My cocker spaniel puppy is three months old. She has struvite crystals & protein in her urine, but no infection. She had two rounds of antibiotics, and when that didn’t help the vet was afraid she had e-coli or some kind of infection that wouldn’t show up in a “dirty catch”. The next thing she did to my puppy was a clean urine test & that came back negative for infection. They had to sedate her for the procedure, and now she seems scared and fearful. The vet wants to do a $600 ultrasound, but I would have to take her to a specialist in another state for that procedure. I’ll do it if I have to, but I hate to put her through going to yet another vet for another procedure that may not even help. I asked my vet to prescribe a food for uti health, but she said she was not old enough for the Hill’s UT health prescription.
Right now she is eating Purina Puppy Chow with some wet Purina Alpo Chop House wet mixed in with it, and that’s why I joined this site. I’m so afraid I’m feeding her the wrong thing, and making things worse. I’m also using Solid Gold Berry Balance mixed with her food, and she seems to like it okay. The vet did give her a prescription for Cosequin, and I mix that in with her food too. I might add my puppy seems to feel fine & she’s playful and happy until I try to put her in the car to go to the vet.
I’ve read and read on this site, but I have not been able to find anybody else with this same problem with a puppy this young. I’m also very confused about high protein vs. low protein. Can anybody give me any advice ? Thank you. 🙂
The best food you can feed her is NOT dry: raw, canned, dehydrated….If you must feed dry, please go to the review side & look for a 3 star food. Once she does well on that, you can upgrade to a 4 or 5 star if you wish. Her current diet is a very low quality food. Be prepared for diarrhea when you transition. Transition over a week or so. If you have to feed dry, add some high quality canned and water to her food. It is very important that she get water.
It is also very important that she has ample opportunity to urinate.
I’m sorry you are so worried about your pup. What led you to have a urinalysis done? Is/was your pup having any symptoms? Typically a dog with crystals also has an infection, but it seems not to be the case for your pup. The Rx food for this condition is typically low in magnesium, phosphorous and calcium. Maybe your vet thinks that wouldn’t be healthy for a growing pup. It also manipulates the urine pH to be more acidic to help dissolve the crystals. The berry blend you are giving is thought to help prevent infections and possibly lower the pH a bit. Also, I believe Vitamin C is anti inflammatory. Low protein foods are also often used to help with the dissolution of crystals while treating the infection. But, not necessary to continue after the issue is resolved.
As Inked Marie stated, it is very important to get as much moisture/water in the diet as well to dilute the urine as much as possible. Also plenty of bathroom breaks are extremely important. I’d also try to switch to a 3 star food if possible and feed mostly canned as it has more moisture.
I have a cat with this problem and he has regular urinalysis done. It is a necessary procedure, in my opinion. His condition was believed to be brought on by stress. He was a high strung shelter kitty. This is thought to be a common cause for Struvite crystals in cats, not sure if it is a factor in dogs. I had him on Rx food for six months and have weaned him off now while feeding mostly canned food. He is also on an anti-anxiety drug, plus some hocus pocus stuff, like a calming collar and a pheromone wall diffuser. So far so good, so I’m not changing anything!
Maybe you could get a second opinion from a different vet that would help with your anxiety?
Good luck and write back if you need suggestions for a new food.
Another thing I forgot to mention is that you might want to ask your vet about a good probiotic to give your pup. They are often recommended for urinary tract infections and especially after taking antibiotics to help normalize your pup’s tummy flora.
Thank you both for your very kind replies. I had a feeling that Purina was NOT the best for my puppy, & that’s why I joined here ~ to educate myself & to find better food. I would appreciate any suggestions for food, and I don’t mind paying more. I’d do anything for her health. My vet said Purina was fine.
crazy4 cats ~ The reason the vet even gave her antibiotics in the first place was she suspected an infection because I said she pees a lot without much urine coming out, and she was licking herself a lot. When I took Cookie, my puppy, back again after the first round of antibiotics she did give her a urine test and it had some protein and crystals showing up so she gave Cookie another round of the same antibiotic. A week later her second test came back even worse with even more protein and crystals. She said I had to wait a week to get the antibiotic out of her system before the “clean urine test”. She suspected a resistant infection like e-coli or something. When my vet did the clean urine test no infection showed up at all, but she still had crystals. My puppy has not been the same since that test. She was so scared they had to sedate her to do the test. Now she’s jumpy and gets scared way more easily than she did before, but that may just be typical puppy behavior. My vet was stumped and put her on Cosequin, and just from stuff I read on the Internet I also added the Solid Gold Berry Balance. I was hoping it would help.
