Does your dog have kidney stones? Study finds that false pepperwort leaves can help

It’s not just you who’s at risk of kidney stones – your pets are, too. Both cats and dogs can develop the condition, which leads to a difficulty in urination and other potentially harmful complications. Thankfully, the extracts of false pepperwort (Marsilea crenata) can provide relief, according to a study published in the American Journal of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.

Urolithiasis is the medical term for the formation of kidney stones. The disease is characterized by the buildup of crystals in the urinary tract, blocking the passage of urine. As a result, it becomes very difficult to urinate.

As in humans, urolithiasis in animals leads to irritation and an increased risk of infection. Bloody urine may also be observed in more severe cases. If left untreated, urolithiasis can lead to potentially life-threatening kidney failure.

False pepperwort, also known as water clover, is recognized in some parts of the world as a natural treatment for kidney disturbances. The author of the study aimed to determine if the herb’s medicinal effects could benefit not just humans, but also animals.

To investigate, the researcher created an animal model composed of male Wistar rats. The rodents were divided into six groups. One group acted as the negative control, while another was treated with 0.75 percent ethylene glycol (EG) and two percent ammonium chloride (AC), becoming the positive control. The remaining four groups were treated with five, 10, 20, and 40 percent extract from the herb’s leaves and stalk. The treatment lasted for 10 days.

To determine the effects of the extract, several factors were taken into account. These were Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) and serum creatinine, urine creatinine, and creatinine clearance (Ccr). Creatinine is a waste product by the body’s muscles; it gets filtered by the kidneys and is used by doctors to assess kidney function.

The author noted that treatment with extracts from false pepperwort leaves and stalks resulted in lower BUN and Ccr levels, indicating improved kidney function. This outcome was taken as proof that the extracts can treat the kidney disturbances that characterize urolithiasis. (Related: Kidney Stones: A Squeeze of Lemon Juice Prevents the Most Painful Condition Known to Man.)

Fast facts about kidney stones in dogs

Urolithiasis is a well-known condition in humans, but many dog owners may not be familiar with the condition being a risk for their pets. For those planning to welcome a new dog to their home, here is some quick information about urolithiasis in canines:

  • Specific breeds can be at a greater risk – Domestic dogs belong to only one species, but they come in various breeds. Each breed tends to have a specific set of characteristics that go beyond color, size, and thickness of fur. Sometimes, susceptibility to disease is also determined by the dog’s breed. This fact applies to urolithiasis. For instance, while all dogs can develop the condition, Miniature Schnauzers, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, and Yorkshire Terriers tend to have a greater risk of developing the condition.
  • It is more common in females than in males – In terms of the incidence of kidney stones, female dogs outnumber the males.
  • There are different kinds of kidney stones – Urolithiasis can occur due to a number of factors; some are caused by imbalances in the blood, for instance, while others may come as a result of bacterial infections. They may also be composed of different minerals. For example, some kidney stones are composed of calcium while struvite stones, which occur in the kidney and bladder, are composed of ammonium, magnesium, and phosphate.
  • Kidney stones may require surgery – Depending on the nature of the stone, the vet may prescribe specific treatment approaches. Some stones can be dissolved, but in many cases, surgery has to be performed to treat the condition.

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