My dog Bischon/poodle is a rescue and is now @ 4 1/2 yrs old. I have had her for about 1 1/2 year. She had a bladder stone the size of an egg (REALLY!) and had to have surgery to have it removed. The vet said she “thought” she had a Struvite bladder stone. The Vet put her on Royal Canine SO by prescription. She has been on this about 1 yr. Now reading about the ingredients from this site, I am very worried about the food ingredients which start out with Brewers rice, corn, chicken by product meal, chicken fat and more. She is a dog that is starving at all times. I give her 1/2 C in morning and 1/2 C in evening. Make her own dog treats. Does ANYONE have experience with the bladder stones and possibly recommend a dog food that is better??? I’ve been buying it at Chewy and is less expensive than the Vet……but…….?……..now am confused.
Thank you so much……..Cherie (the human)…..Sophie (the dog)….
Per the search engine: https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/search/bladder+stones/
See my posts
Also regarding prescription food:
I have used Royal Canin SO for a dog for a dog with bladder stones with good results.
Zignature is a quality food, copy the ingredient list from Chewy and show your vet, maybe the dog could have that? Or, 1/2 and 1/2 with the prescription food? Check with your vet.
Whatever you feed, add water and maybe soft food, presoak kibble and add water.
Dogs that get bladder stones often have a genetic predisposition (struvite and calcium oxalate are the most common), not enough water is another contributing factor.
Has she had an x-ray/ultrasound to rule out bladder stones? Because, they can have more than one type of stones. This also. can result in recurrent urinary tract infections.
Add water to the kibble, and you can also presoak the kibble in water overnight in the fridge prior to serving.
Offer frequent bathroom breaks/opportunities to urinate, keep the bladder flushed. Stagnant conditions in the bladder are conductive to stone formation.
Don’t free feed, 2 or 3 small meals a day is better and always have fresh water available. Maybe add a little plain chicken broth (no onion) to the kibble.
A blocked urethra is a medical emergency and can result in surgery to save the dog’s life.
Did the vet talk to you about prescription meds for stubborn cases? Don’t confuse supplements with medication.
Work with your vet, prescription food and all, when the dog has been stable for 6 months to 1 year you can discuss diet changes.
Use the search engine here to see more threads on this topic.
This is not veterinary advice; consult your veterinarian.
Ps: You may find some helpful information here http://skeptvet.com/Blog/?s=urinary+tract+infection
Another thing, when the stone was removed, the vet usually sends it out to be analyzed.
“The vet said she “thought” she had a Struvite bladder stone”.
It is important to identify the type of stone, usually struvite or calcium oxalate, it makes a difference as to which foods should be restricted.
Also, ask your vet about prescription medication for stubborn cases, if your dog is having recurring urinary tract infections and/or bladder stones.
You may find this article helpful, excerpt below, click on link for full article and more information plus treatment recommendations
Management of Bichons with Urinary Stones
It has long been recognized that some Bichons Frises have a predisposition to formation of urinary stones (uroliths). This condition is known as urolithiasis. There are several types of stones that can form in the bladder, with struvite (also called magnesium triple phosphate or “infection” stones) and calcium oxalate being the most common in Bichons. The most important preventative for stone formation is free access to fresh water. For a dog predisposed to stone formation, there are other considerations as well. This article is intended to provide the pet owner with a better understanding of the prevention and treatment of urinary stones. Good veterinary treatment is the most reliable resource for the ongoing care of your dog. You may wish to copy this article for your veterinarian.
The Bichon Frise Club of America, Inc. sought input from Carl A Osborne DVM, PhD in preparing this material. Dr. Osborne, Professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, is considered a leading authority on canine uroliths. We are grateful to him and to his team at the Minnesota Urolith Center for their assistance in making this information available. For more information, you and your veterinarian will be aided by the book “The ROCKet Science of Canine Uroliths”. You will find details in the article below.
And now, please carefully read the following article, prepared by Dr. Osborne and his staff. At the end of the article, there are several paragraphs about Bichon health that need to be considered as a part of the total picture in treating Bichons with bladder infections and stones.
Hi Cherie G-
Take a look at the Rx Royal Canin Calm or Adult Small Dog kibble. They both have the S/O index. The s/o index means they are suited for dogs with struvite or oxalate crystals. It would be nice to know which type your dog has.
Hill’s Science Diet also has Rx food for pets with urinary tract issues.
I feed my cat the Feline RC Calm prescription kibble with some OTC canned food for moisture.