I am going back to my vet in two weeks for yet another urinalysis. If this one is still bad I am taking her for a second opinion before I take her out of state to see that specialist. I found a vet in Gulfport that has an ultrasound machine, and I have already told them I may be coming. His machine may not be as great as the specialist in Louisiana, but at least he could give me his opinion of what I should do. I think my vet suspects a structural defect, but she admits she doesn’t know. She just keeps recommending more and more tests. The specialist told my vet his test may not show anything, but then again it might. I’m hesitant to put my puppy through too many more tests. She’s just a little puppy, & I am really hoping with good food & The Berry Balance she may get better.
Yes, I am very open to suggestions on food. I’ve been trying to get Cookie to drink more water by adding ice cubs & taking her to the water bowl several times a day. I don’t mind feeding her wet food either, even though my vet told me dry food is better. Heck, my vet hasn’t helped me or Cookie yet unless scaring us both to death counts.
While Purina puppy chow may not be the best food, it’s hard to say that it may be contributing to your dog’s condition. It is one of Purina’s cheapest foods. They have other lines that are rated higher such as Pro Plan and Beyond. I don’t know if there is a puppy recipe in either of those lines though. I have not fed either of them.
I am more concerned about your dog’s symptoms though. Is she still displaying them? It is very important in my opinion, that you figure out WHY she has the crystals and protein in her urine. If she is having a hard time urinating, she could end up with a blockage. I think you should have the recommended tests. If and when she has another urinalysis, please mention that you have been giving the berry supplement. It could skew your pup’s pH and it would be beneficial for the vet to have this information.
I do, however, disagree with your vet that dry food is better at this time. Keep adding water to it. Even soaking it in fridge might be helpful. I didn’t want to scare you earlier, but now that I hear your pup’s symptoms, I’m even more concerned. My cat had the exact same symptoms, so I started adding cosequin to his food, bought a water fountain and fed more canned food. He still ended up with a blockage and spent four days in an emergency vet hospital who gave him a 50% chance of survival. He had damage to his bladder from being so stretched out. I wish I would have had the ultra sound! The visit cost thousands of dollars, but, he’s still here! Maybe you can avoid that if you are able to find the cause of her crystals by having more tests. I don’t have any idea about the protein in her urine though. Maybe someone else can pop in with some information on that.
I have some links that may be helpful when I have time to get to my desk top computer today. I hope the best for you and your pup!
- This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by crazy4cats.
How is your pup doing? Here are a couple of helpful links:
Hope everything is going well.
Thanks you for the information, and your much needed advice. I’m so sorry to here about your poor baby & her troubles. We are going to the vet next week, but for now, my puppy does seem to feel a little better. Her urine output is more, and I am getting her to drink more water. I did tell my vet about the Berry Balance so she does know, and I will remind her again when I see her next week. When I get the results I will be sure to post them, & we will do whatever is necessary for our puppy.
Good news, Suzanne. I hope she continues to improve. There are several quality brands posted on the Editor’s Choice budget friendly food list that you could consider switching to. I’ve fed Whole Earth Farms, Eagle Pack, Victor and Earthborn kibble to my pets.
I regularly feed Nature’s Domain (Costco), Pure Balance (Walmart), 4Health (Tractor Supply and Del’s) and Chicken Soup canned foods to them as well.
Adding canned to her diet would be a good idea. My cat with urinary tract problems mostly gets canned food. I know it’s more expensive and I would never be able to afford that for my dogs. But they get a few spoonfuls mixed in their kibble as well. I have two big lab mix males that are about 80ish pounds each!
Yes, please post her results next week and keep an eye on her when she’s peeing. I’m a litter box stalker now after our ordeal! LOL!
Sorry for the late update. When Cookie went back for her last urinalysis the crystals were much better, but the vet was still concerned. She admitted she probably jumped the gun on giving Cookie all of those antibiotics before she even knew if she had an infection. I’m upset with the vet because she made me wait so long (over a week when worried seems forever) for the results. She apologized and said she was trying to talk to the specialist before she talked to me. The specialist said just to keep an eye on Cookie by doing the every two week urine tests; to see if she keeps doing better and to let him know if she gets worse. She is still peeing more than she used to, and she eats a lot of ice. I’m just in wait and see mode.
Now I’ve been doing some Internet research, and some of the articles I’ve read written by vets think crystals in female puppies is not that unusual and not a huge concern unless they have an infection, too. I don’t know what to think since we will never know if she really had an infection.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Suzanne J.
Hi Suzanne — Glad to hear Cookie appears better. Too many antibiotics was my first reaction. Your poor pup was becoming a chemical soup. Think of her as a tiny baby — they are very reactive to anything entering their systems — food, drugs, bacteria. The antibiotics have affected her gut flora so by adding a probiotic or a dollop of yogurt to her meals it will help replenish it. For a puppy that size and even at full-grown, she won’t consume that much food so if you must feed kibble, invest in the best quality — and only buy small bags so you can replace it every week or two as it does go rancid.
