UTIs and bladder stones – OH MY!

Dog Food Advisor Forums Canine Nutrition UTIs and bladder stones – OH MY!

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  • #74190 Report Abuse
    Jeaneene S
    Member

    I really wanted to put this in the “Struvite Crystals” thread – but for some reason that particular page always shows me as *not* logged in, even when I log in from within that thread.

    Anyway, I could use some help. I have a 10 1/2 year old male Siberian Husky who has – his entire life – been on Beneful dry dog food and never had any health problems AT ALL. At one point I tried to change to the Blue Wilderness (thinking it might be better for them), but he and my 10 1/2 year old female Husky had the worst diarrhea I’ve ever seen, so it was back to the Beneful kibble. (I’ve always heard dry kibble is best for dental health, which is why that’s all I’ve ever used)

    Now, this past February my big boy had what appeared to be an awful UTI. So the next day, I got a good urine catch (looked super cloudy, but just yellow) and took it and him to the vet. Vet found no crystals but lots of blood (at the microscopic level) in his urine, and did an xray, but didn’t find anything wrong. She put him on antibiotics and it was gone.

    On May 1 we moved to a new house, and got a new vet – had all the dogs’ files brought to the new vet (I brought them myself so I knew they wouldn’t get lost). Then, on Memorial Day, I noticed he looked like he was having a hard time urinating again and to my horror it looked as if he was even peeing blood. Immediately called the new vet and explained what it *appeared* to be; she said that even though they were closed, she would call in an rx for Amoxicillin for him. No more than a few days of being off the antibiotics, and we started having problems AGAIN (thankfully not peeing blood this time). So, hubby took him to the Vet this past Monday and with a different kind of xray, she found 1 stone the size of a quarter, 3 stones the size of a nickel, and about 15 smaller ones. Needless to say my big boy went in for surgery yesterday morning (I am picking him up today).

    Now the vet is telling me that I have to put him on the Royal Canin SO food (which she has already said he’s been turning his nose up at the vet’s), and the only treats he can have is if I take the Royal Canin SO canned food, cut it up in to squares and bake them into “treats”. We’re talking about a dog who is used to his mommy throwing a steak on the grill to mix in with his food (well, him and the other 3 girl dogs in the house) … getting bell peppers, apples and other fruits/veggies as treats, having watered-down applesauce popsicles, etc. Now she’s saying he can never have any of this ever again AND I have to give him this food that appears to me to be very poor quality and that he doesn’t like?! I’m having a very hard time accepting this.

    I asked the vet at the Petsmart (where I am having to get the food) for a second opinion – and oddly enough – he seconded that opinion. How do I tell his regular vet that I don’t approve of this dog food, and that I’d LIKE to try a more vitamin-based/holistic approach as well as make his food for him which I feel would be better quality – not to mention cheaper – and where I can add the necessary added vitamins and minerals and would still prevent any further bladder stone issues.

    Should trust both his new vet and the Banfield vet at Petsmart (his previous vet – when I called her last week also said he may have to go on a special diet for the remainder of his life too, so that makes three)? I’m willing to make his food, give him the supplements, test his urine … ANYTHING! Or am I just being unreasonable? And would it be “wrong” to go against the vet and do what I *think* is right?

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by Jeaneene S.
    #74195 Report Abuse
    Anonymous
    Member

    Been there and back. I just took my 15 year old guy in for a geriatric checkup, his labwork is better than mine. He does have some age related issues.

    He has no symptoms of UTIs or stones, I watch him urinate, normal flow, amount, no difficulty. So the vet said no need for x-rays or testing this and that, UNLESS HE HAS SYMPTOMS.

    He had bladder stones, struvite and oxalate, emergency surgery in 2011. I put him on that food you mentioned, it was okay….but then I always added a little cooked chicken to it.
    The vets wanted to x-ray him every 3 months, I went along with it a couple of times, when they saw a couple of small stones had returned and offered no treatment? I didn’t follow up.

    He prefers Wysong senior or Nutrisca salmon and chickpea, wet food is probably better. However, I use kibble and soak it overnight in water, plus add water and a bite of cooked chicken, 4 small meals per day, offer frequent bathroom breaks. Water, and frequent bathroom breaks are very important, keep the bladder flushed.

