Calcium Oxalate Urinary Stones and Hyperlipidemia

Calcium Oxalate Urinary Stones

Dr. Furrow and SchnauzersUrinary 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), Dachshund, 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 four breeds with increased risk for CaOx stones, the Miniature Schnauzer, Bichon Frise, Dachshund, and Shih Tzu, and from one breed with decreased risk, the Border Collie. We aim 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, Dachshund, Border Collies, 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)

Participation and Compensation


Cases: For Miniature SchnauzersBichons FriseDachshundsBorder Collies, and Shih Tzus that have had CaOx stones at any point in their life, we would love a small DNA sample that can be collected either at home with cheek swabs or by a veterinarian as a blood sample. It can be sent in from anywhere in the country or even outside of the United States. If you are interested in participating, we can send you cheek swab kits at no cost. Please contact Dr. Furrow (see information below) or e-mail us at


Controls: For Miniature SchnauzersBichons Frise, and Dachshunds that have not had CaOx stones AND are at least 9 years of age, we would love to see them here at the University of Minnesota's Veterinary Medical Center for a single brief research visit. You will receive a check for $50 per control dog for participating in this study. The appointment will involve free bloodwork (mini panel that includes kidney values, blood sugar, and electrolytes), abdominal x-rays, and urine tests. 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.

If you would like information on the management of CaOx stones, please read the Minnesota Urolith recommendations

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


Funding is provided by the Morris Animal Foundation.


Two Mini SchnauzersMiniature 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 at 612-625-7493 or

About the investigator

Dr. Eva FurrowDr. 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.

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


Donate to the Canine Genetics Lab

Poodle Mix

 If you wish to contribute financially to the Canine Genetics Research Fund please donate online.