It is really difficult with so much information out there what diet is best to feed your pet. In General wet food is good for bladder and kidneys and dry food is good for teeth and dental disease. But with so many companies out there how do you pick what diet is best. The problem is there is not one answer for every pet. We at Mochdre Vets can help talk you through diets and advise you but for every diet out there ,there will be opinions good and bad! Our nurses have undergone further training in dietary requirements and offer free clinics to help you choose the right diet for you and your pet.
In our case study of Coco, Uroliths are commonly referred to as “stones” and can occur in any section of the urinary tract with bladder stones being the most common. Regardless of specific type, uroliths occur when the urine becomes too concentrated. The aim to prevent future formation is to reduce the environment to make it less likely for them to form. Despite extensive research in both human and veterinary medicine, perfect dietary strategies for the prevention of some uroliths have not been found and dietary efforts are geared toward reducing the frequency of recurrence.
Increasing Water Consumption
A common treatment strategy employed for all types of uroliths not caused by a bacterial infection is to increase the pet’s water consumption. Increasing the amount of water that a pet consumes each day dilutes the urine or makes it less concentrated and therefore more difficult for stones to form. Wetting the food is an obvious solution and care should be taken adding soups or gravies as some maybe high in salt. Other less proven strategies to increase a pet’s water consumption include placing multiple bowls of fresh water throughout the house and yard daily; using special water bowls that constantly re-circulate water with an electric pump; It is a useful strategy to test urine concentration to monitor for changes. This test result is referred to as a urine specific gravity, and the lower the number, the less concentrated the urine.
Struvite uroliths are comprised of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate and especially like to form in urine that is alkaline (higher pH). In dogs, struvite uroliths commonly occur when there is a concurrent urinary tract infection (UTI). In dogs that formed struvite uroliths due to a UTI, the prevention of recurrence is aimed at avoiding future UTI’s with the use of antibiotics, and the dog’s diet is usually not changed. In most cats and in some dogs, there is no UTI and the primary management of the disease is dietary. Dietary strategies to prevent struvite uroliths are primarily focused on decreasing the concentration of struvite precursors and acidifying the urine. Decreasing the struvite precursors is first accomplished by increasing water consumption by the methods discussed above. In addition, the amount of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate in the diet are reduced. Since the majority of ammonium and phosphate in the urine comes from the protein in the diet, the diets designed to prevent or even dissolve struvite stones are low in protein. The amount of protein in foods designed to dissolve struvite uroliths is so low that careful monitoring of the patient is necessary when dietary dissolution of struvite uroltihs is employed instead of surgical removal. This may include frequent and repeated radiographs (x-rays) to ensure that the diet is actually causing the stone to dissolve as well as blood tests. Unfortunately, low protein diets cause the urine to be alkaline which increases the likelihood of struvite formation. To counter this effect, diets designed to prevent or dissolve struvite uroliths have urine acidifiers added to them such as the amino acid methionine. Close monitoring for a low urine specific gravity, low urine pH and lack of struvite crystals with frequent urinalysis is crucial to effectively preventing recurrence of struvite uroliths.
Urate uroliths are primarily comprised of uric acid or urate and usually form in pets that have a liver shunt, with the exception of Dalmatians and, possibly, English bulldogs. In Dalmatians and English bulldogs, there appears to be a genetic defect in their ability to normally handle dietary purine that results in the formation of urate uroliths. Treatment for Dalmatians and possibly English bulldogs is with both diet and medication (i.e. Allopurinol). The amount of medication needed is dependent upon the amount of purine in their diet. Organ meats have the highest purine content, and vegetable and dairy proteins have the lowest. Therefore, cottage cheese or egg-based diets are commonly utilized, as are vegetarian diets for dogs. Cats have too many special nutritional needs as carnivores to be able to do well on a vegetarian diet.
Calcium Oxalate Urolithiasis
Calcium oxalate uroliths are comprised of calcium and oxalate and especially like to form in concentrated urine. The best nutritional approach remains to be determined and is somewhat controversial; however, certain dietary strategies appear to help reduce the frequency of recurrence and will be briefly mentioned here. As with most uroliths, increasing water consumption is important for prevention and, with calcium oxalate uroliths, it is vital. Pets with kidney disease lose their ability to concentrate their urine; therefore, there is no point to adding salt to a pet’s diet when they already have a low urine specific gravity from renal failure.
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