Crystals and Diet

Postby pocketpit » August 20th, 2011, 1:07 am

Kimber (Doberman) has had an issue with struvite crystals for most of her life. Never had any UTI's (knock on wood) but the crystals persisted through any kind of food I've tried her on. I have not used prescription diets becuase I wasn't thrilled with the idea and wanted to see if there was another way around having to resort to them. She takes a cranberry supplement (capsules) and it makes a difference in her urine PH. It doesn't alleviate all of the crystals but she's down to none or just a few whenever I do UA's on her vs the enormous amounts she used to have before. Lukily for me she's an avid water drinker so that helps as well. Her urine stinks to high hell but I've never seen any bacteria in it on the microscope and I send out samples to the lab periodically just to be sure.
No dietary advise here, just wanted to add my experience in case it was at all helpful. If anyone has feedback on supplements with Vit C or D-Meth. in them working I'd love to hear it. I've considered adding the DM to her diet but the cranberry seems to work so I haven't toyed with it.
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Postby amalie79 » August 20th, 2011, 1:38 pm

pocketpit wrote:Kimber (Doberman) has had an issue with struvite crystals for most of her life. Never had any UTI's (knock on wood) but the crystals persisted through any kind of food I've tried her on. I have not used prescription diets becuase I wasn't thrilled with the idea and wanted to see if there was another way around having to resort to them. She takes a cranberry supplement (capsules) and it makes a difference in her urine PH. It doesn't alleviate all of the crystals but she's down to none or just a few whenever I do UA's on her vs the enormous amounts she used to have before. Lukily for me she's an avid water drinker so that helps as well. Her urine stinks to high hell but I've never seen any bacteria in it on the microscope and I send out samples to the lab periodically just to be sure.
No dietary advise here, just wanted to add my experience in case it was at all helpful. If anyone has feedback on supplements with Vit C or D-Meth. in them working I'd love to hear it. I've considered adding the DM to her diet but the cranberry seems to work so I haven't toyed with it.


Thanks! I'm glad to hear as many people's experiences as I can!!

Do you feed raw or kibble or something else?

I wish Robin was more of a water drinker than she is. However, I'm working to encourage her to drink more, and now that we know she's not a thrasher in her crate, I might hook a water bowl to the side instead of the lick-bottle. I think if I can find a food that she's just crazy about, I can add water and she won't think twice. I'm also happy to add higher moisture foods like meat and eggs and oats or rice and veggies, though she seems to have gone off pumpkin.

If I end up going back to a commercial kibble diet, I'm highly considering just finding one that she likes, regardless of mineral content, and adding the Wysong, which has dl-methionine and blueberries in it. It's got probiotics, too, so I could get rid of my probiotic supplement, and I keep PH strips by the back door to monitor them and can keep an eye that it doesn't go lower than 6.5 (don't want the other crystals!). I'm trying to figure out if it would be overkill to add the cranberry with the Wysong, since cranberry's primary function is to prevent infection from taking up residence, not so much to manage pH alone ( I think the Vit C that's added to most supplements is what does the acidifying). I'll keep you posted if I decide to use any of the acidifiers.

Thanks for everyone's input. It helps a lot!
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Postby amalie79 » August 22nd, 2011, 2:55 pm

I am at my wit's end.

Robin ate the s/d as I transitioned her off of the kibble...and then she ate it by itself for 2 or 3 days, with me having to ask her to go back and finish a little more each meal. Now she won't eat it at all. I was able to hand feed her about half of it last night, but I think that's only because she skipped breakfast entirely. I've mashed it with a fork, added water, zapped it in the microwave. Sprinkled kibble on top (she picks out what she can, and leaves what's too far down)... I found a little Royal Canin left over and gave her that. She picked out the pieces of canned that were around it and spit them on the floor-- again, only because she's so hungry. She didn't like the RC last time, either. She runs off and hides, like she's in trouble or hurt or feeling sickly. Stressing her out while she's trying to recover from an infection is just about the worst idea ever.

