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05 September 2008 @ 09:55 am
Struvite Crystals - Raw Food, questions, questions, questions  
My girl has struvite crystals. She had an infection as well, the infection has been cleared up but her urinary Ph is 8 (should be between 6 and 7) and this is what is causing the crystals, which in turn will cause another infection . . . blah.

The vet wants me to put her on a prescription diet for the rest of her life. Not going to happen. I have spent a lot of time researching different foods and there is no way in hell I an switching a food whose top five ingredients are fresh chicken meat, chicken meal, salmon meal, turkey meal, pea startch, green split peas, whole eggs, flaxseed . . . ok that was more than five, for the prescription food that has rice, corn, chicken fat, chicken meal, natural flavour, died egg powder, corn gluten meal and then a bunch of stuff that makes no sense to me. The vet insists this is good food, I insist that anything that contains corn as a top five ingredient is bad (but that is not really the point of the post).

So the vet says there is nothing else I can do, no supplements . . . just the prescription diet.

I did some research and I found that there are SEVERAL supplements that can be prescribed to help acidify the urine. I also found that this problem is in part because of kibble, the enzymes are stripped from the food and a raw food diet tends to make the urine acidic.

So I have questions, the questions are completely separate from each other, so even if you only answer one I greatly appreciate your input.

Has your dog had struvite crystals, if so, how did you treat it (preferably that didn't involve the prescription diets)?

Do you feed your dog a raw food diet? Please flood me with information!!! Did you switch from kibble? Is it more expensive than kibble (I would be looking at buying the meats and veggies, not buying premade raw food from the store)? How do you make the switch? If your dog had struvite crystals and you are now on a raw diet, did the cyrstals dissolve?

Please help :D My Tessa bear appreciates it.
Rustirusti_knight on September 5th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
Be careful of what supplements you decide to try, not all of those are researched or approved by a veterinary panel and can do more harm than good. Consult a vet with anything you want to try *before* you use it.

I understand that you like the food you have your pet on now, but as a stop gap measure, while you research other options, you might temporarily use the Rx food. Struvite crystals cause bladder infections (edit: which, if I had read the post, I would know that you already know *facepalm*) and can also cause stones, which would require a major surgery to remove, if you're not careful. This is something you probably ought to start managing pretty quickly to avoid more trouble for Tessa.

Call other vets in your area to see what they recommend, or if you have a vet school close by find out if they're researching anything that might help you, but ultimately, diet is going to be the main way to change the pH of Tessa's urine, it is a waste product of bodily processes after all, and we are what we eat. Be wary of the information you collect from the internet, and research the sources cited to make sure they are legit.

I, personally, as a vet tech, would make the switch if I had to, but that is simply my opinion. I wish you the best of luck in finding a solution that works for you, and a vet that will fully discuss your questions with you. Struvites are not necessarily bad news, but they are pesky!

Edited at 2008-09-05 06:58 pm (UTC)
blueeyedappleblueeyedapple on September 8th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
I am completely opposed to making the switch for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it is known to cause weight gain (I suspect largely because of the fillers that are in it). Tessa has mild hip dysplasia and arthritis in the one hip, I have to be very careful with her food so she maintains a healthy weight.

What I don't understand is why my vet would say there is nothing else that can be done when I found no less than 4 different things that can be prescribed to her.
Rustirusti_knight on September 8th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
Maybe he/she has reservations about those treatments for specific reasons? You can always call and ask to speak to him about the information you found. If he hasn't heard of them, he then has the opportunity to check his journals and find out about them and get back to you.

The reason he's probably advocating the food is because it's the safest, least side-effect ridden way to change urine pH. Perhaps he could have explained his reasoning to you better, but knowing what I know, I would switch my own dog off of her Royal Canin GSD 24 to a Purina or SD based Rx diet if she needed it, and manage her weight from there. Royal Canin and Eukanuba also make Rx diets, so you can check into those and ask your vet about them.