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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wondering if anyone has any suggestions or experience with urinary crystals in their chis?

Thursday evening Willow (13 weeks old) started acting a little starnge - peeing every 10 minutes pretty much wherever she stood. No attempt to pee where she is supposed to. Even in the puppy pen she would go pee on her BED TWICE rather than the pee pad two inches away!!! Never has she peed on her bed before (Even in her kennel she holds it all night long). She also licks her urethra after every pee but has since I got her so not sure if that is a symptom or normal for her.
So due to the odd behaviour I took her in to the vet sure she had a UTI(bladder infection). Nothing abnormal on exam and caught a urine sample.
So it's taken 2 days to get results (ridiculous in my opinion). Since then she has been "more normal". The odd accident but not every 10 minutes.
Results are inconclusive. Basically she has no bacteria, has a too acidic urine ph, very high white blood cells, and small amount of crystals in her urine.....
He is not sure if she has or is near to getting a bladder infection or if the white blood cells are due to the crystals. No bacteria so not a full blown infection for sure. The crystals may be causing the irritaion on more frequent urination - not sure. He wants me to put her on a vet diet for crystals to control the urinary pH. I had hoped to keep her off vet diets. I discussed my reservations about high carbs in the vet diets and how I would prefer a low starch etc but he really didn't see any value to it since he ony cares about the pH.
And as for antibiotics, he said we could do a profilactic antibiotics just incase she is harboring a low grade infection or about to, or just switch the food and retest her urine after food change or do a needle aspirate of her bladder to get a better (more sterile) sample, then culture the urine for bacteria, etc...
I am not sure I want to do the last option although best medically I feel it may lead to exactly the same results with much more costs and financially hubby is already peed off about more $ towards the dog. He alllows but doesn't really support our dog and that is the best he will ever be so I live with it. He is not a pet person and does not understand any of it.
So......
Change the food to vet diet- assuming she will eat it (she is incredibly fussy). I have just started to get her to try Ziwipeak again! So that sort of sucks! And again we are on a VET diet like my old min pin had to be. Not my favorite! Do I have any other options?
Should I hold off on the antibiotics and try the food or do profilactic antibiotics just to cover all bases? I worry a tad about not covering all bases because of the potty training. It is already very hard! I do not want to leave her with a UTI brewing only to complicate her potty training. but would rather not treat something non existant...
Any thoughts on all of this?
 

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Gee, I wish I could be of better advice. There are supplements (Foster and Smith) to make the urine more acid or the opposite, alkaline. You obviously would want the acid supplement. I probably would go with the bladder aspirate myself. I had a dog that had the same problem. There is irritation in the uretha for sure, if she is going every 10 minutes. A real alkatine urine can 'burn' it. Good luck. Maybe the food for a week or so? Canned? Lots of water. Sue
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Sue.
I just can't help thinking that some of the findings may be false positives or anomolies. Maybe wishful thinking but in my research it sounds as though it good be especially since the findings are inconclusive. I think I will call the vet tomorrow and discuss further. Then possibly try the antibiotics and then retest to determine if infact crystals are still present or were a false positive the first time.
Was hoping there may be some others with experience with the same issue but I supppose not.
 

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Could her previous diet, before the ZP have anything to do with the crystals? Maybe just needs more time on the ZP. Do you feed the ZP with water added? Or just dry? I do know that people add water to ZP often; since it's dehydrated the moisture isn't there; so water is added to increase their water intake to avoid kidney issues. We soak our fosters ZP for about 10 minutes or so before offering. Just thought I'd mention that; I don't know much about urinary tract issues but I do know that being hydrated is the key to flushing bladder problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Could her previous diet, before the ZP have anything to do with the crystals? Maybe just needs more time on the ZP. Do you feed the ZP with water added? Or just dry? I do know that people add water to ZP often; since it's dehydrated the moisture isn't there; so water is added to increase their water intake to avoid kidney issues. We soak our fosters ZP for about 10 minutes or so before offering. Just thought I'd mention that; I don't know much about urinary tract issues but I do know that being hydrated is the key to flushing bladder problems.
It is possible that the "now"food she is on is creating an inappropriate pH. Though it is a good quality food, it just may not be the "right" one for her. And yes, possibly ZP would be better but...I won't know without trying which means more time, and more urinalysis tests. Also I really don't know if I can get her on the ZP completely. She picks at it if she's starving but really doesn't love it unfortunately. *sigh* If she loved it I would definately go that route just to see if it would work but it may be just too long leaving her with uncomfortable crystals and all for nothing. Yes I have added water - it doesn't help the tastiness of teh ZP for her. I do add it to her dry "Now" though to increase water content.
Thanks for your input though!
 

