Facts you should know about canine struvite crystals

Symptoms that can occur with dog struvite crystals and bladder stones consist of;

1. Straining to urinate 2. Urinating only a few drops at a time 3. Frequent urination 4. Blood in the urine 5. Dribbling urine 6. Loss of appetite 7. Depression 8. Sporadic vomiting

If your dog has any of these symptoms, it is essential to take him to the veterinarian immediately. A urinalysis and culture will indicate if there is an infection and antibiotic treatment will be prescribed. If stones or crystals are present they can be removed surgically or dissolved by the use of diet. Struvite crystals are common in normal urine and are usually of no significance. When the crystals are present in large amounts, they can form stones or a blockage.

The canine struvite crystals form in the urinary bladder as a result of dietary influences and genetics. The crystals can be various sizes and amounts resulting in infection. Stones can form in any part of the urinary tract in dogs. There are several types of stones but struvite and calcium oxalate stones are without a doubt the most common. It is imperative to treat bladder stones so that the urinary tract obstruction does not occur.

Bladder stones can be removed surgically by a cystotomy, which requires opening the bladder. Surgical removal is the fastest, but this is an invasive method and has its risks. If the stones are small enough to pass in the urine the vet will perform a nonsurgical procedure called urohydropropulsion. This procedure is performed under sedation by filling the bladder with saline through a catheter, holding the dog vertically, and squeezing the bladder to expel the stones through the urethra. Stones lodged in the urethra can often be flushed into the bladder and removed, but sometimes an urethrotomy, which is a surgical incision into the urethra, is done especially for the relief of a stricture.

Canine struvite crystals can be dissolved using dietary modifications and/or medications. Water intake must be increased so the urine is diluted which helps thin out the crystals in the urine.

You might also want to consider adding products that support the function of the bladder and urinary tract to help prevent dog struvite crystals. A homeopathic veterinarian may prescribe uva ursi, berberis, cantharis, staphysagris or a combination of the herbs and botanical extracts. All of these are well known tonics for treating and preventing urinary tract infections.

Echinacea, Indian ginseng, milk thistle and dandelion are herbs known to support healthy liver and immune system function which will aid the urinary tract system to remain healthy.

The easiest way to prevent canine struvite crystals is to give your dog a healthy diet and add an alternative bladder support product which also aids in helping kidney function.