Species affected: Cats, Dogs
Background: The male domestic cat is particularly prone to an obstruction consisting of crystallized mineral embedded within a proteinaceous matrix; this is often considered to be an immune-mediated phenomenon. Obstructions are considered an emergency requiring sedation and unblocking with a catheter.
Symptoms: Hematuria, pain, possible obstruction or frequent urination.
Diagnostics: Urinalysis, blood tests.
Special Notes: Struvite (Magnesium Ammonium Phosphate) and oxalate are the most common urinary calculi seen in small animals. In dogs, struvite crystals and stones are associated almost exclusively with bacterial infections and excessively alkaline urine. Oxalate stones are more commonly found in certain breeds including Bichons, Schnauzers, Yorkies, Shihtzu; these are seen with excessively acidic urine or administration of excessive doses of calcium. Small struvite stones can often be dissolved using diet modifications and supplements alone; oxalate cannot be dissolved. Stones may have a struvite covering but an oxalate core. In cats, struvite and oxalate stones are both common; their incidence increasing as the majority of cat owners began feeding commercial foods, especially dry foods. There are foods to help manage/prevent both types of stones in dogs and cats, and these are usually necessary even with supplements.
Principles for Supplementation: Natural treatment can help break up struvite stones and prevent them from reforming, if they are not too large. Bacteria can be controlled with herbs if needed. Urinary pH should be repeatedly checked, to make sure the urine is not excessively alkaline or acidic.