If any of these options look appealing, have a talk with your vet to see if you can get a prescription for one of them. Hope this helps!
Here is a link with some great information on bladder stones: https://www.vetmed.umn.edu/centers-programs/minnesota-urolith-center/recommendations
It’s been almost three years since my cat had his blockage so I’m not remembering a lot of the specifics. But, I was under the impression that most stones in dogs are the result of urinary tract infections. Was your dog tested and/or treated for an infection?
Making sure that your dog gets plenty of water in her is extremely important!!!!
Also, please remember that the food on this site is rated for healthy dogs, not ones that have medical conditions. Hopefully, as anon101 mentioned, you may be able to wean your dog off the Rx kibble once she has stabilized. Good luck!
I’d like to thank “crazy4cats” and “anon101″ for the information and websites you have suggested I look into.
This has taken me to a better understanding about
Struvite stones and dog food ingredients and diets. I, like many others just accept what my vet had said as far as what to feed her. She has now been on Royal Canin SO for over a year. She was a rescue so the sample of the stone wasn’t analyzed to see if it was Struvite or Oxylate. I do intend to do this since I have it. She doesn’t appear to have urinary track infections, and goes pee 3-5 times a day. The stone was 2” and oval like an egg in a little 19# Bischon mix. After reading the ingredients in RC…..Brewers rice, corn, chicken by products, chicken fat etc…….I’m thinking she may not be having enough protein? RC=crude protein 14.0%, crude fat 145.0% crude fiber 4.% moisture 10%. I do supplement her with cooked chicken and sometimes other meats, however, not every day. After reading about chicken by products……..I’m not sure if I want her to have that! ANY COMMENTS???? I also always give her water in her kibble.
I am looking for a new dog food……that is about the same price or less. I’ve been dealing with Chewy so far. THANKS AGAIN SO MUCH!!!!! Cherie
You’re welcome! I’m glad they helped. Did you check out the other two RC formulas I mentioned, i believe they both have a higher protein percentage while still having the s/o index.
Do you have routine urinalysis done to recheck for crystals? I know that in cats stress can be a big contributing factor to producing crystals due its effect on their pH levels. Don’t know if it is as much a factor for dogs. But being a rescue, stress could have been a factor and she might be fine without prescription food now. But, I certainly couldn’t tell you it was ok. My cat had a complete blockage and was only given a 50% chance of surviving and not having permanent damage to his bladder and/or kidneys by the emergency clinic. It could be a life threatening situation if she had a recurrence.
I don’t have a problem with by products in RC foods. They can be very healthy for dogs depending on what they are exactly.
Best wishes for you and your pup! 🐶🐾❤️
Hope this helps!
Glad you found my comments helpful. Continue to add water to her meals and offer frequent bathroom breaks, keep the bladder flushed.
Find a vet you can work with, I know that all the testing can add up $, but now that she has been stable for a year, ask the vet what tests you can skip or do less often.
With my dog, after he had no reoccurrences for over a year or two, plus he was a senior. My vet let me skip all the pH urine testing and x-rays. He said as long as he is not having symptoms, we are not going there. It depends on the dog, the type of stones, etc.Noelle MMember
This is a hot topic for me lol
I have a dog with struvite stones and chronic utis.
Of course when we were given this diagnosis we were recommended a prescription diet from our vet. I immediately cringed at the ingredient list that was majority corn. There was no way I was going to feed my dog what was essentially corn meal with chicken fat half way down the list for the rest of his life. So I began my very long, very draining journey into finding a decent food that wouldn’t cause a flare up.
First I had to figure out WHY the prescription diets worked. Right on the Hill’s website they explain that the food contains controlled levels of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium to manage the development of stones.
So I took the calcium, phosphorus and magnesium levels from the prescription food and started comparing them to other foods. SO many foods. Many of which I had to email the company directly because they didn’t have those levels available online.
Essentially I looked for food with calcium and phosphorus levels below 1%, the lower the better. There are actually quite a few to choose from!
My boy has been on Performatrin Ultra Grain Free Senior for the past number of months, his meals are floated in water and I add a cranberry supplement. His condition has been kept 100% under control and he is doing wonderfully overall on this food.
Generally I have found that senior or large breed formulas are more likely to have sub 1% calcium and phosphorus.
Some of the brands I have found that could work are:
Performatrin Ultra Grain Free Senior
Nutram Sound Senior and Large Breed
Diamond Naturals Grain Free Chicken and Sweet Potato
I give bonus points to foods that contain cranberry already, though I continue to supplement it.
