Armstrong is a "stone-former" - one of the 13 to 34 per cent of Dalmatians whose high uric acid levels cause agonising stones in their bladders. This despite being fed the special diet that those who seek to deny or minimise the condition maintain prevents stones forming. Vets and his loving owner have done everything they can, but Armstrong is dying from the condition.
Armstrong's owner, Shelley Gallagher, contacted me last night. She writes: "My dal, Armstrong, turns 7 this Sunday and will not make it to Christmas because of stones. He had three regular surgeries and five or six back-flushings before he had his urinary tract re-routed. That did not solve his problem. His last two surgeries, because he has been re-routed, have been able to be done endoscopically. They fed the camera into his new urinary hole and into his bladder so they could see the stones. They then pulled out the big stones and flushed out the small ones. What is eye opening is the two links I am sending you are two different surgeries only five months apart on a dal that has been re-routed. It is shocking how many stones he got in those five months. This is on the special food floated in water, coming home at lunch every day to let him out, getting up at 2am every night to take him out, and obsessively watching him urinate every single time."
Shelley has asked me to post Armstrong's story and videos to help support the campaign to persuade the American Kennel Club to register the backcrossed Dalmatians (which don't suffer from this problem).
Says Shelley: "Armstrong may have had a short life, but at least I know his story will help all future dalmatians."
For Dog's sake, let sense prevail.
The two videos show what these stones look like - hard round yellow balls which clog up the whole urinary system. The first is Armstrong's surgery in October 2009; the second just five months later.