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What is Crystals in the Urine?

Crystals are the building blocks of bladder stones; however, the presence of crystals doesn’t guarantee that bladder stones will develop and crystals may be present in the urine of healthy dogs. Additionally, crystals are a risk factor for kidney stones. Identification of urine crystals is important, as certain types of crystals can indicate certain underlying diseases. Identification can help detect disorders that predispose dogs to develop kidney stones. Certain breeds are more susceptible to certain crystals: Miniature Schnauzers, Yorkshire Terriers, Lhasa Apsos and Miniature Poodles to calcium oxalate; Dachshunds, English Bulldogs and Newfoundlands to cysteine; Dalmations and English Bulldogs to ammonium urate or uric acid; Miniature Schnauzers, Shih Tzus, Bichon Frises, Miniature Poodles, Cocker Spaniels and Lhasa Apsos to struvite crystals.

Crystalluria is the presence of crystals in the urine. Crystals are concentrates of naturally occurring minerals in your dog’s urine. There are different types of crystals, and they can lead to different types of bladder stones: magnesium ammonium phosphate (struvite), calcium oxalate, ammonium urate or uric acid, cysteine, calcium phosphate, and silica.

Crystals in the Urine Average Cost

From 61 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,500

Average Cost

$1,000

Symptoms of Crystals in the Urine in Dogs

In many cases, your pet will not exhibit any symptoms of crystals in the urine. However, you may see the following symptoms of bladder stones, if crystals have advanced into stones:

  • Frequent urination
  • Trouble urinating
  • Irregular urine stream
  • Increased thirst
Types

Different types of crystals can form from different mineral concentrations. Types of urine crystals include:

  • Magnesium ammonium phosphate (struvite)
  • Calcium oxalate
  • Ammonium urate, or uric acide
  • Cysteine
  • Calcium Phosphate
  • Silica
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Causes of Crystals in the Urine in Dogs

Crystals in dog’s urine may be caused by one of the following:

  • A diet of highly processed dog food, and/or foods high in grains and other fillers.
  • Timing of sample collection; for instance, a sample taken after a meal may have higher concentrations than a sample taken during fasting.
  • Imbalanced urine pH.
  • Abnormal concentrations of certain minerals in urine, which can be caused by changes in rate of excretion and urine concentration.
  • Lack of solubility of crystallogenic substances in the urine, or the inability of the minerals that form crystals to dissolve in urine causes them to form.
  • Excretion of diagnostic agents and medications that can affect mineral concentrations in urine.
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Diagnosis of Crystals in the Urine in Dogs

Presence of crystals will be determined by a urinalysis. Your dog’s urine will be tested for its pH and the mineral content will be analyzed. Additionally, samples will be viewed under microscope in order to confirm the type of crystals in your dog’s urine. If stones are suspected, an x-ray or ultrasound may also be performed in order to detect stones.

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Treatment of Crystals in the Urine in Dogs

The presence of crystals in your dog’s urine does not necessarily mean your dog needs medical treatment. Crystals in dog’s urine are a normal part of your dog’s metabolism. However, crystals can form blockages and lead to stones. The veterinarian will determine if your dog needs medical treatment. In some cases, this requires adjusting the pH of your dog’s urine. For instance, struvite crystals are managed by making the urine more acidic, and calcium oxalate crystals are managed by making the urine more alkaline. The pH is adjusted through prescription diet. In all cases, increasing your dog’s consumption of water in order to increase urine volume is recommended. Many prescription diets contained added sodium to increase thirst.

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Recovery of Crystals in the Urine in Dogs

Follow the veterinarian’s recommendation for your dog’s diet. Closely monitor your dog for the development of kidney stones. Take your dog back to the veterinarian when recommended in order to monitor the presence and/or levels of crystals in your dog’s urine. In the case of pH management, obtain strips to test the pH level of your dog’s urine at home, in order to monitor the success of the prescription diet. Most importantly, make sure plentiful, clean water is always available to your dog.

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Crystals in the Urine Average Cost

From 61 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,500

Average Cost

$1,000

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Crystals in the Urine Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Harley

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Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

My male shih tzu is 8 years old and he started peeing blood and dribbling a few weeks ago. I started giving him cranberry as I suspected a UTI and I took a dark yellow urine sample to his vet for a urinalysis, which she said she found an e.coli rod and one crystal. She's prescribed Baytril for a week and a follow-up urinalysis after his round of antibiotics. While on the antibiotics, he almost completely lost his appetite and would barely eat. At his follow-up urinalysis, the vet found no presence of anymore bacteria or UTI, but she found more crystals and recommended x rays and a possible prescription s/d or s/o diet or surgery. The x rays would cost me $200 on top of almost $500 I've already spent on checkups, vaccs, medications, etc. just a few days before I found blood in his urine, so I can't afford them right now. Would it be okay to put him on a prescription diet and monitor his pH levels at hone without the x rays right now? I hate taking a shot in the dark without the x rays, but I'm scared the blood in his urine will come back and the crystals will get worse. He's been off of his antibiotics for a few days now and he's showing no problems with urinating or eating now. His urine is light translucent yellow and he's drinking water regularly. He seems energized and happy, but his crystals aren't gone. What can I do to help him?