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I think I would try a round of antibiotics, high white blood cell and presence of crystals both indicate an infection, so meds would be worth doing I think. Did the vet say which type of crystals were found? I think that makes a big difference in determining treatment. I had a cat who would get these too, special diet made NO difference, I went with the vets suggestion bc I was afraid it would keep happening if I didn't do the recommended diet but it kept happening anyway. Keeping her water intake up is much more important than changing her food in my opinion. Also as you said constant diet changes only make a picky eater more picky. Did your vet mention anything about anti inflammatory meds for her? It is the inflammation that causes the frequent urination, etc so if she is still showing those symptoms that would be worth asking about. To me crystals, a super high ph and the presence of white blood cells all override not finding bacteria, I would do a round of meds for sure to be safe.
 

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I agree with Katy. High white cells=infection usually. PH changes=infection posssibility, and crystals all indicate some infection. Do the antibiotics, lots of fluid (can/would she drink low sodium chicken broth?). I don't know how to get fluid into a dog that doesn't want to drink unfortunately. My dog had the above problem, and was cured with the antibiotics. Didn't have to do alot of urinary ph stuff. Sue
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think I would try a round of antibiotics, high white blood cell and presence of crystals both indicate an infection, so meds would be worth doing I think. Did the vet say which type of crystals were found? I think that makes a big difference in determining treatment. I had a cat who would get these too, special diet made NO difference, I went with the vets suggestion bc I was afraid it would keep happening if I didn't do the recommended diet but it kept happening anyway. Keeping her water intake up is much more important than changing her food in my opinion. Also as you said constant diet changes only make a picky eater more picky. Did your vet mention anything about anti inflammatory meds for her? It is the inflammation that causes the frequent urination, etc so if she is still showing those symptoms that would be worth asking about. To me crystals, a super high ph and the presence of white blood cells all override not finding bacteria, I would do a round of meds for sure to be safe.
Thank you so much! I guess that's sort of how I have been feeling but just wanted someone to confirm ! Lol! I think I will ask to try the antibiotics and then recheck after that. He said they were triple phosphate/struvite. One concern of mine is that the urine sat refrigerated over night, trhen did not get to the lab til late that day so really it was 24 hours before the sample was read. From what I understand it is important to have a very fresh sample when talking about crystals...
Anyways, I appreciate your opinion very much!
 

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I have no words of wisdom but hope you can get some answers soon.
 

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Odie has never had crystals, but one of our cats had them badly. Could they keep Willow at the vet for a little bit to collect a fresh sample themselves? Since she's peeing more often, hopefully it wouldn't be for very long. We had switched our cats to the food the vet recommended, mainly because we were desperate. He was peeing EVERYWHERE in the house. Anyway, upon the recommendation of some people on this forum, we recently switched them to a quality wet food to make sure they're getting enough moisture. I've been mixing a tiny bit of dry food in with it, to make it go a little longer. I don't know if dogs are the same, but i've been told that the ash content in food really matters in a cat's urinary health, so I used that knowledge in selecting the dry food to mix in.
 

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My chi had crystals in his urine when the urine sat for hours and was sent out to the lab. When the test was repeated in house, no crystals were found.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Odie has never had crystals, but one of our cats had them badly. Could they keep Willow at the vet for a little bit to collect a fresh sample themselves? Since she's peeing more often, hopefully it wouldn't be for very long. We had switched our cats to the food the vet recommended, mainly because we were desperate. He was peeing EVERYWHERE in the house. Anyway, upon the recommendation of some people on this forum, we recently switched them to a quality wet food to make sure they're getting enough moisture. I've been mixing a tiny bit of dry food in with it, to make it go a little longer. I don't know if dogs are the same, but i've been told that the ash content in food really matters in a cat's urinary health, so I used that knowledge in selecting the dry food to mix in.
My chi had crystals in his urine when the urine sat for hours and was sent out to the lab. When the test was repeated in house, no crystals were found.
Yes Thank you! That is what I figured that a fresh sample would be best and a sample that has sat for 24 hours is not exactly accurate. I do not really want to change the food and treat with antibiotics at once since then when we retest we won't know if the new results (if improved) are a result of the new food, antibiotics, or just a fresh sample. So...after all of this discussion...I am going to pick up antibiotics to eliminate any chance of an infection brewing, then restest and go from there! Thanks gals - now I am confident in my decision!
 

