I wrote before about an issue with my shepherd mix having with frequent UTIs, and I just brought her back to the vet after seeing yet more blood in her urine. They did an x-ray and found that she has four large stones in her bladder, and the vet said she had to have a prescription food (Hills, of course, which I’ve always blasted against) to dissolve them. If it will help her get better and not be in pain anymore, I suppose I’d be willing to feed it for a VERY short time. However, the vet also mentioned that she’d “have to be on a prescription diet for the rest of her life,” which I can only take to mean that they’re hoping to continue selling this crap to us for the foreseeable future.
My question is this: is there a resource where I can get a second opinion on this sort of thing (all vets in my area carry Hills, and I have a suspicion they’d all give us the same answer)? I read the ingredients/feeding instructions, and from what I can see, this food is going to starve her of everything she needs to thrive. The first four ingredients are water, corn starch, egg product, and chicken fat, for goodness sake! It also has an AAFCO statement that it’s only intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding. So what now??
So, they must be struvite crystals then. The Hill’s s/d diet does dissolve crystals and I wouldn’t mess around with them. I feel that you should follow the vet’s advice. The s/d is to be fed only until the crystals are gone. It is not a long term food. The Hill’s c/d can be fed long term. I would assume that your vet would recommend to use that after the stones are gone. Definitely try to use as much of the canned s/d as you can afford and that she will eat rather than the dry. Also continue to make sure she gets as much water and potty breaks as possible. There are other brands of urinary vet food that you may want to look in to such as, Purina, Iams, Wysong and Royal Canin that may look better to you. But, for now, I would feed the s/d until dissolved.
After the stones are gone, maybe with the help of a holistic vet or a canine nutrition expert, you can transition to a non vet food. Another thing that is helpful in keeping pH levels more consistent is to feed smaller frequent meals and very little kibble. Good luck to you!
Carrie- From what I have read about struvite crystals in dogs and cats they can be managed WITHOUT a rX diet. You can however for a short time feed the s/d and then just like C4C said, PLEASE talk to a holistic vet (they often do free phone conslutations) about a better diet for your dog.
I do not think that rX diets are worth the money and I think (and others do too) that they are another marketing tool to force you to spend your money with them for the rest of your life. I was told when my cat had a UTI that he had to stay on Royal Canin Urinary SO for the rest of his life. I wish I had known what I know now about just keeping him on a species appropriate canned diet.
You can find information of dissolution of struvite stones here http://www.wvc.org/images/session_notes_2013/2013_SA323.pdf
In my opinion, an infection and/or a few crystals in the urine are an entirely different situation than four large stones.
I guess until you have actually experienced a pet suffering from a blockage caused by struvite crystals and/or stones, you can’t understand the true life-threatening emergency it is. It will be landing your pet in an ER hospital for two or three days with a 50% chance of surviving. And a HUGE vet bill!
I wish I had followed a vet’s advice more closely!
- This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by crazy4cats.
Thank you to everyone, again, for your advice! After thinking about how much pain she must be in and the size of the stones, I ended up calling another vet a couple hours’ drive from here for a second opinion. I explained the situation with the size of the stones and the vet’s recommendations (rx foods for life, dissolve with rx food, etc), and the new place was surprised at that. They thought she should come in for surgery instead, and they echoed my fears that trying to dissolve stones that big could cause a blockage if/when they tried to pass. I preferred the surgery route because it could take two months for them to dissolve, which is two more months of my girl being in pain. No thanks. My other thought was monetary – it would cost around $400 for the rx food for the time it would supposedly take to dissolve the stones, and there wasn’t a guarantee that they still wouldn’t have to do surgery. I’d rather just get it taken care of quickly and pay for the surgery.
In the meantime, at the recommendation of the new vet, we’re adding yogurt to one meal a day and feeding the Hills rx as a topper/supplement to the Orijen kibble for the other two meals a day until the surgery next week. And of course keeping her water topped up as we always do, and letting her out every half hour or so. Apparently they send the stones away to a lab for analysis to determine if she does in fact need to be on a special diet the rest of her life, or if the stones were just caused by an infection.
It was really interesting to hear another vet’s interpretation of the situation, and I felt like they were more open to a discussion about our options. And it was nice to hear that I wasn’t the only surprised by my current vet’s blanket “rest of her life” statements without knowing exactly what we were dealing with.
I’m not sure if you read my comment on your other thread, but I sort of hit on that very subject. Lol! I was assuming they were struvite crystals due to vet suggesting the s/d food, but then started to wonder if you really knew if they were or not. If they are oxalate, the food will not dissolve and maybe even cause harm. I’m glad you are getting them removed. After experiencing a blockage, I wouldn’t want any other pet to go through it! Good luck!