I guess tonight I'll try sticking it in the blender with some broth or mixing in some other canned food or chicken and rice, and then if that doesn't work, I'll take the cans back to the vet and go back to the food she hates only marginally less while we get the crystals under control... or go straight to raw? I don't know.

It's stressing her out... it's stressing me out. This sucks. :(
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Postby amalie79 » August 22nd, 2011, 3:02 pm

Oh, nevermind. If I get home before the vet closes, I'm taking the s/d back and getting a small bag of the RC. I don't even want those cans in my house.
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Postby pocketpit » August 22nd, 2011, 7:13 pm

Do you feed raw or kibble or something else?


She just eats kibble. I've tried just about every brand under the sun except the prescription stuff and it didn't seem to matter what she ate. I know cranberry is not supposed to really alter the PH and if you believe the studies done on dogs they claim it's not effective at all against preventing UTI's. I wish I could remember where I read that study because I'd post it here. All I know is I got lucky and the cranberry lowered it a bit. Enough that most of her crystals are gone now though it still usually ranges in the 7-7.5 range. I really should try the Vit. C and see what that does for her.
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Postby amalie79 » August 22nd, 2011, 7:28 pm

I keep reading nothing but good stuff about Berry Balance (cranberry, blueberry, vit c). If we go with kibble (or a mix of morning meals kibble/evening meals raw), I'll almost certainly go with that at least a few times a week... if we go with strictly raw, I'll probably do only cranberry and see what happens.

We stopped by the vet's office and swapped out the s/d cans for SO cans. She seemed to like the SO better, and I have to say that it looked and smelled more like food. The s/d was like scooping out cold Crisco.

I just want to be sure I have a clean slate before I start messing with her diet.
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Postby amalie79 » August 22nd, 2011, 7:53 pm

Oh yeah-- and the reason I'm thinking Berry Balance over Wysong, at least to start with, is because I don't want to overdo it and cause the Ca/Ox crystals. I figure I'll start conservative and go to the Wysong supplement if needed.
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Postby amalie79 » September 1st, 2011, 1:08 pm

Just had a urine recheck-- no bacteria or crystals. pH was high, but so far so good.

We'll keep on keeping on with cranberry/vit C and a more moisture-rich diet. Fingers crossed this continues.
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Postby pocketpit » September 3rd, 2011, 6:39 pm

Yay for a good recheck!
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Postby iluvk9 » September 3rd, 2011, 7:24 pm

amalie79 wrote:Just had a urine recheck-- no bacteria or crystals. pH was high, but so far so good.


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Postby plebayo » September 5th, 2011, 6:58 pm

amalie79 wrote:Just had a urine recheck-- no bacteria or crystals. pH was high, but so far so good.

We'll keep on keeping on with cranberry/vit C and a more moisture-rich diet. Fingers crossed this continues.



YAY for a good recheck! Let's hope things continue to go well. Urinary issues are such a pain!
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Postby amalie79 » September 15th, 2011, 9:27 am

We started on premade raw in the evenings and kibble in the mornings. Robin's kibble is mixed with wet food and floated, and River's kibble is floated with water and joint supplements. Then they get raw with a little water added in the PM. The puppy is still just getting her kibble dry in a brake-fast bowl (she's been looking so good, but I saw a bunch of fleas on her last night, it hasn't been a month since her last flea treatment, but she'll have to get another one tonight, and she has one little pustule. Gonna try to get that under control before it gets out of hand. Cleaning with chlorhex, maybe?)

Robin's urine is continuing to test well for me at home-- if anything it leans a bit too acidic, so I'm pulling back on the cranberry/vit c supplement. I think I may have left my testing strip key in the sun for a while, so it might have faded and I'm not sure how acidic they really are. Need to buy new box, just for the key!

