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Crystals in Dogs and Cats


Herbal treatments to help prevent crystal, gravel and stone formation and to help prevent infections of the kidneys and urinary tract in cats and dogs.

In renal challenges, the kidneys not only need to be supported but consideration should also be given to support of the liver, cardiovascular system and autonomic nervous system, which all work in concert to facilitate the support and natural rehabilitation of the kidneys and other important tissues. 

Dog and cat bladder stones, crystal and gravel are formed usually as a result of poor diet or metabolic dysfunction. When dogs and cats have bladder stones, they show urinary problems.In some cases, chronic urinary tract infections, crystals, stones and calculi can be directly related to the presence of diabetes. 

Bladder stones are urinary mineral deposits that gather in the urinary tract and crystalize over time. The crystals then build upon each other to create "stones". They cause urinary tract irritation and pain during urination.

Eighty-five percent of the stones, crystal and gravel are formed in a dog or cats bladder, but they can also be found in the entire urinary tract; the kidneys (though rather rare), the ureters (tiny tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), or urethra (the tube from the bladder to the outside of the animal).

When a stone that has passed into the urethra is large enough, it can cause blockage of the urethra. When this happens, the dog or cat cannot urinate which is a serious condition, as toxins and waste cannot be eliminated in the urine from the dog's body. This requires emergency operation to remove the stones from the urethra.

Symptoms of stones/crystal/gravel in dogs and cats:

Frequent urination with small quantities

Urinating in inappropriate places (outside of the box)

Bloody urine

Discomfort and straining while urinating

"Dribbling urine" (may indicate a partial blockage of the urethra)

As mentioned above, if there is a complete blockage of the urethra, the animal cannot urinate at all.

There are several different types of bladder stones, but the common forms are:

Struvite Bladder Stones

These stones are composed of magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate and form in urine that has a neutral or alkaline pH level. They occur more commonly in female dogs and cats.

Calcium Oxalate Bladder Stones

These stones are found in certain breeds of dogs as a result of a hereditary condition, but also commonly affects cats. In these instances, a dog or cat lacks nephrocalcin, a calcium-binding glycoprotein, which inhibits the development of calcium oxalate crystals in the urinary tract.

Also, dogs and cats with Cushing's disease are predisposed to calcium oxalate bladder stone formation, due to elevated calcium levels in their urine.

Uric Acid Bladder Stones

These stones are formed almost exclusively in Dalmatians (about 80% of dogs with uric acid stones are Dalmatians) because of the inability of their livers to absorb uric acid. Two other breeds that can be genetically predisposed to uric acid bladder stones are Bulldogs and Russian Terriers. Uric acid bladder stones can also affect cats.

Uric acid bladder stone formation can also be caused by a liver shunt. Have your vet check your dog for the presence of urate crystals (which lead to uric acid stone formation) on a regular basis if your dog has a liver shunt.

Common causes of bladder stones:

Diet: Diets that are high in protein and certain minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, may increase the chances of the formation of  bladder stones.

Age: Older dogs and cats are more prone to develop bladder stones.

Genetics: For reasons unknown, some breeds are more susceptible to bladder stone formation than others. Small dogs, such as the Pug, Pekingese, Yorkshire terrier, Beagle, Dachshund, Welsh corgi, Miniature Schnauzer, Bulldog, and Cocker Spaniel, are among those unlucky ones. Dalmatians tend to have uric acid bladder stones.

Exposure to Cadmium: Studies have found that cadmium exposure increases the risk of formation of bladder stones in dogs and cats, which includes cigarette smoking. For domestic pets such as dogs and cats, cigarette smoke is the most common source of cadmium exposure.

Bacterial Infections: Bacterial infections of the bladder can also lead to the formation of struvite bladder stones.

Lack of Exercise: Dogs and cats that do not exercise regularly and do not get to eliminate wastes several times a day are also prone to develop bladder stones.

Herbal Remedies - (listed in order of relevance and recommendation by holistic vets for this disease or condition - human grade meets highest safety criteria for pets)

Herbal and homeopathic remedies have proven to be highly effective in the treatment of bladder infections and other urinary related problems, for its anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties to reduce urinary tract infection, to reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system, for the treatment of severe cystitis, urine retention that may occur with prostate problems and symptoms of burning urine.