Bottom line is the prescription foods WILL work to treat a specific condition, but I personally could not bring myself to feed it long term based on the ingredient lists. There ARE decent quality foods out there that match or come close to matching the analysis of the prescription diets that should manage the dog’s symptoms and are generally much healthier overall. Look for subzero levels of calcium and phosphorus, float the food in water and consider a cranberry supplement.
Obviously I cannot gaurentee that any of these foods will work, but it is definitely worth a shot imo and has worked beautifully for my dog who had pretty severe and chronic symptoms.
Regarding cranberry supplements. http://skeptvet.com/Blog/?s=cranberry. (excerpt below)
Despite some promising laboratory studies suggesting cranberry supplements might help prevent or treat urinary tract infections, the evidence of studies in clinical patients has been disappointing. Conflicting studies in humans suggest, on balance, that there is probably no significant benefit. And now a high-quality clinical trial in dogs has failed to find any effect, even in the the of infections the pre-clinical research most strongly suggested there should be one.
While the risks of cranberry supplements are probably negligible, pet owners should understand, and veterinarians should make in clear to their clients, that there is no good reason to believe they have any real value in preventing or treating urinary tract infections.
If you are still around, here is another good article that summarizes the different types of stones and recommended treatments.Jennifer WMember
Hello, I am new here. Looking for advice regarding struvite crystals. Because of my concern about the prescription dog food my dog is eating I am looking for alternative choices. Noelle M, thank you for your research! I’m going to look into the foods you have listed in your post. I’m open to advice and suggestions on this matter. Thank youDiane SMember
My toy poodle had surgery for a combination of Oxidate (?) and Struvite Stone; 14 months later it was back. At that time I fed her Hills s/d and saw improvement within two weeks, continued the food for about 2.5 months, went back to Hills c/d food and in about a year, symptoms again. She’s back on the s/d, improving less quickly than last time. I don’t know what to do, having surgery every 12-14 months isn’t possible as my income is below the poverty line and I don’t have the money, but more importantly I couldn’t put my dog through surgery that often. I could probably borrow the money for surgery again, depending upon the Stone size $1400-$1900. In slightly over a year I’d have to put her through it again bc obviously they will continue to afflict her. Also, the x-rays are $450 over and above cost of surgery. I love her and don’t want her to suffer. I don’t know what to do. I hope that the s/d food will do its job again, but if it doesn’t?
Did you speak to your vet about prescription medication for stubborn cases?
The x-ray, I believe is non-negotiable. It’s very important to rule out bladder stones, calcium oxalate stones don’t dissolve. Dogs can have more than one type of stone. This could explain the reoccurrences
Are you adding water to meals? Frequent bathroom breaks, opportunities to urinate.
Stagnant conditions in the bladder are conducive to stone formation.
Most vets offer financing https://www.carecredit.com/vetmed/
Hi Diane S-
Sorry to hear about your pup! As you probably know, the s/d food can only be used short term due to it not being complete and balanced. The c/d food can be fed long term. That being said, they both are formulated to dissolve and prevent struvite stones. Neither work to dissolve the oxalate ones. They cannot be dissolved, only passed or removed.
Are you using the dry or canned prescription food? If not using canned, I’d give it a try. It would add more moisture to the diet which in addition to dissolving helps flush both types of crystals/stones.
Also, Royal Canin has an Rx food for bladder and urinary crystals as well. It has an S/O index which is supposed to help prevent both types of crystals. Maybe your vet would approve of one of their urinary formulas. That is what I feed to my cat with this issue. I also add plenty of canned food to his diet. I know that canned food is expensive, but as we both know, the surgery with an overnight stay cost a lot more!!!
I’m curious, has your dog had urinary tract infections too? If yes, have they been treated with antibiotics?
As was mentioned to you above, try to get as much water and plenty of bathroom breaks as possible to help your pup’s pee diluted. I wish you the best!Marjorie MMember
Noelle M- not sure if you’ll see this, but I hope you do- my dog has a struvite stone and I am looking into more nutritional/natural ways to dissolve it. Can you tell me exactly what you did to get the stone dissolved. My dog is on Hill’s s/d and not only is it crappy food, it’s $$$! I know it should work, but my dog needs to be on it for 6 months. 6 months!!! Is there another effective method? Will the Perfomathrin help dissolve the stone? Thank YOU!!Jennifer WMember
Marjorie, I TOTALLY understand how you feel! I kept trying and trying different foods, holistic and all. But the crystals kept returning. We’ve been dealing with this for well over a year! I don’t know what else to do. If you find someone else that works please share! My dog is on Royal Canin s/d. I’ve been getting it at Chewy.com since the price is much more reasonable there.Laura HMember
Struvite stones are caused by infection and changing diets won’t eliminate infection. My vet claimed my dog needed to be on a special food for life as well. She was always starving and lost weight. I have done a lot of research since and experts say if your vet claims your dog needs a special food for struvite crystals, you need a new vet! This is from vet nutritionists. Your dog needs PLENTY of Water……water down the food heavily and make sure he/she drinks a lot. Beware of infections! That’s the real culprit.