    If you click on my user name you will find posts/threads related to bladder stones, or use the search engine.
    I am reluctant to discuss supplements anymore, because it depends on the type of stones your dog has as to what might be helpful. Therefore it is best to ask your vet for recommendations.

    PS: Next time it says you are not logged in , try the refresh button.

    #74196 Report Abuse
    Jeaneene S
    Member

    I am unable to do 4 small meals a day for any of the dogs … we both work more than 45 miles from home and have to cross the Bay Bridge here in Maryland (commutes can be bad). All my dogs are crate trained and don’t have accidents as a general rule of thumb (unless they don’t finish doing their business before we have to leave for work or if we’re stuck at work or in traffic longer than expected).

    We do make sure they have plenty of drinking water – and its even twice filtered since it’s well water and all 4 dogs are used to city water AND they use the drinkwell pet fountain – and they drink and are let out more times than I can even count.

    The vet said they did send the bladder stones out for analysis, and I certainly intend on discussing the results with them, especially knowing that there are different kinds and each kind is caused by different issues.

    (and yup – refreshed the screen about 10 times and finally gave up! *lol*)

    #74197 Report Abuse
    Anonymous
    Member

    Anyway you can arrange for someone to let them out to urinate every 4 hours? It might be helpful, urine that stays in the bladder longer provides a stagnant condition that is conducive to stone formation.

    Sure, they can hold it, I’m just saying that isn’t the best thing for this condition.
    I know it’s hard, I had to leave my dogs when I went to work, I assumed they were drinking adequate water, but it turns out that wasn’t the case for the one that developed stones.

    #74198 Report Abuse
    Jeaneene S
    Member

    Problem is letting them out … we really don’t know our new neighbors and on top of it, one of the pitties we have will fight with our female husky if not VERY closely supervised (hubby and I have learned what the warning signs are for an imminent fight and can stop it, but to try to explain to someone else what to *possibly* interpret as *possibly* becoming an issue …. well, not so much). Maybe once we get to know the neighbors, and then maybe hubby will be comfortable letting them in the house, but we’ll have to wait and see on that account.

    #74199 Report Abuse
    Anonymous
    Member

    I understand, well, give them as much time in the morning to urinate as you can, most of the time they sleep when we leave anyway. Have fresh water available, see what the vet says…

    #74200 Report Abuse
    InkedMarie
    Member

    Regarding your first post, I want to address the Beneful then getting sick…that happens when a dog has been on a low quality food, like Beneful, for years. It probably happens with better quality food too; any food really when a dog eats it so long and gets changed to a better food, tummy upset happens.

    I suggest you ask local dog owners/vets/groomers/trainers for recommendations for someone to come in to let your dogs out when you are at work. Your dog needs alot of moisture; canned, raw or dehydrated are much better than dry. If you must feed dry, add canned & water to it. He needs ample opportunity to urinate.

    Good luck!

    #74202 Report Abuse
    crazy4cats
    Member

    Jeanenne-
    Sorry to hear about your situation. I have only experienced crystals with one of my cats and it was a frightening experience. He had a blockage and spent three days at an emergency clinic. Luckily he survived. I did feed him the Rx food afterwards and slowly weaned him off over an eight month period. I was so worried it would happen again.

    Sounds like the vet is recommending the Royal Canin SO partly due to the fact that they are not sure if they are struvite, oxalate, or another type of stones yet. Royal Canin helps prevent both as it is lower in magnesium and has ingredients that promote urination. If they are struvite crystals, most often Hill’s c/d or s/d is recommended due to it’s ability to dissolve the crystals by making the pH more acidic. Oxalate type cannot be dissolved. They need to either be flushed out or surgically removed. Either way, more moisture and opportunities to urinate are very important to keep the crystals flushed out of the urinary tract.

    Honestly, reading that you regularly feed Beneful, I think that the Royal Canin is a step up anyway. In my opinion, you can still give your dog the fruit and vegetable treats as long as you keep them to 20% or less of his diet. I have read a ton about crystals, but admittedly mostly the feline variety. But, one of the biggest factors that they are learning is that they are often brought on by stress or anxiety for cats. I would venture to guess that there could be some correlation in dogs as well. You mentioned that you just moved and that could have brought on some stress. Our pets don’t like too many changes in their routines. My cat had his emergency right after we got back from vacation. I don’t think my son was very good at keeping him on his routine and he had some separation anxiety.