Stix & Stones – (learn more) promotes improved kidney function, helps to break up kidney, liver, gallbladder and bladder stones and gravel (active stones, crystals and as a preventative), helps to safely remove stones from the body; treats urinary infections, for kidney and liver disease, tones and balances kidney, liver, intestine, pancreas, gall bladder function and health, reduces uric acid levels in urine, increases urination, blocks the formation of calcium crystals such as calcium oxalate and prevents them from entering kidney and bladder cells, provides pH modulation, for urinary system disorders and pathologies and for hepatic insufficiency.

Yummy Tummy  (learn more) promotes Probiotic digestive, urinary, bladder and gall bladder support, for all types of digestive disorders, promotes proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients, for bladder (cystitis) and kidney (pyelonephritis) infections, for urine leakage and urinary incontinence, as a natural, plant-based steroid alternative, provides important support for cramping, pain, discomfort, Gastroenteritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disorder (IBD), prostate inflammation, BHP, prostatitis, Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS) and for Candida albicans.

Tinkle Tonic  (learn more) treats prostate disorders, supports urinary tract and prostate health and reduces prostrate symptoms including Prostatitis and Benign Hyperplasia Prostate disease (BHP), promotes prostate gland health, a healthy bladder, urinary tract and bowel movements, reduces swollen and enlarged prostrate glands, promotes strong and healthy urine flow, relieves pain, discomfort and difficulty when urinating; for incomplete urination, increased frequency of urination or reduction in the volume of urine, relieves painful and strained defecation, increases circulation and strengthens the immune system.

Hepa Protect – (learn more) supports proper liver function and metabolism, bile production and flow, rehabilitates the performance, health and repair of the liver, kidneys, bladder and gall bladder, rehabilitates and detoxifies the kidneys and liver; tones and balances the connective tissue of the liver, kidneys and bladder, normalizes liver enzyme levels, regulates kidney acid/alkaline levels, for all types of stones and gravel of the liver, kidneys, bladder and gallbladder, including oxalate and struvite crystals and stones; reduces uric acid, for gall bladder inflammation, gall stones and gallbladder infections, for renal colic and renal calculi; helps to protect red blood cell formation, useful in diseases such as ehrlichia, ehrlichiosis.

Break It Up  (learn more) eliminates liver, kidney, bladder and gall stones, crystals, grains and gravel (calcium oxalate, struvite, uric acid, cystine, calcium phosphate and silica stones ) with less pain and safely removes them from the body; for bladder and kidney infections and diseases, balances and normalizes liver enzyme levels, reduces uric acid and increases urination, for cystitis and prostatitis, infectious hepatitis and leptospirosis, Fatty Liver Disease, (hepatic lipidosis), Feline cholangiohepatitis, Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), Feline Urological Syndrome (FUS), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Infection (FIV), Leaky Gut Syndrome, Intestinal Dysbiosis and Intestinal Hypermerability.

Other helpful suggestions:

Ensure that your pet always has plenty of fresh, clean water

If pet does not drink a lot of water, give him additional fluids – add water or chicken broth to the food

If your pet stays indoors, let him out every few hours to urinate

Encourage your pet to drink water during a bladder infection as it is essential that the unwanted toxins are flushed out

Boost your pet’s immune system with immune system supplements

Feed your pet natural, chemical free food as commercial foods increase their risk of infection and weakens the immune system

If you do feed your pet commercial, processed foods, use a prescription diet prescribed by your vet

Walk your dog at least twice a day to increase the frequency of urination

If have an indoor cat, check that his litter box is clean and accessible

Line the litter tray with newspaper and use about a cup of litter at a time, changing it each time it has been used.

Conventional Remedies:

Depending on the type, size, number, and location of the stones, treatment may be different. For example, if the stones are in the urethra or the ureters, surgery is necessary since urinary obstructions can lead to kidney shut down and death.

However, if the stones are in the bladder and they are struvite stones, there are other choices. For example, the stones can be eliminated by feeding your dog a special diet (low in calcium, magnesium and protein) together with dissolving agents in it. These agents will eliminate the stones by dissolving them and causing them to pass through your dog's system.

For dogs with uric acid stones, a diet that is low in purines may be recommended. Purines are found primarily in animal proteins and are metabolized into uric acid in the body.

Purine-rich foods include organ meats (e.g. liver, kidneys), seafood, and legumes.

Calcium oxalate stones cannot be dissolved and the only way to remove them is by surgery, after which supplements may be needed to prevent recurrence.






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