Wednesday 17 November 2010

Armstrong - dying to love you

The pictures show Armstrong, a Dalmatian who worked as a therapy dog at a children's cancer unit until he had to retire because of his own illness.

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.




  1. Here is a funny quiz about Dalmatians and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, which I think you all will enjoy totally. (No knowledge of dogs required - but you do need a brain).

  2. I don't know if bladder stones are painful, but kidney stones sure are. I'm guessing that having to have your penis completely cut off and having to pee from a cut below it, would bother a male dog; male dogs love to lift their leg and pee on bushes; I bet the male dog feels that he has lost something important to him.

    It is wrong to breed dogs to suffer!

  3. Poor Armstrong. It's very, very sad that he has to die so young by the hands of people who claim to love the breed, but yet get up in arms about change for the better for the breed.

    Somehow i hold little hope that the AKC will see reason enough to accept the Pointer/Dalmatian outcross dogs. The AKC and many of the American public in general are very set in their ways when it comes to AKC breed standards. Cropping ( which i consider a disgusting practice ) is still commonly performed and championed by many. It's about time the AKC stood up and started changing their ways also!

    Can i also just say Jemima, i'm loving your blog so far and am reading every entry. Keep up the good work and being an advocate for the health and welfare of our dogs :)


  4. Armstrong went to the Bridge last night. We are all very sad but he fought the good fight and Shelley is an incredible dal mom.

    Sleep softly Armstrong you will be remembered by many people