July 1, 2018

Harley's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Putting Harley on the S/O diet would be a reasonable alternative treatment for him, as that food maintains a neutral pH. You may be able to manage this problem that way, and the only downside to not having x-rays is that you won't know if there is a stone that is causing this problem. Male dogs are prone to urinary blockages if they do have bladder stones, so you'll need to monitor him for any signs of difficulty urinating, as well, just in case.

July 1, 2018

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M

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Golden Retriever

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6 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Urination Pain
Urination Pain Crysta

Took our 6 month old golden to get neutered. There was no overnight care, I was told he was taken out but he did urinate in his kennel vet. When picked up he was excited and urinated dark in the vet office. Tested positive for blood and crystals. 2 days later no blood but crystals are still there. I assume they did not walk him (good assumption???) Now he pees and ties again soon as he is done with a few more drops. Cranberry pils and more water ??? They said they can do a culture and I will pay more. But wasn’t this something they cause by not attending to my dog overnight ? Any other solutions?

May 2, 2018

M's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

I'm not sure if he had any signs of an infection in addition to the crystals in his urinalysis, but he may need antibiotic therapy. One night of withholding urine in a healthy 6 month old dog should not cause dramatic changes, but there may be some inflammation related to the surgery. It would be a good idea to call your veterinarian, see if there were signs of infection, and monitor him for improvement.

May 2, 2018

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Wall-e

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miniature poodle

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11 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Refuses To Eat

Hello, I have a small poodle, spayed Male. Recently diagnosed with crystals in his urine and prescribed Hills c/d and prescribed 68mg Baytril. He refuses to eat the prescribed food neither the wet or dry food. He has no problems urinating, but urine does come out dark. What can I do to make my pet eat his food?

April 22, 2018

Wall-e's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Sometimes, we need out pets to eat something, and they just refuse. You can try warming up the canned food, or adding a little bit of boiled chicken breast to it in the very short term to try and make it more palatable for him. If he still won't eat it, there are other options for urinary diets, and your veterinarian can recommend another brand that he may like better. I hope that he cooperates and recovers soon.

April 22, 2018

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Tiny

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English Bulldog

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine

We have an English bulldog, he has blood in urine. We took him to the emergency and they found kidney stone in his xray. The vet told us they will test if it is struvite or calcium oxalate. After 2days they called and they didn't see which stone. They suggested to just perform surgery. I'm worried because we don't know what kind of stone he has. What if that stone is struvite which can be dissolved and doesn't need surgery? He is eating and acting fine.

April 15, 2018

Tiny's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Normally there are crystals in the urine which when viewed under a microscope would indicate the type of stone present; you should also your Veterinarian for urinalysis to determine if dietary change and possibly a supplement may help compared with surgery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 16, 2018

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Blu

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French Bulldog

dog-age-icon

15 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Bladder Stones

There is any scientific study about intact dogs and Bladder stones? my dog just had surgery to remove bladder stones and the vet want to castrate him. Will improve his chances of not having more stones? Thanks!

Feb. 15, 2018

Blu's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. While I'm not aware of any bladder stones that occur in intact males, those dogs are typically more prone to infections and prostate problems than neutered males, and those complications can cause certain types of stones. I'm not sure what type of stones Blu had, but if your veterinarian is wanting to neuter him to prevent recurrence, it might be best to take their advice.

Feb. 15, 2018

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Maggie

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Zuchon

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Dark Urine

I have a dog that doesn't like to drink water, how much do they need to stay hydrated? Her urine is extremely dark. I put some water in her wet food, I've added a little low sodium chicken broth to her water, ice cubes,chicken broth ice cubes,5 mLs of water through out the day. Liver shunt 1 y ago on ID Prescription food

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Slash

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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Serious severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine
Lethargy
Straining To Urinate
Thirsty

Slash was diagnosed with a UTI and Struvite Crystals in April its been 6 months now. He's been on homeopathy and some antibiotics in the middle. Now for the past three days there is blood in the urine when hes about to finish voiding. His PH 08 and keeps fluctuating between 7 and 8. Currently has bacteria Present in his urine Knowns as - Pseudomonas spp. Now the tricky bit is Slash is sensitive to Penicillin and Cephalosporin. The injection Prescribed by the doctor is costing me 2500INR about 35$ each shot. i know it does not sound much to the people in the US but in india thats a lot. This drug is Gentamycin. The other options were according to the urine culture were Cefoperazone tazobactum & Meropenem. But apparently Slash is sensitive to these drugs too. My Vet gave him the first shot today and has asked me to get this shot repeated once every 24 hours for the next 3 - 5 days and then repeat the Urine Routine. ( which i have been doing every 15 days, Ive spent a lot of money on them with same results). AS of his current reports - Ph- 08 , Pus Cells - 30-35 Hpf , RBC 20-25 , Epithelial cells 2-3hpf , Protein - Trace , Crystals - Struvite Crystals**** . I have also got an Ultrasound of him which shows crystals in Both his kidneys and Prostate. Could you please help me here. He has been on Hills S/O & later S/D Dry food 6 months and counting, Limcee 500mg - 5 months and counting, Indian Medicine called URI Pet Mixed with Cranberry Juice & Homeopathy Medicine.

Crystals in the Urine Average Cost

From 61 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,500

Average Cost

$1,000

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