Happy Homes




BELLA'S story began exactly like most of the other rescues we do, she was found running loose on the streets of San Jose and was picked up by Animal Control and taken to the new San Jose Animal Care Center on Monterey Road. The shelter staff noticed that Bella seemed to be squatting to urinate nearly all of the time and hardly anything ever came out.  When it did, it was bloody.  The shelter vet examined Bella and felt what she believed to be a large stone in her bladder.  Bella was started on antibiotics and the shelter began a search for a rescue group that could afford to do the surgery to remove the stone and had the room for her in foster care.

On this particular day, Sunday. November 21, 2004, I went to the shelter to see what dogs we could fit into our program and I found Bella.  She had already been turned down by other groups due to her special needs.

Bella is a tiny 5½ pound Yorkie / Norwich Terrier mix dog with imploring eyes and a heart as big as a Great Dane's.  She snuggled under my chin when I picked her up and she had me at the first tiny kiss. I brought her home that night and gave her a bath to remove all of the feces she had encrusted in her fur.  She snuggled into a crate stuffed with warm blankies and spent her first night in foster care without a sound.  She did wet the bed many times through the night and we discovered she had a constant urge to pee due to the stone in her tiny bladder.  When she was let outside she would squat and just stay in that position trying to relieve the fullness of her bladder.  Her urine was full of blood from the constant irritation of the stone.

On Monday morning, Bella was brought to our vet. She was examined and indeed our vet could feel the stone from the outside of her body, it was that big! She was in heat, which I had suspected, so she would also have to be spayed during her surgery. She was x-rayed and the stone was clearly visible but the good news is there wasn't any stones in her kidneys so she could have the operation she needed to remove the bladder stone.  Next she had bloodwork done to make sure her other systems were able to make it through surgery and that appeared fine.  Her blood was then sent to the lab for a more thorough analysis.

Surgery took 45 minutes, which is a long time under anesthesia for such a small girl.  She was spayed at the same time to avoid having to have another surgery at a later date. We felt one recovery period would be enough.  The stone was removed, and sent to the University of Michigan for analysis of it's contents.  That report will take 4-6 weeks to come back telling us what type of stone it is so we can formulate her future diet and treatment.  The picture below, is the stone.  As you can see, it is bigger than a quarter but not as big as a teaspoon. It did, however, fill her entire little bladder.  The walls of her bladder were much thicker than normal due to the constant and long term irritation from the infection and the stone.  We hope this will resolve now that the stone has been removed.

See the roughness of the surface of the stone?  This was tumbling around and around inside Bella's bladder causing severe pain.  The reddish color you can see is blood from the bladder walls being scrapped over and over again. I have no idea what the string is or why it is wrapped around the stone but will ask the vet next visit. Bella returned to her foster home after surgery.  She was put on a broad spectrum antibiotic until the culture of her urine comes back to tell us which antibiotic will really cure the infection she has had most of her little life. She was also given some very heavy duty pain meds to help her with the pain of the surgery as well as the pain she will still feel in her bladder until she is healed.

Thanksgiving Day 2004: Bella is healing nicely and she can actually pee a respectable amount at one time now.  She does still have muscle tone issues with her bladder that hasn't improved much yet.  All the time she was carrying that stone, her bladder was not able to contract and relax normally and we can only hope now that it is removed, she will get back the muscle tone she needs to be able to be housetrained and not leak urine. Right now, she still squats more frequently than normal and goes small amounts.  The urine is still a bit bloody but not as much as before the surgery. She has been put on a raw, natural diet and seems to enjoy it very much.  Bella remains very cuddly, kissy, quiet and sweet.

November 27,  2004: Bella has become a picky about her food and has hardly eaten anything we have offered her since yesterday. She still has blood in her urine and can't control her bladder very well. A second powerful antibiotic has been added to her treatment plan but we are still waiting for the Culture and Sensitivity report to come back from the lab to make sure these meds are the exact right ones. It's been 5 days since surgery and I was hoping for better results by now.  We have a vet appointment scheduled for Monday.

December 5, 2004: Bella's vet appointment went well.  Her medication was extended for another 3 weeks because her bladder infection is still pretty bad according the the lab results we got this week.  The blood is finally gone from her urine though and over this past week she has begun to urinate in proper amounts instead of tiny little bits.  She still has to go more frequently than a normal dog her size and she still leaks urine uncontrollably when excited, nervous or happy.  We are hoping that as the bladder infection clears up the leaking will also clear up but we will cross that bridge later.  Bella is feeling really great now and loves to play with people.  She runs like the wind and fetches the ball, bringing it right back most of the time.  Now that she thinks she has settled in here, she is getting pretty pushy with the other dogs and is very bossy.  She will need to be the only dog in any family we choose for her so she won't get herself injured. I look forward to the coming weeks as Bella continues to improve. She is now eating like a pig and isn't as skinny as she was when she came in.

December 18, 2004: Bella is still playing the waiting game.  We are waiting for the results of the analysis of her stone so we can formulate the correct diet or decide if a prescription diet from the vet would be better.  We are waiting for the meds to be finished so we can draw more blood and urine and see if we have the infection that started all of this, cleared up. I have been very concerned with Bella over the last few weeks as she continues to have problems with urinary incontinence.  She has had the infection and the stone for so long that she never was able to hold her urine properly and I wasn't sure she ever would be.  How can a dog be adoptable if she pees whenever she feels like it, where ever she is?  I have been worried for her chances of successfully finding a family who would want to deal with that.  The good news is that Bella has been dry through the night in her crate for the last two nights!  I am now so hopeful!!  She will still need supervision in the house as she has never had the opportunity to be housetrained due to her condition.  I even bought her little peepee panties so she can safely run and play with the other dogs without ruining my home. Now I am hoping as the infection is clearing up, that she will have bladder control someday and that somewhere out there a home for Bella is reading this now and can't wait to adopt her.

December 18, 2004: The stone report just came in this afternoon and the news isn't very good.  She has a combination of Calcium Oxylate and Struvite stones.  This is the hardest type of stone to manage dietarily and we are now doing our research to come up with the best possible diet.  Bella will be at the vet for her next Urine test and blood work the 27th of December.  Bella will be made available for adoption a few days later with whatever instructions our vet has at that time. Her future care and stone prevention will be entirely up to the family that adopts her.  

January 3, 2005: Bella had a follow-up vet appointment today.  Xrays showed no new stone formations and her Urine Analysis showed no bacteria, no white blood cells and looks very good!  We are waiting for her blood work and the results of the Urine culture to make sure her infection is completely gone but everything looks very good!  Bella still has a problem holding her urine but she has has more dry nights lately. She now has a cute little pair of panties to wear so she can play around the house without worry.  Now here's the really good news!  Bella has an adopter coming to meet her and if all goes as planned, she will be in her own home on Sunday night!  What a way to start the new year!  We are so excited for Bella!



Bella lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her Mommy, Meg!



South Bay Purebred Rescue
P.O. Box 36090
San Jose, CA 95158