Struvite Crystals

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    My mini Aussie has been diagnosed with struvite crystals. She is 9 months old. Vet prescribed Royan Canin Urinary SO dry dog food and my dog only ate it for a few days and then refused to eat it. Vet then gave me the canned dog food and she does like it much better. However, I’m struggling with the fact that she’s on canned dog food and the only alternative dry food I know of is Hills Science Diet urinary food. I’ve heard that just increasing water intake and occasionally feeding canned food is acceptable. My only worry is if she does develop stones, this will require surgery. I’m avoiding this at ALL costs even if it does mean feeding her a lower quality of food. I’m at a loss and don’t know what to believe. The vet says one thing and many internet forums say other things. I want to listen to my vet, but does my dog REALLY need to be on prescription dog food forever to avoid further bladder issues. Help! Thanks in advance.


    Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Srmeadow –

    Does your dog currently have stuvites or have they been dissolved? Does your dog currently have a urinary tract infection? Stuvites only require treatment if the dog has a UTI and having stuvites does not require being on a prescription food or low protein diet for life.


    From Merck’s Veterinary Manual:

    “Struvite crystals are commonly observed in canine and feline urine. Struvite crystalluria in dogs is not a problem unless there is a concurrent bacterial urinary tract infection with a urease-producing microbe. Without an infection, struvite crystals in dogs will not be associated with struvite urolith formation.”


    An article on Struvites written by CJ Puotinen and Mary Straus published in Whole Dog Journal states:

    “Struvite crystals do not require a change in diet. Because struvite crystals do not pose a problem unless the dog has a urinary tract infection, there is no required treatment for crystals, including dietary changes. If the dog does have a urinary tract infection, a prescription dog food will not cure it.”

    “If your veterinarian finds struvite crystals in the urine and suggests a diet change, you’d be well advised to find a new vet. You have to wonder how many other things he or she is misinformed about. It isn’t just a case of not keeping up with newer research; this recommendation is just plain wrong.”

    “Dogs prone to forming struvite stones should not be kept on a special diet for life. Struvites almost always form because of infections, for which dogs with a history of stones should be closely monitored and properly treated. No long-term dietary change is required, nor will a special diet prevent the formation of infection-induced struvites. However, short-term changes may help speed the dissolution of stones.”

    “Low-protein diets do not prevent stone formation. A low-protein diet can speed the dissolution of struvite stones — when accompanied by appropriate antibiotic treatment — but it is not necessary for the prevention of struvite formation in dogs who are prone to this problem. For almost all dogs, controlling infections will prevent more stones from forming.”


    To prevent the re-occurrence of struvites it’s recommended to do the following:

    -Closely monitor your dog’s urinary pH to detect UTIs (dogs should have a pH of between 5.5 and 7.0).

    -Supplement with cranberry capsules. Compounds found in cranberries help to prevent bacteria from attaching to the tissue that lines the bladder and urinary tract.

    -Supplement with probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria. A healthy population of beneficial bacteria in the dog’s system will help to combat any unhealthy bacteria (such as the bacteria that causes UTIs).

    -Vitamin C is often recommended for dogs prone to UTIs due to its antiiinflammatory properties.

    -Uva Ursi is an herb often used to treat UTIs due to its anti-bacteria properties. It should only be used intermittently for short periods of time.

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by  Hound Dog Mom.
    • This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by  Hound Dog Mom.


    All my dogs have struvite in their urine but no infection and they are 5, 5 and 9 yrs old. I give vitamin C (recc’ by my vet) and d-mannose almost daily. My vet is more holistic. She even sells raw foods in her clinic and didn’t even mention any Rx foods. They have never had a UTI. That is not to say that some dogs aren’t more prone to get UTI’s and then have problems with stones.



    Thank you pugmomsandy and Hound Dog Mom. I’m new to all of this and it’s been a rollercoaster. The vet treated my dog with antibiotics for a “possible infection”. So, I’m guessing the treatment was more for a precaution rather than full-blown UTI. She goes back to vet on Friday (May 17) for a urine re-check! So, I’m hopeful and praying that her crystals will be better… I’m not sure how long it takes to get rid of them. It’s only been two weeks.

    I’m going to talk to my vet about Vitamin C and cranberry. I’m curious as to what she recommends and tells me based on Friday’s urine sample. I will update! Thank you! :)


    shelties mom


    A prior dog of mine had these crystals. My vet did not mention a diet change, thankfully. She prescribed one 500 mg of Vitamin C daily and to up his water intake. Wht I did was add canned & warm water to his kibble and we then switched to The Honest Kitchen, a dehydrated. Make sure your dog has ample fluid and ample opportunity to urinate.



    Thank you, Shelties mom for the video. It gave a lot of helpful info.

    Thanks, InkedMarie. I’m definitely trying to up her water intake.

    So, as for an update… Her urine was clear! So, vet told me she can go back to regular kibble and to just watch her for any urinating problems and up her water intake. Hopefully, she won’t have any more problems! I prayed so hard for this to be the case. Prayer works, people! :O) Have a great weekend and I appreciate all of your helpful insight.

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