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Hello All,

First of all, I apologize for the long post but I'm thoroughly confused, worried, and can't seem to get a straight answer from my vet... here goes.. I am a first time poster but a long time lurker ad I would just like to say the information on this website is awesome. My girlfriend and I (after much research, homework and looking around) selected what we thought to be a good breeder for our much anticipated German Shepherd puppy. We picked Rocco up mid February of this year at 7 weeks of age and he is a wonderful addition to our faimly and best friend to our 1.5 year Chocolate Lab Harley. Ever since we brought Rocco home we have had problems. He was diagnosed with Giardia a week after coming home as we grew increasingly suspicious of his soft, runny stool. We gave him vet prescribed antibiotics and just today had another fecal done to make sure the Giarida is gone (awaiting results). In the process of this we also became increasingly suspicious of his constant peeing in the house, in his kennel, during the day, at night, etc. Initially we chalked this up to a "puppy thing" but after having a urinalysis done he shows signs of "numerous struvite crystals in his urine," in fact our vet said she has never seen such a young puppy with that many crystals. I am stressing over this because I don't really understand the complexity of these crystals and if they will ever go away so Rocco can have a normal, happy, healthy life? Last week his urine tested a ph of 8 to which the vet prescribed Clavamox (i assume thats for a bladder infection) We have just finished the 10 day course of the antibioatics, had him tested again today where his urine ph is now a 5 and he has less crystals (according to the vet, still nowhere where he should be). Another 10 day prescription for Clavamox...When we picked Rocco up from the breeder, they were feeding him Kirkland (Costco) brand food which we promptly switched to Canidae (after reading good reviews and recommendations). The vet thinks the Canidae is the cause for the struvite crystals and has told us this seems to be a common problem with Canidae? My problem is she recommended the Hills p/d prescription diet which I'm not fond of at all...not to mention the price. I am nearly at the end of my rope here with food selection, vet bills, testing, medications, I just want a happy healthy puppy. Does anybody have experience with struvite crystals? What are some other food options that won't cause problems? I'm currently feeding Canidae to my lab who seems to be doing great on it, but I don't want him to develop problems either. I have so many questions that the vet can't seem to answer and my frustration is growing. It seems to me they are only interested in selling food they promote and don't seem to have a wide knowledge base on other foods out there. Will he have to be on the prescription diet for life? He is also nearly impossible to housetrain as he can't hold his urine and when he's gotta go, he goes...everywhere. I look forward to everybody's opinion!
 

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i have fed canidae to alot of puppies/dogs and never had any problems with crystals or anything else. i doubt its the food. although because your pup has this problem for whatever reason, it is important to choose a food that will help the problem. i believe struvite crysals can formulate into stones if not addressed.
i would look into supplements which help like vitamin c (ester c), and things that help the ph level.
some dogs just like people make more of something, and in your case your dog has a tendancy to produce crystals. so lifetime management would be a good proticol.

debbie
 

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Add a bit of Apple Cider Vinegar to his dialy drinking water (1 tablespoon). And give him Vitamine C. This will help in getting his urine to be more acidic. Some dogs (who eat kibble) are prone to bladder infections and stones. It it possible for you to switch to a raw feed?

Although bladder infection comes from a bacteria, it is the overload of carbs in his kibble that weakens his defenses (urine not acidic enough to kill bacteria). So, if possible, switch to Barf!
 

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I really like cranberry capsules for bladder infections. You can get good quality capsules at Costco (if you are member) or at your drugstore. Drugstore brand qualities vary, so look for a better national brand. Since he's so little, half the daily human dose will be about right. (You'll kind of have to judge for yourself depending on his weight). As he grows, the maintenance dose will be the same. (Usually, I give a double dose while my dogs are taking antibiotics then I drop the maintenance dose to half that for the next couple months).

Cranberry provides hippuric acid that acidifies the urine, which helps kill the bacteria AND it actually keeps the bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder. This acid works a bit differently than vitamin C and tends to be prescribed more commonly (for humans). You can certainly give both.

When I have a dog prone to urinary tract infections and crystals, I'll keep them on cranberry capsules prophylatically (to prevent future flare-ups), for years even. Your male pup probably won't need this, but you can use it for a while (months, maybe a year), til things get stabilized in his little system.

Keep in mind that urinary tract infections *usually* arise from fecal contamination, usually from skin or rectal bacteria. So it COMPLETELY makes sense that a little guy with soft runny poop (which, let's face it, can get places it's not supposed to be) would end up with a UTI. Crystals can be secondary to infections. Once we get the fecal issues under control, which it sounds like you have, it's not too terribly hard to get the UTI under control.

It seems like everything with your pup is falling apart, but it's very likely that the first issue may have helped caused the second. Crystals can also be caused by things like too much grain in diet and poor protein quality (So Hills food is not a great fix, in my opinion), hormone changes, which are expected in growing pups, not drinking enough water, and some other stuff. In other words, some things just happen. But other things can be monitored and to some degree, controlled.

So don't despair. These matters could be pretty easily fixed. And taking steps like 1)cranberry capsules 2) vitamin c 3) 24 hour access to lots of clean water 4) home-made broth that encourages extra fluid intake 5) super clean yard (so he doesn't recontaminate) 6) access to the outdoors as much as possible (don't expect him to "hold it" for now; that just allows the bacteria to continue to multiply when we want to be flushing them out), he should get better fast.

In your shoes, I would feed the diet that I think is healthiest. Raw, as suggested above is great. But Canidae is a good food, and I like that as an option.

I don't necessarily expect that your pup is looking forward to a lifetime management program. BTW. He might be one of those little guys who have UTI issues due to body chemistry. But he is just as likely to be a healthy pup who got off on the wrong paw. And he just needs several months of extra care (and extra patience because yes, housebreaking will take a lot longer than if he never had these issues.)

Sigh. Puppies are always a bit harder than we ever anticipate, eh?

Good luck!
 

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Thank you all so much for the great information. 3k9Mom, I will definately try the cranberry capsules and greatly appreciate your incredibly informative post...I feel better already! I was extremely hesitant in putting him on the Hill's diet and switching from Canidae. I am very uncomfortable with this food as it seems everything I've researched and heard to "stay away from" in regard to ingredients, this food contains? We just started feeding Hill's and once that bag is gone I will be looking to again switch to a better quality food. Thanks again!
 
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