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Struvite formation in dog, allergies and Vitimin C

by Julie
(Marlton, NJ)

Our 8 year old English Cocker Spaniel, Yara Boo, has two contradicting conditions:

1. Allergies: she gets very itchy scabs on her skin. She is on two serums of allergy shots given alternating weeks, and has had great success with LID's.

2. She is prone to struvite formation in her bladder. After a surgery removing over 20 stones, she was put on an SO4 diet. Great for the urine, bad for the allergies. She has also become disinterested in the SO food.

Would supplements of Vitimin C increase the acid in her urine? This way she could continue to eat the LID for allergies and prevent struvite formation.

If this may work, what type of Vitimin C and how much? Do dogs' bodies get rid of excess C? Am I creating another potential problem by pursuing this course of treatment? The allergy shots alone are not enough for the skin scabs.


Comments for Struvite formation in dog, allergies and Vitimin C

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Jan 03, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Struvite formation in dog, allergies and Vitamin C
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Julie,
Yara Boo certainly has a number of issues that need to be addressed! You mentioned that she has had struvite stones removed from her bladder, and she has been placed on SO4 food. Is this the Royal Canin S/O diet? (For 'Struvite/Oxalate crystals)

And is she on the CANNED formula?

If she has had ONLY struvite stones, then it is mandatory that her urine maintain an acid pH of 6.0-6.5. And there is no need to keep her on a diet that is formulated for BOTH struvite AND calcium oxalate.

If she had a combination of calcium oxalate and struvite crystals, then maintaining a pH of closer to 7.0 would be best. (neutral, not acid)

In either case, for both her skin and urinary tract, she needs to be on a CANNED or RAW diet to provide adequate moisture for health. And if she is being treated with 'serum allergy shots', then I assume she has inhaled allergies, and not food allergies.

A RAW diet will provide Vitamin C naturally. Since Vitamin C is found in raw meat, cooking or heating meat will destroy Vitamin C. It is not recommended to add Vitamin C, ascorbic acid, to a dog's diet, since a dog's stomach produces 10 times more Hydrochloric acid than a human. Adding more acid will run the risk of gastritis, acid indigestion or other digestive upsets.

Also, most people do not know that dogs produce their own Vitamin C. In fact, ALL animals (EXCEPT humans, monkeys, and guinea pigs), make their own Vit C, so it is not added to their cooked food. But if a dog is not well, such as Yara Boo, with chronic allergies and bladder problems, she probably has a poor immune system, and she is NOT making enough vitamin C. So, it would be more essential for her to be on a RAW dog food diet.

But, if Vitamin C is needed to boost a dog's immune system, then it is best to add 'buffered' Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate).

This may be too much information all at once. Since all you want to know WHAT to feed Yara Boo:
1. A diet that she will like
2. A diet that will help her skin
3. A diet that will prevent struvite stone formation, and maintain an acidic urine.


Jan 03, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Struvite formation in dog, allergies and Vitamin C PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Julie,
Here is the rest of my response:

Basically, you should gradually switch her to a more raw diet, see our page on 10 Best Dog Food Options. Also, see our Dog Food Diet section along with Dr Richard Pitcairn's book, Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, which has much more info on diet.

Use litmus or pH urine strips to monitor if she has acid or alkaline urine. If her urine continues to be too alkaline on a RAW dog food diet, then you may add 1-2 tsp of apple cider vinegar to her food, as needed, to keep the urine acidic.

NO VACCINATIONS! (this will impair her immune system even more)

For skin allergies, see our section on inhaled allergies for dogs.

This is a very chronic condition, and is also best addressed by a holistic veterinarian knowledgeable in homeopathy. In Yara Boo's case, a holistic veterinarian will treat ALL of her problems, not merely suppressing the 'itch'.

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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DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Vitamin C for Dogs
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Food Diet - Dog Food, Dog Treats & Homemade Dog Food Recipes Section,
- Dog Skin Conditions,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Skin Rashes, Marks, Spots, Lesions & Patches (including itchy skin and mange) Section

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