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Discussion Starter #1
Camper's urine is too alkaline. We need to acidify it (or tone down alkaline). He has crystals and the Ph is 9.

Already, he takes 3 cranberry tablets a day, plus 1-2 Ester-C, plus I sneak in as much organic apple cider vinegar as he will tolerate.

His diet is full of blueberries, greens, and other acidic stuff. Nope, the crystals aren't oxalate crystals, although I'm kind of surprised they're not.
Did I mention I'm giving him apple sauce that has ascorbic acid as well?

I have an appointment with an internist, but gosh, I'd like to get him some relief in the meantime (he has to pee frequently and goes out at least once a night, and I've pretty much ruled out behavioral causes).

His calcium/phosphorous intake is right around 1.5 : 1, give or take a bit.

Ideas? Any thoughts would be helpful. This has been going on over a year, with his Ph bouncing around 7-9. This is the first time he's actually had crystals in about a year though.
 

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He is raw-fed?
 

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I'm assuming the crystals you are referring to are struvites? It sounds like you are already doing the right things to acidify the diet, but perhaps the underlying problem of the bacteria hasn't been eliminated? Below is an excerpt from an article found here: http://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/bladder-stones-crystals/

I've highlighted the part that I think may be worth considering in your case.


Quote:Struvites: These are also called ‘triple phosphate’(magnesium ammonium phosphate) and are the most commonly seen with urinary tract infections and most frequently seen in females. These type of crystals are seen in young dogs (under a year) or in middle aged or older dogs.

Breeds that have a tendency towards getting these types of crystals are Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, Scottish Terriers, Miniature Poodles, Bichon Frise, Miniature Schnauzers, Pekingese, Basset Hounds, Springer Spaniels and German Shepherds. Struvites are almost always accompanied by bacteria that create a high alkaline pH. Always have the dog’s urine cultured for bacteria, even if none are apparent in a microscope upon microscopic inspection.

Not all bacteria will show on inspection, but a culture will reveal if any bacteria is present. Knowing which bacteria are present allows the veterinarian to prescribe the proper antibiotic to eliminate infection. It is also noted that many dogs can have struvites present in the urine and high urinary pH with no ill effects, so if a routine urinalysis shows a pH of 8.0 and a few struvite crystals, but your dog has no symptoms of any kind, there is no need to be concerned.

When the infection is treated by the correct antibiotic, cranberry juice Capsules (not cranberry juice) can be given to the dog. These help to stop bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall and help prevent future infections. Some people have had success keeping the urine acidic, which helps prevent these crystals from forming, by feeding acidic foods and avoiding alkaline foods. A raw, natural diet is high in acidic foods.

Because bladder infections lead to high alkaline urinary pH and struvite crystals, many people, including many vets, make the mistake of treating the problem by acidifying the diet. But that is confusing cause and effect. Alkaline pH and struvite crystals are not caused by a diet of alkaline foods; they are usually caused by bladder infections. Therefore, trying to make the urine more acidic will not get rid of the infection. Alkaline pH can also be normal, as pH can vary a great deal even in the same dog at different times of the day, and also by the way the urine was captured and handled before testing.

If your dog has struvite bladder stones, then acidifying the diet, along with treating the infection, can help dissolve the stones. Ascorbic acid (a form of vitamin C), and distilled water can help with this. , Acidic foods include chicken, beef, eggs, fish, pork, cottage cheese, yogurt, rice (brown and white), beans, nuts and all seafood. See http://www.herbtime.com/InformationPages/FoodsforAlkalineAcid.htm for more information on acidifying and alkalizing foods. See http://www.marvistavet.com/html/canine_struvite_bladder_stones.html for more information on struvite bladder stones.
I also know that there are a variety of homepathic remedies available for urinary tract health, as well as some antimicrobial varieties. Perhaps your vet or a homepathic practioner could make some recommendations.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks. I should have mentioned. We ran a culture. It came back negative for everything but crystals. And while it is, in theory, possible to have struvites without any disease, there's clearly something wrong with my guy. That's why I'm trying to figure what else we can do.


Distilled water is something I hadn't tried. And seafood. I'll add those to his diet. (Lobster for Camper. Like his raw diet isn't already expensive enough!
)

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This is helpful too (from the page you cited). Many of us use organic ACV to treat UTIs. It would appear we're doing it wrong?