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I'm late chiming in but here is my two cents.

First - stale urine samples can form crystals. Second, there are different
"types" of crystals that form for different reasons.

When I got Jax, the owners thought he was hurt because he was tender on
one side of his body. Turned out he had a bladder infection that was not
treated and it became very painful for him. He was put on antibiotics, and
I do give my dogs bottled water ( distilled ). I also gave him 1/2 tsp of apple
cider vinegar in his food once a day. The vinegar helps neutralize the bacteria
in their urine, in doing so it can help relieve some of the pressure.

I say, no diet, no aspiration. Take the antibiotics, make sure he has a good
water source and if your comfortable, try the vinegar!
 

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Hi pixiemom
Have you thought of doing a "Alkaline Diet" on your doggie?
Feeding it Alkaline foods..
Google Alkaline diet for dogs and see what you come up
with. It may be just the thing your dog needs. ?
I read on it some.
Worth a try.
Hope all is well. Blessings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks Pmum - I did some reading on it however unfortunately Willow has Struvite crystals which it says the diet will not help. Apparently only certain types of crystals will respond to the alkaline diet. (which I actually do not entirely understand since I am recommended to switch her diet to change the pH so why it wouldn't work doesn't make sense). Anyways...

I called the vet today to further discuss and he really feels I need to switch her diet and that it was not likely a misdiagnosis from a delay in reading the sample. He said her pH was 8 and should be no higher than 7 so he said that is significant and unless the sample is riddled with bacteria, that it is likely very accurate. (Apparently bacteria can create a higher pH as some bacteria are acid producing) Her sample had no bacteria but very high White Blood Cells. He said it was quite significant so either infection or crystals - something is definately "irritating" and causing inflammation for those WBC's to be so high. And he said that the number of crystals is likely "significant" since she had a 3 which means in one view on the miscroscope there is an average of 3 in the view (0 being normal and 5 being very high). So....in all that...the findings are likely significant and he feels very strongly that a diet change is important sooner than later. He says she is very unlikely to suddenly create a normal pH and zero crystals without the diet change. We are going to do a long course of antibiotics as well since he is sure that a minor infection is likely lingering and soon to be worse if not already with the crystals brewing and causing inflammation. And so...I guess I will do the antibiotics to clear up anything brewing and pick up the stinkin vet diet...:( (the ziwipeak is really not going well anyways - I tried increasing the portions I add on top and she leaves it most of the day until she's starving...):(
Then recheck urine in 2-3 weeks.


Thank you so much for all of your concern and opinions! I will keep you posted!
On a good note....she has asked to go out potty EVERY time she has had to go today! Whoohooo - she is catching on!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
ARGHHH! So frustrated! Picked up the antibiotics today and food... Sent home with Hill's C/D - and it looks terrible! It is 48% Carb! First ingredient is corn! Second is pork fat, and third is chicken by product meal. Protein is low!
And then I did a bunch more reading and everything online suggests it should be a low carb , high protein diet to bring pH down and keep crystals away. So now I feel like I'm feeding her a diet that's crap! (and ofcourse she loves it!)...and I don't feel the vet is educated on the matter of nutrition... so yes ultimately I would love to switch but then that just requires more testing...grrrrrrr maybe I will switch before the next recheck but then I don't have the results from the last test! The vet has a bit of a language barrier. I mean he speaks english but sorta seems to not be able to get his thoughts across clearly. Old school maybe??? I don't know but I'm kinda frustrated.
And poor Willow peed non-stop today! Definately seemed irritated today so I am glad we have the antibiotics and hopefully we can reduce her discomfort. Poor baby!
 
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