- This reply was modified 12 months ago by Laura H. Reason: needed to clarify
The Hills S/O and S/D do work. My pug was completely full of struvite crystals. After one $4,000 surgery they returned 6 months later. Instead of surgery, they put her on the s/o for 6 months and they were all dissolved. It was a much better option then surgery again. However, she had an infection both times that needed to be treated as well. Struvite stones only form in the presence of infection. Now I make sure she drinks a lot of water and i water down her food. Any sign of problems or infections then I will be back to the vet.
Hi, I walk my disabled neighbour’s young male cockapoo and noticed he had a problem trying to urinate and by the end of the walk he appeared to be very uncomfortable. Short of it is the vet diagnosed struvite crystals by testing his urine. He did pass a catheter in but believe that was to ensure there was no blockage there. Gave him a week’s course of antibiotics and metacam and the dog has to go back in 9 days to see if they have dissolved. The owner has been told she he can have no other food other than prescription for life at the moment he is on Hill’s S/d which is very expensive. When he eventually goes onto Hill’s C/d if they have dissolved it will cost her £1300.00 pa without the boosters, grooming, de worming and flea care. She just hasn’t got this money and we are helping where we can but we are unable to keep paying.
I have read all the comments on the forum as regards the special dietary food and it will be a huge decision to eventually take him off it. The vet says these crystals can be life threatening in he gets a blockage.
My question is did you find out yours had struvite crystals in the same way I did, by the dog having difficulty passing urine?
We are very confused as to know what to do once we have confirmation of that the crystals have dissolved.
I sent a note here in 2017. My Bischon was a rescue and only adopted her at @ 3 yrs of age, so I didn’t know what she ate or drank prior to. The evening I started to foster her (before adopting) she was urinating blood and very often. I called the rescue and she had surgery the following day. Her struvite was as large as a small egg! She had surgery to remove it and I was very careful with the recommended food and a lot of water. I put water in her food 2x day and also would add a little chicken broth or beef broth occasionally to get her to drink more water. The food suggested is the same as your vet advised and I kept her on that for at least a year and then started to stray away because of the cost. After 2 years I had an xray taken and she had no stones. I am going to go back on the recommended foods just to be sure. I believe the water is very important/ Cherie
Thank you for replying Cherie. We’ve only had a urine
Test in which they showed me the crystals. May be because of the fact the owner has little money they didn’t suggest any X ray but there was no blood in the urine just difficulty passing it. Eventually taking Oliver off the prescription food is a huge decision. I was reading struvite is only a problem if there is an infection too. I was thinking of looking to see if I can buy the urine testing strips. It’s a dilemma as no one wants to compromise a dog’s health. Thanks again.
Hi Marion, actually the symptom of your pup may very well be secondary to a urinary tract infection. It can cause urinary retention due to dysuria (pain upon urination). That may have caused your pup to be uncomfortable. It is common for urine tests to show some crystals but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your pup has struvite stones in the bladder or any other stone. Antibiotics will solve dysuria. However I suggest you take an xray rather than urine testing strips to confirm presence of bladder stones outright.
Thank you for taking the time to reply. I took the dog back for his final check up and the vet advised there were no crystals in the urine. Unfortunately the dog owner has little money and wouldn’t be able to afford an X ray at this stage. He looks healthy enough but as I walk him daily I will be keep a close eye on him and ensure he gets the best care should it be necessary.
@Marion, glad to hear that. That dog is lucky to have finally found an owner like you. Good luck!
Unfortunately not the owner, just the one who walks the dog every day, grooms it, cleans its teeth, takes it he to stimulate it as he is high energy oh and picks up all the poo in its garden as its owner leaves it always saying it’s to painful to pick up. If it’s not picked up the dog runs in it and it smells. I just don’t get the cuddles when I wake up or all the other times 😕
Awww that’s so sweet of you to stretch your responsibility. I’d love to get you to walk my dogs in the future if you are near my area. I commend you for that!
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