    After the stones are analyzed and you know what you are dealing with, maybe you could talk to your vet about being referred to a vet nutritionist. There is also a website called Balance IT, that helps people with pets that have health conditions formulate a specialized diet. Your vet might not know that you are willing to take on that task.

    In the mean time, I would try to get your dog to eat the Royal Canin. Preferably the canned if you can. Increase the water intake and potty breaks. And, if possible, maybe you could increase to feeding three times per day. That is another change that I made that seems to be helping. Three smaller meals rather than two. That helps to keep their pH levels more consistent.

    I wish you well!

    #74205 Report Abuse
    weezerweeks
    Member

    Maybe he needs to use the potty more often. I can’t imagine being in a crate all day.

    #74214 Report Abuse
    Pitlove
    Member

    Hi Jeaneene-

    Everyone here has offered good advice and given good suggestions. I wanted to touch on a couple points that people brought up and elaborate on them. Firstly the Beneful…unfortuntely Beneful is well known as a very poor quality food filled with artifical dyes, corn, by-products as the only source of animal protein and propylene glycol which is the second cousin to the main ingredient in anti-freeze. Your transition to Blue Buffalo was met with diaherra because like others said, when dogs each the same food for several years they no longer produce the healthy flora (bacteria) in their gut to be able to handle a dietary change. This is why many dogs switching foods need to be transitioned for much longer than the normal 7 day period. Now, I don’t consider Blue to be that great of an all natural food, but it is a much better food than Beneful and that will also contribute to diaherra. A lot of times dogs bodies will detox poor quality foods when fed a better one.

    My dog used to have a “sensitive stomach” as most people call it and once I started to give him a digestive supplement during food transitions and kefir/yogurt as a probiotic his whole life changed. I change his food constantly now with no digestive upset what so ever. Lately hes even had one food for breakfast and something different for dinner.

    Second point I’d like to make is that the theory about dry food cleaning a dogs teeth is a myth and was debunked a long time ago. Dogs teeth are carnivorus and are meant to tear and rip flesh, they dont have the grinding motion humans do and therefore often don’t chew their food enough for the dry to benefit the teeth. I feed both wet and dry and brush my dogs teeth regularly and his teeth are in good condition.

    Lastly, concerning the UTI. I have only experienced it with a cat and yes he was put on the feline Urinary SO dry, which I now find a strange recommendation as the top reason for crystals is eating all dry food. Adding wet to the diet even if it is the RC canned food would keep his system flushed as someone suggested as well. If you are planning to continue feeding the dry I would highly suggest adding a canned food as well and also when the vet tells you he needs to be on an rX diet for life, that is wrong info and a way to get your money. You can certainly in time transition him back onto a normal HEALTHY diet. I would suggest something other than Beneful and transitioning very very slow.

    I wish you a lot of luck dealing the the UTI though, I know how awful it can be to see your baby in pain like that.

    #74286 Report Abuse
    crazy4cats
    Member

    This dog had 18 to 20 stones, one the size of a quarter, that all had to be surgically removed. It was not just an infection. This was a potential life threatening situation if it were to totally block his urinary tract. For some reason something is out of balance in this dog’s system causing these crystals and/or stones to form. In my opinion, it is absolutely correct for the vet to recommend the Rx food. You have already had three of them agree on it! I don’t believe they are just trying to “fatten” their wallets. This type of prescription food has been tested and proven to prevent and even dissolve the stones depending on what type they are. I’m pretty sure that just about every traditional vet is going to give you the same opinion.

    It is definitely best to feed the canned food over the kibble in order to try and flush out the crystals as well as get his system back in balance. The average pet owner is most likely not willing to put out the extra work to find a more species appropriate way of handling this dog’s diet. Since you do seem to be willing, try and find a holistic vet or one that specializes in pet nutrition to find a way to feed your dog appropriately without having to feed him Rx food for life. Also, if stress is possibly a factor, talk to your vet about ways to alleviate that as well. I have my cat on an anti-anxiety pill. If the stones are due to frequent infections, you will most likely have to find some way for that dog to have more opportunities to pee to help alleviate those as well. Good luck!

    #74287 Report Abuse
    Anonymous
    Member

    Remember, there is often a genetic factor involved with these conditions.
    Best to go along with whatever the vet recommends, diet and otherwise.

    When the dog has been stable for a year, I would talk to your vet about what changes you could make, if any.