To keep her drinking, add tuna water or beef broth or chicken broth to her water. You can easily make your own bone broth (preferable grass-fed beef bones and chicken bones in a crockpot with 1T apple cider vinegar, dulse, mushrooms, kale, cover with water and slow cook for 24 hours. Skim off fat, refrigerate some, freeze the rest in cubes), and add a half cup to each meal to add enzyme and nutrients. You can use it in your own soups too! Google bone broth for a list of benefits.
I always advocate whole foods (not canned, bagged or processed) so the closer you can get to this, the better for a dog’s health and your own. As others have said, any changes should be made over the course of a week or 2 to avoid upsetting the system even more.
The body, theirs and ours, is an amazing thing if you allow it to do what it is supposed to do with minimal stresses of unknown foods and drugs.
My puppy Cookie is at the vet again today having another “clean urine test”. Her urinalysis yesterday still shows a lot of crystals, but no protein or blood. My vet still does not believe she does not have an infection. My puppy seems fine, healthy & happy to me and my husband, but we agreed to this test because the vet insisted. If Cookie does not have an infection & she has put her through this test again for nothing I’m finding another vet. I have seen lots Internet research from qualified professionals saying crystals are of no concern in female puppies if there is no infection.
Opinions anybody? It will be several days before I know the results of this latest culture. I am getting very frustrated with this whole situation, & I made myself not write until today because I was afraid it’d turn into a rant.
I’d agree that struvite crystals are not a concern if there isn’t any infection. I see your vet as being through…. wants to confirm that there is no ongoing infection before ignoring as initially you reported symptoms consistent with infection and prior to antibiotics it wasn’t confirmed if infection was present or not.
I don’t see your vet as putting your dog through this test for nothing. My own dog had a UTI at a young age. It was confirmed by culture prior to any antibiotics. I remember getting her urine cultured multiple times post treatment to monitor for recurrence. I was always relieved what they came back negative and never considered the negative result as an unnecessary test.
I’m a little confused. When you said, “My vet still does not believe she does not have an infection,” you mean that your vet believes that your dog has an infection. Is that right?
Purchase a small bag of ZiwiPeak lamb from Chewy.com. Once you get it, start feeding it immediately. Stop everything else, the Purina, the additions, the antibiotics, the supplements. Your pup was just born and her system is being overwhelmed, plain & simple. Make sure she doesn’t chew or swallow the ice cubes. After 2 weeks, go to another vet, the other one should be fired. Keep her warm & have lots of play time. I cured a dog of crystals I was baby sitting this way. Plus my own pups used to have a slew of issues the vet couldn’t help with.
Aimee, I do not like the thought of my puppy having a needle stuck in her bladder again. The vet did this exact same test recently & nothing showed up; no infection at all. She’s never had a positive test for a UTI infection like your pup, and she has had so many urine tests I can’t even remember how many. The test is not without risk & it scares me. Maybe I’m overprotective, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong either.
Dogfoodie, the vet did this “clean urine” test right before Christmas because she thought my puppy had an infection. I don’t know if you read my whole story or not, but Cookie had two rounds of antibiotics without having a urine test first because my vet just “thought” Cookie had an infection. Then she made us wait a week after the two rounds of (maybe unneeded) antibiotics and then the vet did the first “clean urine test” to see about the “infection”. She did not have an infection per results of that culture, and I don’t think she has one now. The vet didn’t believe that culture was right so she is doing another culture right now. I don’t think my vet has ever seen a puppy with crystals that didn’t have an infection & she just doesn’t know what to do, but that doesn’t make her a bad vet or a bad person. Still, I feel like my vet is treating Cookie (my puppy) like a test case. She keeps calling a specialist in another state & he told her to just do a regular urine test every two weeks & to let him know if there was a big change, and we agreed to do that and there has been no change. There just comes a point where you say “what the hello” is going on? I may have to eat my words after this new culture if it comes back positive so we’ll see. If it comes back positive I’ll let you know. Either way, I’ll let all of you know the results.
zcRiley, as soon as I finish typing this I will order the lamb you recommended from Chewy. I do think my poor puppy is being over treated for something she could very well grow out of. I am a librarian and I have read several “peer reviewed articles” by experts in veterinary medicine that say crystals are not really that unusual in young female puppies unless there is a UTI, and that the crystals will usually go away after the first heat. That is the main reason why I’m waiting to have my puppy fixed. I do not plan to breed her, even though she is a purebred, very beautiful cocker spaniel puppy. She a solid buff color with deep brown (almost black) eyes that make my heart melt when I look at her. I do believe she deserves a better vet, maybe a vet who is a few years older and has much more experience in the field.
Thank you all for your replies. I really do appreciate your concern and advice. It helps to belong to a board where everybody loves their pets so much.
