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Struvite Crystals in Pets

Managing Struvite Crystals

struvite out of a cat

Goals for management

Struvite stones can be caused by alkaline urine, steroid therapy, abnormal retention of urine, a urinary tract infection, or another disorder of the urinary tract. Common symptoms include frequent urination, straining to urinate, urinating in inappropriate places, cloudy or bloody urine, and increased thirst.
Diagnosis of a stone will include manual palpation of the abdomen, urinalysis, a urine culture and sensitivity test, x-rays and ultrasounds.
If urine flow is completely blocked, this is a medical emergency and you should have your pet seen by a veterinarian right away. Otherwise, the situation can often be managed with medication and dietary adjustments.
To reduce urine pH – which is the goal in most struvite situations – you must feed your pet a low-carb, grain-free, potato-free, species-appropriate diet. When dogs and cats who are designed to eat meat are fed a grain-based diet or a starch-rich diet, the starch alkalizes urine pH, which can lead to the development of struvite crystals and stones. Sometimes, surgery is required to remove stones in the urethra, ureters or bladder.

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