<b>Introduction:</b> This study evaluated the ability to fragment and remove naturally occurring uroliths in dogs using a holmium: YAG laser.
<b>Methods: </b> Twenty four dogs with naturally occurring uroliths including 10 spayed females and 14 neutered males. The dogs were 8.7 ± 2.8 years old and weighed 13.7 ± 8.0 kg. All dogs had bladder stones and 5 male dogs also had urethral stones. In female dogs, cystoscopy was performed using a rigid cystoscope with sheath diameter of 14 to 19 french. Cystoscopy was performed in males dogs using a 7.5 french diameter pediatric ureteroscope. Uroliths were fragmented using a 20 watt Holmium: YAG laser and the fragments were removed by basket extraction and voiding urohydropropulsion.
<b>Results:</b> Average laser parameters for urolith fragmentation were 0.7 Joules at 8 Hertz (range: 0.5 to 1.3 Joules at 5 to 13 Hertz). All urolith fragments were successfully removed in all 10 female dogs and 11 of 14 male dogs. In one male dog, the urethra was too small to allow passage of the ureteroscope. In one of the male dogs, the urethral stones were successfully removed by laser lithotripsy, but removal of the bladder stones was performed by cystotomy. There was one complication of urethral perforation during attempts to pass an access sheath transurethrally in a dog with extensive proliferative urethritis.
<b>Conclusions:</b> Laser lithotripsy is a safe and effective method of removing bladder and urethral stones in dogs provided the dog is large enough to permit transurethral passage of a cystoscope or ureteroscope.
Approximately 12,000 people are diagnosed with invasive transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder (InvTCC) each year in the United States. Surgical removal of the bladder (cystectomy) and regional lymph node dissection are considered frontline therapy. Cystectomy causes extensive acute morbidity, and 50% of patients with InvTCC have occult metastases at the time of diagnosis. Better staging procedures for InvTCC are greatly needed. This study was performed to evaluate an intra-operative near infrared fluorescence imaging (NIRF) system (Frangioni laboratory) for identifying sentinel lymph nodes draining InvTCC. NIRF imaging was used to map lymph node drainage from specific quadrants of the urinary bladder in normal dogs and pigs, and to map lymph node drainage from naturally-occurring InvTCC in pet dogs where the disease closely mimics the human condition. Briefly, during surgery NIR fluorophores (human serum albumen-fluorophore complex, or quantum dots) were injected directly into the bladder wall, and fluorescence observed in lymphatics and regional nodes. Conditions studied to optimize the procedure including: type of fluorophore, depth of injection, volume of fluorophore injected, and degree of bladder distention at the time of injection. Optimal imaging occurred with very superficial injection of the fluorophore in the serosal surface of the moderately distended bladder. Considerable variability was noted from dog to dog in the pattern of lymph node drainage. NIR fluorescence was noted in lymph nodes with metastases in dogs with InvTCC. In conclusion, intra-operative NIRF imaging is a promising approach to improve sentinel lymph node mapping in invasive urinary bladder cancer.