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Dog with Recurring Urinary Infections, Crystals, Struvites

by Denise
(Miami, Florida)



Over the last 3 years or so my dog's had urinary infections, crystals, struvites on and off. She's been prescribed a number of different urinary foods, including Royal Canin SO, Hills C/D and Hills U/D.

The latest information that I got from the vet was that she no longer had any bacteria in her urine (after a round of antibiotics) but that she had sediment and Oxalate. He recommended that I take her off the Hills U/D, which she is currently on, and switch her gradually to the Royal Canin SO, as it promotes water intake, and the U/D does not.

Another vet had told me previous to this that she does not have Struvites, and that the SO food is really for Struvites and she recommended switching her to the U/D. So that's why she was on that one.

She has been on the SO food before, and although I am sure my vet is fully capable of recommending what's best, I can't help but wonder if there is another alternative to feeding her prescription food for the rest of her life.

From what I remember it did help get rid of the crystals last time, but as soon as she's off the food, they come back. Additionally, from my little knowledge about pet food, it seems that the ingredients in this food don't seem to be the most natural. And like in humans, the more natural the better.

I would really just like your honest opinion as to whether this condition is something that can be treated with natural food. I'm willing to make homemade dog food if you can recommend ingredients that may help her urinary issues. Whatever's best for Tizik!

Tizik is a 9 year old Jack Russel Terrier.

Thanks for your time/help. I've been meaning to get some sort of consultation with a holistic vet for a while now and thought this might be a good way to start.


Comments for Dog with Recurring Urinary Infections, Crystals, Struvites

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Jan 04, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog with Recurring Urinary Infections, Crystals, Struvites
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Denise,
Yes, I do have some suggestions for a healthier diet for Tizik...

You posted that she is a 9 year old Jack Russell, and that 3 years ago she started with these recurring bladder problems. As a holistic veterinarian, I am interested in the 'whole' dog, not just her bladder.

So, I am wondering what happened 3 years ago? And/or what else is happening now? Are her teeth ok? Skin and hair coat ok? Any behavior issues?

Or perhaps, nothing happened 3 years ago, but her diet and lifestyle (including too many vaccinations and/or feeding a DRY Dog Food) had been so bad for the first 6 years that her health in general was declining so that, at 6 years of age, she began having bladder issues.

From the information you have given me now, it sounds like you will need to closely monitor the pH of Tizik's urine. Changing her diet and adding any supplements will alter the pH. This is probably something that the veterinarians have already told you, that the change in pH is critical in formation of crystals. And you may be doing this already.

It is easy to monitor by using pH strips available at any Pharmacy, such as Walgreen's, CVS, or even at Health Food stores or pool supply stores (The pH of pool water is important to maintain in a certain range to prevent algae formation).

You can tear off a piece of the pH paper (it sometimes comes in a roll), go outside with Tizik when she is going to urinate, and hold it in the stream of urine to wet the end of it. The pH of the urine will change the color of the paper, and you compare it to the color chart on the container to determine the pH. It takes only seconds to do this.

To monitor the 'range' of her pH during the day, it would be a good idea to see what her pH is first thing in the morning, BEFORE she eats. Then check it after she has breakfast. Check her again before dinner, and then again at bedtime.

Struvite crystals only form when the pH of the urine is ABOVE 8. (alkaline)

Oxalate crystals only form in urine that has a pH LOWER than 6. (acidic)

Normal dog urine is supposed to be slightly acidic at 6-6.5.

Water is neutral at 7.

Therefore, no matter what diet she is eating, if you are able to maintain her pH at 6-6.5 she will NOT form crystals.

For good food suggestions, see our page for 10 Best Dog Food Options. The healthiest would be a completely RAW diet.

To gradually transition her, I would start her on a CANNED version of whatever prescription diet you are feeding now. If she is already on a canned form of that food, then search for some of these RAW diets to slowly add in to the prescription food, to decrease the prescription food and increase the 'healthier' RAW diet.


Jan 04, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog with Recurring Urinary Infections, Crystals, Struvites PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Denise,
Here is the continuation of my response.

And while you are 'adjusting' her diet, it is VERY important to MONITOR her urine pH, to keep it at 6-6.5. A raw diet will create the NORMAL pH for a dog.

Since Tizik has not been healthy for 3 years, she may be a bit sluggish in responding to a good diet. Or, she may need some homeopathic remedies, supplements to boost her immune system, herbs, etc. to help her along the way.

This 'fine tuning' is best accomplished with the help of a holistic veterinarian, and you have a very good one in Miami, Dr. Larry Bernstein!

If Dr. Bernstein is unable to work Tizik into his schedule, there are some other veterinarians you may be able to call.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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Related Pages:
- Dog Urination Problems & Dog Incontinence Products,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Urination Problems Section

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

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