Carrie- I’m so happy to hear you found another vet who was willing to work with you and offer you better suggestions! Thats fantastic and very rare. I didn’t want to step on C4C’s toes as I respect her and appreciate the hardship of something so serious as stones, however my concerns with rX foods remains. If you read up about them on Dr. Lisa Piersons website catinfo.org (cat info site yes but her explanation of rX diets can be applied to canines as well) she explains that there is no independent agency that governs rX diets and in fact the FDA is quoted as saying “Prescription Diet is an industry coined term, and has no legal meaning”. The FDA does not regulate them neither does any other organization and there have been no studies to even prove that they treat the disorder they claim to treat. Hill’s (Science Diet) actually were the ones to coin the term back in 1990. All in all you are paying a premium price for corn, rice and by-products and she also goes on to say that there is literally nothing in the food that requires a prescription though you need to have one.
I think the options the other vet are far better than being on a prescription diet for the rest of your dogs life. I really wish you the best of luck and I hope everything works out! Keep us updated on your baby
I’m glad you respect me, pitlove, but you left out a very important part of Dr. Pierson’s recommendations. She states that she would consider using Hill’s s/d for a short period until there is evidence of stone dissolution because it is the most acidifying food on the market. She also states that it could be a few days or 2-3 months. But does note that it should not be fed long term. She does say that the c/d could be fed long term, but does not recommend due to cost and unhealthy ingredients. I never recommended staying on it for life. I simply was very concerned about getting rid of those stones.
I couldn’t be any happier that it sounds like that is exactly what is going to happen. But, then, obviously there needs to be some changes made to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I have been reading SEVERAL vet’s points of view for the last 7 months to make the necessary changes to avoid this from happening again. Recurrences are very common. A holistic vet, Jane Bicks, personally recommended to me by email to stay on an Rx diet for six months and slowly transition off of it. And she actually has formulated and sells OTC cat food that I was inquiring about. She actually suggested staying on Rx for a bit over selling me her food, Instinctive Choice. My cat was already on a mostly canned diet when this occurred. There are a lot of other factors that contribute to stones as well.
I just think that we need to be careful when making recommendations on health conditions that are potentially life threatening.
edit: just gonna end it here.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by Pitlove.
Is the second vet doing the surgery?
Yep, the second vet is the one doing the procedure. I suppose I could have just gone back to my regular vet for it…
I have a Bulldog who has had problems with struvite crystals. She had to have stones removed when she was 4 months old. She was also put on the Hills for life. I just hated the ingredients and thought she was not getting the proper nutrition. It was recommended by folks on here or another forum( I read so many) to try Solid Gold Berry Balance, it is a supplement you can add to a better ingredient food. Depending on weight of your dog you add twice a day for the first month then once a day 3 times a week. AND IT HAS WORKED. I check her urine on a regular basis and her ph has been good, no problems. I just ordered my second shipment, the first one lasted over 2 months.
So glad that you’ve gotten some good news regarding your pup! Like you, I detest S/D. My mother’s Yorkie died a few years ago and we suspect it was b/c of a dog food that may have been recalled too late. That said, I have a Boston that has only been on Wellness dog food since we’ve had him. He was on Core, but then we noticed he started getting some kidney issues. We changed to Wellness Simple and he’s been great since then. The vet suggested we change to a lower protein food to help. So far, so good. We got a second Boston in October and a few months ago (Feb-ish) she started exhibiting some allergy symptoms. It took a while, but we think it was the puppy Core. She too has been switched to the Simple recipe and so far, so good.
I hope you’re able to find a non-Rx dog food for your pup, or at least one that’s more viable for your budget. Good luck with the surgery!
I completely forgot to come back with an update on this – it’s been a rough year. The vet that did her surgery confirmed that they were, in fact, struvite crystals. The surgery was a success in that it cleared out her poor lil bladder, and it also helped clear up her lingering UTI. We’ve taken a few steps to try to keep this from happening again by switching to Orijen (for a little while – we’re in the process of switching to something with a little lower protein right now), adding warm water to one of her meals each day, and topping another meal with plain yogurt (they get fed 3 times a day). I recently brought a urine sample in for testing because I was afraid she had another UTI, but it came back clear. It’s a relief to know she’s healthy and not in pain anymore!
Thanks again to everyone for their suggestions and support!
I’m so happy to hear the GREAT news!!!
It would be best for your dog to be on a wet food: canned, raw or dehydrated. I feed ground raw but I add water to the bowl as well.
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