River, though, is tending QUITE acidic. She's always done fine with kibble. I'm going to amp up the amount of veggies that she gets-- low purine and alkaline inducing to try to keep things in the middle. The last thing I need is for her to develop calcium oxalate stones. I hope she hasn't already. :neutral:

At any rate, they are LOVING IT. Robin is so happy for dinner time. She'd gotten where she acted like she was being beaten when it was time to eat, it made her so unhappy. Now she comes running. So I gotta find a cost effective way to keep it up, 'cause pre made is too damn expensive!
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Postby plebayo » September 17th, 2011, 11:32 am

Glad things seem to be working :D
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Postby plebayo » October 15th, 2011, 8:06 pm

Seth submissively peed like 4 times today which is abnormal for him so I ran a UA on him and his pee was loaded with crystals! No red or white cells - just crystals. I'm going out of town but my coworker is going to hold him for an ultrasound. His x-ray looks a little suspicious. Really hoping he doesn't have stones!
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Postby Malli » October 16th, 2011, 2:55 am

what a crappy birthday present for him!
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » October 16th, 2011, 9:03 am

Bummer. :(
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Postby amalie79 » October 16th, 2011, 10:32 am

Boooooo. :(

Luna, the puppy, just had a bout with crystals and the vet didn't even bother trying to make me give her Rx food this time. :D But she had an infection. Those sterile crystals can be tough. Are they going to culture the sample and make sure it's not an infection?

Robin just had another follow-up. They said there were a very few white blood cells, but nothing to worry about, so we'll carry on with the raw and cranberry. Luna's had also cleared up. She's not on raw yet, but she's having terrible anal gland problems. Her face is constantly up her butt, so we got them expressed, but it's now only a week or two later, and she's already stinky again and doing that frantically whipping her head around like someone just attacked her rear end. We had a terrible time getting her food worked out, so I'm not surprised she had the first problem, but this immediate second time around sucks. Poor girl. She's a piece of work.

Suzanne, keep us posted on Seth. Hopefully there's a sneaky infection there and getting it cleared up will solve the whole thing. Fingers and paws crossed at our house!!!
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Postby plebayo » October 22nd, 2011, 12:34 am

Thanks for the good thoughts- they may be working!!

Today the upstairs where we have our digs at work smelled like pseudomonas - because of seth's pee problem I decided to catch a sample plus lilo's booty smelled kinda funny so I got a sample on her too. Their pee didn't stink, turns out the boss's dog expressed her anal glands.

I looked at their pee under the scope. Seth's only had a few crystals! Lilo's had several crystals, a few red cells and lots of background junk. I'm going to increase their water intake and run UAs again in a week or two. They didn't get a chance to ultrasound Seth while I was gone and we were mad busy today. I will see if we can do it next week. Thanks sooo much for the good thoughts!!!
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Postby amalie79 » October 23rd, 2011, 10:13 pm

I've been floating my girls' kibble in an obscene amount of water and doing cranberry a few times a week.

Keep us posted on how it's all working for you!!
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Postby amalie79 » December 12th, 2011, 10:57 am

So the grinder broke a few weeks ago... I decided to see if it would handle turkey bones... HAHAHAHAHA!! It just screamed at me.

But that grinder has a warranty that covers it breaking FOR ANY REASON. I've just been lazy trying to get a box it will fit into to ship off, and so they've been getting Bravo for several meals a week, but not a full half of their meals by any stretch... and it does have a lot of veggies in it... I'd also slacked on the cranberry. We hadn't seemed to need it since we went raw, so I forgot to ramp it up while they were getting more kibble.

Anyway, Robin is testing alkaline, so I'm going to try running a sample in today or tomorrow; Luna is going outside and peeing twice. She's staying pretty neutral, but I'll probably take her sample in, too.

Sigh. This is what I get for being lazy. Back to home-prepared raw, and probably raw all the time, or at least more than half.

I should know better. Hopefully the vet will understand and not try to push the RC/SO on me again. Robin's time on raw was the longest interval between infections so far, and if she indeed has crystals again, I am convinced it's because we've lapsed on her diet. Fingers crossed.
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