine-year-old Labrador crossbreed. She was happy and healthy, enjoying her life. One day, though, Lucy started peeing blood. Blood in urine was the only symptom Lucy had.

Her mom took Lucy to a veterinarian at once. Following the standard protocol, Lucy’s veterinarian tested for urinary tract infection (UTI) and bladder stones. However, all results came back negative. There was nothing apparently wrong with Lucy, but she kept peeing blood. Her veterinarian referred Lucy to a university hospital.

Lucy’s diagnosis

After further diagnostics, the veterinary specialist diagnosed Lucy with idiopathic renal hematuria (IRH). That was scary news for Lucy’s mom—a dog can live with one kidney, but it’s a frightening surgery, and what if something happened to the other kidney too?

Further, if one kidney develops IRH, the other kidney follows in about a third of the affected dogs.

Clearly, Lucy cannot survive continuous bleeding. But isn’t there another treatment option?

The treatment decision

At that time, a new treatment made its debut in the treatment of this condition—sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is a minimally-invasive procedure that involves chemical cauterization of the leaking blood vessels.

Lucy’s recovery

Lucy’s kidney stopped bleeding as soon as the procedure was finished. Lucy recovered well, and her urine turned back to normal, yellow color. There was no more blood in Lucy’s pee.

In closing

Idiopathic renal hematuria (IRH) in dogs has often gone misdiagnosed. It seems to affect particularly young, large breed dogs. Even when the veterinarian diagnosed the condition, the standard treatment was invasive and risky—sclerotherapy might be the answer.

Source story:
New Minimally Invasive Procedure Saves Dog’s Life—and Her Kidney

Related articles:
Canine Hematuria: Blood in Urine. Why Is There Blood in My Dog’s Pee?
Kidney Disease in Dogs – Say What? Canine Kidneys and the Associated Verbiage
Kidney Failure in Dogs: What Happens In The Dog’s Body When The Kidneys Fail To Function Properly?

Further reading:
Endoscopic-Guided Sclerotherapy for Renal-Sparing Treatment of Idiopathic Renal Hematuria in Dogs
New Minimally Invasive Procedure Saves Sophie’s Life

Categories: BleedingBlood in urineConditionsDog health advocacyIdiopathic renal hematuriaKidney diseaseReal-life StoriesSclerotherapySymptoms

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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