I read on line that Cockers are prone to struvite crystals. Have you had the pH of your pup’s urine tested? Struvite crystals thrive in an alkaline urine. When struvite crystals were found in my female dog’s urine, she was given a course of antibiotics and then methionine tablets to keep the urine acidic. She never had another infection. She was on the methionine tablets for the rest of her life. Methionine tablets are available without prescription.
I know that having a needle entering the bladder is cause for concern and worry. I ‘ve had it done multiple times to multiple dogs… never gets easier ….I always worry. I’m just saying I think I understand why your vet wants it. I know you just recently had it done and nothing grew. It was also done fairly close to having been on antibiotics in which case you can get a false negative. This means that there is no growth but that there is an infection. So as I see it your vet wants to double check. If you dog never had signs of a problem ( the frequent urinations with small amounts) your vet may have made different recommendations.
I do remember with Brooke her first followups were with the needle in the bladder. Then I used to take a chance on culturing a clean catch. I’d boil water in a plastic tray in the microwave.. dump it and air dried then catch a mid stream urine sample and transfer to a sterile container. As long as that came back negative we’d be good… if it came back with bacterial growth than I was to follow up with the needle test. Thankfully she had negative cultures that way and she didn’t have to have more needles.
The problem is that female puppies get vaginitis and the signs are the same as for a UTI. The only way to figure out where the problem is is with the needle urine test compared to a caught sample. My previous lab as a puppy had a lot of problems with frequent urination and had multiple urine tests and multiple cultures all negative.. it was so frustrating! She had a vaginal scoping as well …then her signs suddenly increased and I think it was her third culture that grew out bacteria.. she was treated and then everything resolved. I don’t know if she had a UTI all along or if she had vaginitis that then became a UTI.. UGH But I was sure glad when it resolved. I felt so bad for my baby as I’m sure you do for yours
I hope this test answers the question your vet is trying to answer and that you can close this chapter in her life.
aimee, it certainly sounds like you’ve had a lot more experience in this sort of thing than I have. Cookie is fine so the test did no permanent harm. I get worried very easily since I lost a precious dog I’d had for more than 12 years last year. She died in my vet’s hospital, and I’m still not over losing her, so I know I’m more upset than is normal.
I still have no results. Maybe the test results will be in today or tomorrow. If Cookie really needs an antibiotic & has an infection we will soon know. Since my vet gave her antibiotics without knowing if she had an infection I am still sort of angry with her for my puppy having to have the needle test repeated. The vet also charged me another $200 even though she admitted it was a mistake on her part to give antibiotics without doing a test first which probably screwed up the results last time. That would have bought a lot more ziwipeak dog food , which my puppy loves. 🙂
Thanks for your kind concern. I’ll let you know the results as soon as I do. I’m waiting by the phone hoping she calls very soon.
Update!!!!!!!!!!! The results are in. Cookie does NOT have an infection. I didn’t think she did, but now we know for sure. She said the vet will call me on Thursday, and if I haven’t heard from her by noon to call her to see what she has to say about what to do next. She’s at a conference.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Suzanne J.
Yeah a hurdle crossed! Yes….. unfortunately I’ve been to the urine “rodeo” more times than I’d like. Does she still have signs of frequent urination or has than subsided?
Cookie seems fine to me, but I know she still has crystals without an infection. She is peeing a lot more in volume (not times) since I got her off Purina and started giving her Ziwipeak. It’s very expensive, but worth it to me if it is helping her. My vet wants to keep doing tests, and I know she cares, but I am really seriously thinking of switching to another vet with more experience.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Suzanne J.
I’ve got an appointment with another vet Thursday afternoon. I hope he is more helpful.
Suzanne… We inherited my parents Cavalier King Charles female spaniel after my parents passed away who had the same concerns your puppy has. She always drank alot of water. They had fed her Hills Science Diet dry puppy food mixed with all types of leftover chicken, beef, & vegetables, etc. leftover from from their care facility meals where they had lived. Just prior to my last parent passing, she started having pee accidents mixed with blood unexpectedly, although had seemed energetic & healthy. At the time. Their vet confirmed “crystals” in her bladder, some as large as a “caper” which then followed with open bladder surgery to remove the 9 crystals at a cost of just over $1,000. OUCH !!! No infection was found. Since she has been in our care fulltime now, she is now on a dry kibble Rx food recommended by the vet – “Hills Science Rx Diet C/D” which is for urinary care which is very pricey at $55+/bag. We have since changed vets, who has also recommended & written an Rx for “Royal Canin Vet Diet Urinary SO” dry or canned, which is also expensive. We may try that in the future. You should research both Rx brand formulas for urinary concerns, as we were told this condition tends to be genetic and the Rx diet, we are told, is “key” in hopefully preventing a reoccurrence. Good luck… Hopefully you can avoid the cost of surgery that we experienced a few years ago. She still drinks a lot of water, but at almost age 9, she is continuing to be healthy & energetic.
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