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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:55 PM
bri1231 bri1231 is offline
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Puppy with crystals in urine - vet recommending Hills C/D

I have a 12 wk old Brittany puppy who went to the vet today for her 3 mo. shots. While there I had them do a urinalysis due to the breeder diagnosing her with a UTI 4 wks ago just before I brought her home (which she was treated for & tested negative after the antibiotics) and several of her litter mates being diagnosed (by their vets) with UTI's. Today, there was no blood in her urine but her PH is 8 and she has a "significant" amount of crystals. The vet said this is highly unusual in a puppy so young, and recommended changing her diet to Hills C/D.

I bought the new food but am leery to make the switch. I admittedly know nothing about dog food, but am trying to learn. For now am taking the advise and expertise of others, but it's hard to know who to trust. At the suggestion of the breeder my puppy is being fed Solid Gold Hundn' Flockin. My vet knew nothing of Solid Gold. I am afraid with everything I'm reading online that vets are not well versed in nutrition and just push what they sell. I have a lot of faith in my breeder, she is a huge advocate of feeding raw and the use of supplements such as probiotics & canine wholistic complete & apple cidar vinegar & a huge list of others.

My problem is my fiance believes 100% what the vet says because he's gone to school for 8 yrs to learn this and we should just do as he says. I don't think the vet is purposely steering us wrong, but do believe it is possible the food switch is not the best option. Can you please give me your opinions on this?

Here is some technical info...
-I took the urine sample at about 1:30 & refrigerated it until the apt. @ 4:30
- The puppy eats Solid Gold Hundn' Flockin Dry & Soft mixed, with Salmon oil for an itchy coat and probiotics.
- I have also been mixing with her meals some cooked fresh fish that was left over from a fishing trip.
- She gets lots of treats, some healthy some not so heathy. I also give her a Kong filled with either Kong Liver Paste or Peanut Butter.

This is all I can think of for now that may be important, thanks for any help anyone can give me.

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Old September 14th, 2009, 07:00 PM
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Frenchy Frenchy is offline
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Originally Posted by bri1231 View Post

My problem is my fiance believes 100% what the vet says because he's gone to school for 8 yrs
8 years of school but probably had about a 2 hour course on pet food .... right now tought , I would go with the vet food , until the UTI clears up. Once it is , I would go back to your regular food.

I will say , I think vet food is mostly corn based aka : doesn't bring anything good to dogs or cats. But when you're dealing with urine problems , constipation , tummy problems , I have found that the food does work but there's absolutely NO need to keep them on that diet once their condition clears up.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 07:03 PM
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Bailey_ Bailey_ is offline
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Can you get a second opinion? Sometimes this is one of the best ways to make a medical decision, especially if your fiance is more keen to rely on a vet reccomendation.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 09:03 PM
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I have a lot of experience with struvite crystals because of my cat.

Ok - so here is the basics.
Struvite crystals develop in urine that is too alkaline. Grains (and veggie matter) create alkaline urine. Although C/D is basically corn it uses synthetic dl-methionine to artificially acidify urine. Long-term use of synthetic methionine has been linked to issues absorbing calcium, metabolic disorders and calcium oxalte crystals (which are much harder than struvite to deal with).

Natural methionine is found in meat. Meat based foods often naturally create a more acidic urine, and therefore prevent struvite crystals from forming.
The best diets for animals with struvite issues are raw diets, since they naturally keep urine acidic and provide a high amount of water to keep urine dilute.

I personally wouldn't use Hill's products. C/d has horrible ingredients and you can do much better. My first suggestion is raw, but if your more interested in a kibble i'd look at Orijen or Horizon Legacy - or really any grain-free high meat kibble. As well, you can purchase supplemental Methionine from most health food stores or you can get Wysong Biotic pH-. Don't let your vet push you into Hill's (or Medi-Cal or Purina, etc...) you have a ton of much better and healthier options.

Hope that helps.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 09:59 PM
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14+kitties 14+kitties is offline
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Maybe this article may help......


Dear Dr Gordon: On a recent well pet check at my vet, the urine analysis from the lab revealed that both my cat and dog have crystals in the urine and bacteria. Both my pets are happy and healthy. How significant is this? BK

Dear BK: First of all, crystals and bacteria in the urine MAY BE a significant medical problem, OR may be nothing at all. What do I mean by this?

Many veterinarians utilize veterinary reference laboratories to analyze blood, urine, stool, and other samples. If urine is collected on a pet that is completely asymptomatic for any urinary problems (no straining to urinate, no blood, no unusual urinary behavior) and submitted to a laboratory for analysis, the presence of crystals in that particular urine sample may have formed en route to the lab.

