My miniature schnauzer, 1 of 5, recently had emergency surgery for oxalate type kidney stones. The vet says he has to have special food for the rest of his life but my research tells me the food recommended may not actually be a good choice. What do you recommend.
So sorry to hear that your dog recently needed surgery for stones. Were the stones really in the kidneys or were they in the bladder?
From what I’ve read preventing recurrence is difficult. The vet diets have some backing behind them regarding establishing parameters to prevent formation where as a lot of this type of information isn’t available for foods you’d purchase on your own.
If faced with this situation I’d be devoting a lot of my time on monitoring what is coming out of my dog in addition to what is going in. It seems all are in agreement that “dilution is the solution to pollution” in other words water water and more water. I’d want my dog consuming a lot of water which means moist food or if feeding dry I’d be adding a lot of water to it. But again what is most important is what is coming out. To that end I’d buy myself a refractometer so I could catch urine and monitor the concentration at home. I’d also invest in a pH meter to monitor that aspect as well. Having your vet spin down a fresh ie still “warm from the dog” sample and then looking for crystals is another piece of information.
Frequent rechecks and x ray screening can identify reformation when the stones are still small and then may be able to be recovered without surgery.
If you don’t want to use the vet food there are home cooking options through balance it dot com and you could ask your vet what to look for in a store bought food. I’d think you’d want to avoid high oxalate ingredients, and use a food whose calcium level is close to AAFCO minimum( 0.6% DM) That can be a bit tricky as companies may not monitor this closely hence the vet diets. Vit D levels should be controlled as well. Vit C is metabolized to oxalate so avoid that. Protein amount is tricky it may depend on the amino acid profile as I think certain amino acids are metabolized to oxalate. You will likely need to call the company of any food you are considering and ask what is the average urine pH the diet produces and get a nutrient profile. Larger companies are more likely to have the information and type of quality control you’d need over small companies.
Best of Luck
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