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  Home > VBS Faculty > James R. Mickelson > Canine And Equine Genetics Laboratory > Calcium Oxalate Urinary Stones and Hyperlipidemia

Calcium Oxalate Urinary Stones and Hyperlipidemia



AHC CVM Mick - Eva with Schnauzers.
Urinary stones composed of calcium oxalate (CaOx) are common in dogs. Certain canine breeds have a strikingly high prevalence of disease, while others appear protected. For example, the Miniature Schnauzer and Bichon Frise have greater than 20 times the risk of developing CaOx stones compared to mixed breed dogs. Other commonly affected breeds include the Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, Pomeranian, poodle (miniature and toy), and terrier (e.g. Yorkshire, Cairn, Jack Russell). These breed predispositions strongly support underlying genetic risk factors for the disease. Our project currently involves the collection of DNA samples from three breeds with increased risk for CaOx stones: the Miniature Schnauzer, Bichon Frise, and Shih Tzu. We aim to determine to identify genetic determinants of the disease. An understanding of the pathophysiology of CaOx stones is fundamental to the development therapeutic and preventative strategies in canine breeds.

Your dog may be able to help if he/she:

  • Is a purebred Miniature Schnauzer, Bichon Frise, or Shih Tzu
  • Is not currently receiving steroid medications (ex. prednisone, dexamethasone, methylprednisone) or diurectics (ex. Lasix, hydrochlorothiazide)
  • Is not hypothyroid and does not have Cushing's disease (also known as hyperadrenocorticism)
  • Cases: Has a history of calcium oxalate stones (any age permitted) OR
  • Controls: Is at least 10 years old and has never had calcium oxalate stones


We will perform free bloodwork (mini panel that includes kidney values, blood sugar, and electrolytes) and urine tests for all dogs. 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, but there are other options that can be discussed. Free abdominal x-rays will also be performed in control dogs (without a history of stones) to screen for stones.

If you would like more information on the management of CaOx stones, please see the Minnesota Urolith recommendations: http://www.cvm.umn.edu/depts/minnesotaurolithcenter/prod/groups/cvm/@pub/@cvm/@urolith/documents/asset/cvm_asset_107726.pdf

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


Miniature Schnauzers are commonly affected by idiopathic familial hyperlipidemia. This means that many members of the breed have high blood lipid levels (triglycerides and sometimes cholesterol) without a known underlying cause. This is also referred to as primary hyperlipidemia. We are investigating a mutation that may increase the risk for moderate to severe hyperlipidemia in Miniature Schnauzers. If you would like to find out more about this study or submit a DNA sample from a Schnauzer with idiopathic/primary hyperlipidemia, please contact Dr. Furrow (see below for phone and e-mail).


Even if you cannot physically come in to the UMN, you may still be able to participate in the studies. If you own a dog of the aforementioned breeds that has been diagnosed with CaOx stones or a Miniature Schnauzer with idiopathic/primary hyperlipidemia, a simple DNA sample from your dog could be very helpful in our genetic study. We are happy to provide instructions for blood or cheek swab DNA collection and submission to the study.

If you have further questions about this study, please contact Dr. Eva Furrow: 612-625-7493 or furro004@umn.edu. 


Dr. Furrow is a Small Animal Internist and Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. She first became interested in the genetic basis of canine diseases when she was an undergraduate at Harvard University. She was offered a summer position in the Section of Medical Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania. One of her roles that summer included assistance in a study on the genetic muscular disease myotonia congenita in Miniature Schnauzers. Dr. Furrow later attended the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School where a NIH-Merck grant enabled her to continue research on genetic diseases. Dr. Furrow completed her Internal Medicine residency and PhD at the University of Minnesota and is currently a member of the Canine and Equine Genetics Laboratory. Dr. Furrow's ultimate goal is to find better ways to prevent and treat genetic diseases. She also has a personal attachment to one of the high-risk breeds, as her parents-in-law have always had Miniature Schnauzers.

** Funding sources include the Morris Animal Foundation and the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation.

                                                                                        CVM VBS Mickelson Lab Calcium Oxalate Puppy



Related Links

Calcium Oxalate Questionnaire (Cases)

Calcium Oxalate Questionnaire (Controls)

USDA Guidelines for Importation

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