Quote:
Alkalizing foods include apples, bananas, cabbage, broccoli, beans, potatoes, pumpkin, millet, honey, alfalfa, non-distilled vinegar (organic apple cider vinegar), squash and most fruit and most vegetables.
I'll switch to plain old Heinz apple cider vinegar and see what happens...
 

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Originally Posted By: 3K9MomDistilled water is something I hadn't tried. And seafood. I'll add those to his diet. (Lobster for Camper. Like his raw diet isn't already expensive enough!
)
I hear you on that. Sometimes I shudder when I stop and think about some of the expensive tidbits my dog gets. Which is why of course I try to just not think about it.


I hope you get it figured out. Sure sounds frustrating.

A couple of years ago I met someone who was having great success with a homeopathic mix for her dog's urinary tract problems, but I can't for the life of me remember the name or the individual components of the mix.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've been using Animal Apawthecary's Tinkle Tonic. But I think we're beyond what that can do.

After xrays, blood work, several cultures, I'm hoping the internist with ultrasound and whatever other diagnostics she thinks are necessary will arrive at the answer. And hopefully, it's something easy to fix.

Poor Camper. He (and I) haven't slept through the night in so long. Then again, we have lovely moments on moonlit nights when we go out; he does what he needs to (it takes a while), comes back in and we walk back to the bedroom together.

We're a team.
 

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Lori,

I have some stuff in my cabinet that might help. Kai had urinary issues and the vets couldn't find anything and they finally resolved on their own. I can see what I have and send it to you in case it will help Camper.
 

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I can see Camper dining by candlelight at a reserved table at The Ritz-Carlton, sipping a fluted crystal goblet of organic, non-distilled apple.cider vinegar, waiting for his first course, to preceed his broiled lobstertails-in-butter.


It doesn't say anything you havenm't already researched, probably-- but seems to be a caution about veggies?

Here's from TheWholeDog.org

If your dog has struvite bladder stones, then acidifying the diet, along with treating the infection, can help dissolve the stones. Ascorbic acid (a form of vitamin C), and distilled water can help with this. Acidic foods include chicken, beef, eggs, fish, pork, cottage cheese, yogurt and all seafood, Cranberry Extract, Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey (the honey shoves things in a more basic direction, apple cider vinegar to more acid, and a combination allows the body to find its own balance ).

and:

Giving a B vitamin supplement may be helpful and has been indicated in use for humans with these problems.
See our supplement recommendations below

There is also some question that high calcium, rather than causing stones, may in reality help dissolve them. This is also true of vitamin C


Here's the article:
http://www.thewholedog.org/artbladderstones.html

Extra hugs to sweetieboy Camper.
May he be feeling much better, soon! Grimm sends wags and snorts and licks etc.
 

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Max doesn't have crystals, but he has pee problems that show up when anything with a lot of sulfur is increased in his diet. This includes the sulfur based veggies like cauliflower and broccoli, but also things like taurine, MSM, eggs, and probably a few other things that I'm not remembering.

Maybe try no vinegar for a bit?
 

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Originally Posted By: 3K9MomWe ran a culture. It came back negative for everything but crystals.

to have struvites without any disease
Are stones and crystals the same thing? Can a dog have crystals without having stones or are crystals small stones?

From what I read bacteria is almost always a factor in developing struvite crystals regardless of whether they were able to culture the bacteria in the urine. Has the vet done antibiotics to see if that might solve the problem? It seems to be standard to try antibiotics in these cases first, dietary manipulation next.

How do you know the crystals are struvites and not oxalate? (which can only be identified by retrieving a stone and analyzing it and would call for a different treatment plan)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ruth. Thank you. I'll take it!


Lisa, thanks for the info about sulphur. I'm looking for it in all of Camper's diet right now. I don't feed broccoli hardly at all, and I don't think I've ever fed him cauliflower. But he does get a lot of veggies in stews that I mix and match over the course of months (because I cook them and freeze them). So I'll go through my last year's of batches and see what comes up.

And he has eggs 2-3 times a week, and garlic that I add as an anti-inflammatory. Thanks.

Patti, Organic non-distilled cider is NOT appropriately acidic (but rather de-acidifies the urine), according to the info that was provided. So that's what we should not be giving kids with UTIs or struvites. Gosh, the processed mass marketed stuff is actually better than the Lola-Granola stuff in this case?
But Lisa's right. Camper's going on the wagon when it comes to vinegar. He'll be thrilled. He's not a big fan.