How is this possible? Sometimes crystals can form from the time the urine was collected to the time it was read at the lab due to changes in temperature and changes in the pH of the urine. Crystals that were soluable in solution at the time of collection can actually crystallize out in the solution over time. Is this significant? In a pet that is symptomatic, crystals in the urine are significant. If the pet is completely asymptomatic, then the crystals are probably not a significant issue. However, a fresh urine sample should always be re-examined at the veterinarian's office to make sure crystals are not present immediately after collection. If crystals are present in a fresh sample, these are a real finding and should be addressed. There can be many causes for the formation of crystals. Diet, genetic predisposition, and bacterial infection are some of the culprits. Pets that are having chronic urinary tract infectons and/or crystals in the urine can often benefit from Ask Ariel's Pet UTI prevention formula.

The presence of bacteria in the urine can sometimes also be misleading. Veterinarians collect urine in a variety of ways. The best way to collect a urine sample is by a technique called cystocentesis. In this technique, the pet is allowed to build up urine in the urinary bladder and the urine is extracted from the bladder in a sterile fashion. This is usually done by cleansing the area of any surface bacteria on the skin and collecting the urine with a very fine hypodermic needle and syringe. If bacteria are found on this "sterile" collection technique, it is always significant. Sometimes when veterinarians are faced with a particularly uncooperative patient, we will ask that the owners collect a urine sample for us. Even though we hope the sample is collected a aseptically as possible, we realize that collection in this way is less than ideal, and will probably be contaminated to some degree. Almost any sample that is collected at home, by the owner, either by a "mid stream catch" (in the case of a big dog or via the litter box (in the case of cats) will be contaminated. Even though we realize this, it is important to analyze the urine anyway since other findings in the urine may be significant. We can still discern many important facts about the pet's health status from a urine sample collected by the owner. Significant findings could be sugar in the urine, crystals in a fresh sample, the presence of inflammatory cells or cancer cells, protein in the urine, and/or blood in the urine. All of these would be present regardless of how the urine was collected.

Sometimes there actually will be the presence of bacteria, but the lab or veterinarian report that no bacteria were seen. How is this possible? Sometimes the bacteria numbers are very small, or sometimes a very dilute urine will not show any presence of bacteria when examined under the microscope(although they are there). If the doctor suspects that bacteria may be present causing symptioms, and "no bacteria seen" is reported by the lab, he or she may recommend a culture and sensitivity be done on the urine.

To do a culture and senstivity correctly, the sample should be collected straight from the urinary bladder to avoid environmental contamination. One the urine is collected, it is transferred to a sterile test tube for transport to the lab. Once the urine arrives at the lab, special procedures are employed to enhance the growth of any bacteria that could be present. This involves placing the urine in a test tube containing a special broth to enhance the reproduction of any bacteria found in the urine. After the bacteria are grown in the broth, the bacteria is identified and this solution is "streaked across" a special plate containing another type of growth media. Special small discs, each impregnated with a different antibiotic, are then spread onto this plate. The growth pattern of the bacteria helps determine which antibiotic(s) would be effective in killing the bacteria.
As you can see, there is a big difference in the reporting and interpretation of crystals and bacteria in the urine. DrG
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Old September 19th, 2009, 03:54 AM
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flipgirl4 flipgirl4 is offline
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I just had the same experience with my dog earlier this year. I work at an animal hospital and got chided for feeding raw. The vet told me that if I wanted to feed natural I should feed canned. I envisioned a pack of wild dogs chasing a can...Anyway, she recommended c/d and I did feed a couple of cans more out of stressing out. She didn't really like it and her poops were big mounds.

Anyway, with struvite crystals, many times when you get rid of the UTI, the struvite crystals go away. Your dog can live with a few struvite crystals but once an infection starts, there is a risk of the crystals sticking together and stones can then form. I would finish the antibiotics and then get another urinalysis done to make sure the UTI is gone and there are no more crystals. I bought a supplement from Wysong called Biotic ph- which I added to my dog's food to help her urine become more acidic. You can try that until the crystals are gone. Also encourage your puppy to drink more water....add chicken broth (low sodium) to his food and/or water. Is he getting enough exercise? Inactivity may also contribute to crystals.

The foods that are meant for crystals, whether they are struvite or calcium oxylate, contain salt to encourage the animal to drink. I'm not a big fan of this especially if a dog has kidney problems.

Stick with your current food, just add water or broth or maybe try that supplement. Solid gold also sells a supplement called Berry Balance which is to prevent UTIs or maintain urinary tract health.
Give a dog food and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. That is the principal difference between a dog and man. (Mark Twain)
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