    Again, the things I have found to be the most effective regarding avoiding recurrence of bladder stones (all types) is:

    Increased water in the diet, and frequent bathroom breaks to keep the bladder flushed.

    #74288 Report Abuse
    Bobby dog
    Member

    I agree, this is a potential life threatening situation and WORKING with a Vet is important for diet and any other recommendations. If you are not comfortable with the recommendations of your current Vet, look for one you are comfortable with. As c4c has mentioned, you already have three Vets concur with Rx food. As written by other posters, increased moisture in the diet and frequent opportunities for bathroom breaks are very important with these conditions and overall health in general.

    Here is a good site to learn more about your dog’s condition:
    http://www.cvm.umn.edu/depts/minnesotaurolithcenter/recommendations/home.html

    #74359 Report Abuse
    Anonymous
    Member

    Below is an excerpt from: http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2011/10/dry-pet-food-and-dental-disease-in-dogs-and-cats/
    Click on link for complete article and comments.

    “One of the most common actions recommended, by veterinarians and others, to minimize the development of oral disease is feeding dry commercial pet diets. It is often argued that chewing on kibble cleans the teeth and slows the development of periodontal disease. However, there is some reason to doubt this claim. Most dry diets made for dogs and cats do not require chewing, and the kibble is often swallowed whole. And typical kibble is very easily broken apart, so it does not seem likely that it is very effective in cleaning teeth, especially under the gum line, where plaque and calculus cause the most inflammation and disease. And at least one study looking at the effect of diet and chewing materials on oral health did not find that feeding a dry diet only was associated with any less periodontal disease than other feeding methods”.

    #74385 Report Abuse
    Pitlove
    Member

    Infections are JUST as lifethreatening as stones…my vet was extremely adament about my cat being brought to the emergency room when I called and said he was not urinating normally. I was told to drop everything I was doing and rush him to the vet. Just because he didnt have to go into emergency surgery because we caught it before it developed into stones does not lessen the problem or mean that a UTI is not life threatening. My best friend also experienced a UTI with her male cat who was urinating blood and he now eats Friskies wet food and has not had another issue since.

    I did not advise against the use of the RX diet, I simply stated that while vets will tell you that you can NEVER change the food, it IS possible for a change back to a normal diet once the issue is resolved and the root cause of the stones is determined.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by Pitlove.
    #75029 Report Abuse
    jcholl9
    Member

    Thanks for the good reading guys.. My Mom’s dog Sammy is having issues with bladder stones again and we’ve been trying to clear it up. She’s going into the vet this coming Tuesday for a checkup and an exray again.

    I’m going to try and find something better for her. Thanks for the advice here.

    Sammy is 10 years old an active and loving schnauzer. Going in search of a health dog food now. But all be speaking with the vet as well.

    #75031 Report Abuse
    jcholl9
    Member

    Oh, Jeaneene do what’s best for your big boy! Just don’t go with the second best thing. I’m thinking homemade dog food for Sammy…

    All the best too you and your boy…

    #121263 Report Abuse
    Carly F
    Member

    I sure do hope everything was resolved with all the animals in this forum who had issues. I have worked for a Vet for 4 years and there are definitely some foods that are better than others. Just like in people, all pets are different and tolerate things differently. A diet change is usually the first thing a Vet recommends when a pet starts having urination issues. Yes a higher quality food can help, but yes, sometimes a prescription food is the only thing that helps. If there is a homeopathic remedy that helps, then you should definitely try it- I just wouldn’t do anything “willy-nilly” that google could come up with. Royal Canin, Blue Buffalo, Purina, and Hills Science Diet all have really good prescription a non- prescription foods. Male cats have a high tendency to get blocked (can be fatal) so they definitely need to be seen as soon as they are having urine issues. There are so many things that can cause stones so it definitely is best to have them sent off for analysis. We have a patient who had stones previously due to diet, had the surgery at a different office, then came to us for stones again. When the patient was opened up, there was a polyp in the bladder from the previous surgery- and that was causing the current stones.
    We also have a different patient who is on the Hills Science SD specifically to help her break up some of her stones so she can pass them. After two weeks she has successfully broken up and passed several of the stones.
    Diet can make a HUGE difference, in people and animals, so it’s definitely something to think about. There is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion on something though, we would if it was ourselves so we should do the same for our pets.

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