Natalie, I don't know. The lab tests came back negative for bacteria, triple phosphate crystals, Ph 9. And we had xrays negative for stones. The radiologist had some suggestions for additional diagnostics; we've previously treated for UTIs (some with crystals, some without) with antibiotics, and that's why I decided this was the point at which I should scoop up my 90 lb baby and head for my favorite internist's office without giving him additional medicine. If abx worked this time to quell symptoms but don't fix the underlying problem, then it didn't really help. My vet offered to prescribe a urine acidifier. But I just didn't want to muck it up for the internist to do a full work up.

Sigh... I have a feeling there's something much more than diet going on -- two Tblsp of veggies three times a week would not cause this. Dogs on many quality kibbles and commercial raw mixtures get that much. Both my regular vets are certain it's not the diet, although they think we might be able to tweak the diet to help.

I just was thinking that maybe we could get the Ph down and maybe get him some relief.

I told Dh about the lobster and he just laughed, and said, "I saw crab on sale at Safeway. Will Camper eat crab on sale instead?" I bet he will, if it's dipped in a lot of butter.
I have the best husband.
 

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I really don't think the veggies are going to make a difference unless they are a really huge part of his diet, which I know they're not. I also don't think garlic would either although I don't think it's particularly effective except in higher doses as an anti-inflammatory. Just a reminder about garlic which you may already know: with any strong herb you need to take one day off a week or one week off a month.

I have a couple of these products, although I can't remember exactly which ones: http://search.onlynaturalpet.com/search.aspx?searchterms=urinary&mf=0

I know I have the ONP Canine Bladder Control and I have used the Natural Herbs for Pets Urinary Relief
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah, I was just re-reading Dr. Pitcairn, and he specifically says a natural diet of vegetables and meat.

Thanks for the link. I'll check it out now.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi Natalie, thanks for asking.

We went to the internist. She thinks that the hoopla over Ph is mostly that; she says that when she sees a Ph level, she says all it tells her is when the urine sample was taken vis-a-vis when the dog last ate, and what he ate. The only time it really means anything is if the dog has oxalates, which Camper doesn't.

So we ran tests -- lots of tests -- ultrasounds, catheter, cultures, more bloodwork. All of it came back negative. She said that the crystals he does have are so small, they're not even worth worrying about. Just tiny bits of mineral, which she sees often enough and they're usually not indicative of anything. She said that everything shows he's a perfectly healthy dog.

That's great news. The bad news has been that he still has urgency in the middle of the night (he wakes me up, panicking, and rushes to the back door) every night, and he stands out there, about 5 minutes, even after his bladder appears (to me anyhow) to be emptied.

I'm convinced it's not behavioral. He's tired. He goes out, pees, comes back in, and passes out again. It's not like he goes out there, sniffs around and has a great time of it. The internist is 99% confident it's not behavioral as well.

So, we ruled out that there's anything wrong with him physiologically (a body part is abnormal, or there are tumors or something). We ruled out metabolic stuff like diabetes and Addison's. She said it could be systemic, like his nervous system isn't telling his bladder when it's empty, so he doesn't empty it completely at bedtime, or when he's standing there for 5 minutes at 2am. There is no cure for this, just some meds we could try to manage the symptoms.

I decided against that. After he had really bad response to antihistamines, I just don't want to give him any meds he doesn't absolutely need. So, Camper and I will get up in the middle of the night for apparently the rest of his life. He'll pee and we'll go back to bed. It's just something we do. We're a team.
 

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Camper can come live with me - I get up at 2 AM for a pee too!
 

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Weird. One bright side to this, at least he wakes you up instead of going in the house


Is there a specific nerve that controls the impulse to go to the bathroom? If so and it runs through the spinal canal were xrays thought of to see if it was being compressed or something? Could acupuncture/chiro help with the nerve transmissions? Supplements to enhance nerve transmissions?

Know we were thinking of you and your pack.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
When we ran his OFA films, we took films of his spine; didn't see anything that the radiologist was even slightly concerned about. But Zamboni sees a holistic vet/chiropractor. Her kindney numbers are up, so he just gave Boni some herbal powder for that.

Who knows? There might be some herbal remedy that might work, and as you say, chiropractic or accupuncture. So, I'm bringing Camper in to see him as well.

And thanks Joanne, I'll keep your offer in mind.
 
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