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A Medical Mystery for Sweet Godiva

Godiva has a smile that could light up a room. In fact, it lit up the whole kennel. Chocolatey brown and living up to his name in sweetness, Godiva won over all our hearts. He came to the shelter in April as a stray, and we fully expected an owner to reclaim this hunk as a missing pet. But no one came forward. As we grew excited for the future lucky family who would adopt Godiva, we discovered something alarming.

Godiva was urinating blood. Lots of blood.

The York County SPCA medical team immediately examined Godiva, but everything looked normal. So they started him on an antibiotic in case of a urinary tract infection. After a few days of no improvement, Godiva was moved to the vet wing. The veterinary team completed x-rays to look for bladder or kidney stones. Nothing. Like his exam, Godiva’s x-rays showed a perfectly normal, healthy dog. He was even eating well, full of energy, and strong as any other young Pit Bull in the kennel.  

We sent a urine sample out to the diagnostic laboratory for a culture and cytology to look for any signs of infection, cancer, or abnormal cells. All normal. The vet team ran bloodwork at the shelter. Again, normal. So, we sent a blood sample to the lab to check for tickborne diseases and also for the pathologist to look for any platelet abnormalities. The lab results were fine.

Then, we reached out to our partners at Mason Dixon Animal Hospital to ask if they would perform a full abdominal ultrasound, something we do not have the equipment to perform in house. Mason Dixon gladly accommodated Godiva, checking for anything in his body that could possibly be causing bloody urine. They found nothing.


Godiva became a medical mystery. A seemingly entirely healthy dog who showed no signs of pain or discomfort could not stop urinating pools of blood. Something was off but neither our medical team nor any specialist who examined Godiva could figure out what it was.

The YCSPCA medical team cultured his urine again to double check for a potential urinary tract infection. All looked good. They sent out bloodwork to check his clotting factors, which ensures his body can clot blood properly and not have excessive bleeding. His bloodwork was fine. Our Shelter Medical Director then neutered Godiva to see if his prostate was causing an issue. He healed quickly, but his urine was still bloody.

By this point, Godiva’s stay in the shelter was becoming prolonged. He did not require daily observation or treatment, just a diagnosis. Otherwise, our lovable guy was healthy enough for a home. So, our Canine Behavior and Foster Manager arranged for Godiva to live with one of our best dog fosters, Brenda, while we worked to find a resolution.

We let Godiva settle into his foster home, which he did quickly and happily, and then continued on the journey to diagnosis with him. We sent him to PETS in Lancaster to be seen by an internal medicine specialist. The specialist found no abnormalities, so he recommended an additional blood panel and a focal ultrasound with a specialized veterinary radiologist. Nothing could be found.

After everything, only one possible diagnosis remained: benign renal hematuria, an extremely rare condition where the kidney(s) intermittently bleed for no underlying reason. If Godiva were a female there would be more treatment options, such as a cystoscopy and potentially cauterizing part of the kidney or taking the affected kidney out. However, the male anatomy makes treatment much more difficult. After everything, Godiva still smiled, tail wagging and tongue lolling, probably wondering what all the fuss was about. He was just happy to have made so many new friends.

Fortunately, Godiva’s benign condition has no effect on his wellbeing. Though his condition is lifelong, this healthy boy’s treatment plan is simple – have his red blood cell count checked regularly, about every 3-6 months. Despite his ongoing bloody urine, Godiva romps through his life with that contagious Pit Bull grin. His foster mom, Brenda, said he loves to play, run around with a ball or frisbee, and chew on stuffed animals as much as he loves to cuddle up and relax. She said he is a “super sweet boy” who’s even well-mannered and quick to learn.

Brenda has helped Godiva with his training and enrichment, and it shows. She explained that he eats politely on his routine (nighttime) and, at almost two years old, is fully house trained. However, he is not a fan of the water and will try to refuse the bathroom in the rain. Strong and bounding with energy, Godiva will pull on his leash to try to meet other animals, wanting to be everyone’s best friend and playmate. But he is easily reeled back in and listens well, even knowing the commands “off” and “down.” He enjoys his crate as long as snacks are involved, but we all enjoy most things better when snacks are involved, right? Like everyone who met Godiva, Brenda easily fell in love with the stud muffin, as did her niece. They will be adopting him and filling the next leg of his journey with even more love and adventure.


Godiva’s sunny outcome is all thanks to the Second Chance Fund. Our medical team was able to perform the majority of the tests; provide medications; and neuter, microchip, and vaccinate Godiva at the shelter. And our kind partners at Mason Dixon Animal Hospital and PETS generously offered a discount for their services to Godiva. However, not including in-shelter costs, we utilized about $2,100 from our Second Chance Fund to cover Godiva’s outside medical care. The Second Chance fund exists to help animals who have been injured, abused, or who need costly and extensive medical care. Veterinary costs such as surgery, rehabilitation and medicine are covered through the Second Chance fund. We are tremendously grateful too all supporters who contribute to the Second Chance Fund. Not only are you saving animals enduring life-threatening emergencies, but you are also ensuring that unique animals like Godiva receive ongoing, specialized veterinary attention they need before going home. And thanks to your support, every animal who has benefitted from the Second Chance Fund has happily left the shelter for their own journey of love and adventure.

To learn more about or donate to the Second Chance Fund, please visit the Second Chance Fund page.