Why Are There Struvite Crystals In My Dog's Urine?
Why Are There Struvite Crystals In My Cat's Urine?
To see what normal blood and urine values are for your pet, go here
For an explanation of causes of most abnormal blood and urine tests go here
To see how tests are often grouped, go here
Ron Hines DVM PhD
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When Struvite Crystals Are Seen Under The Microscope In Your Pet's Urine
This entry in lab values in many respects duplicates the one on crystals in your pet’s urine.
At one time, struvite crystals (aka magnesium ammonium phosphate or triple phosphate) were the most common urinary tract stones (calculi) occurring in dogs and cats. They were particularly bothersome when they formed the sandy, gritty material that plugged up male cats (FUS) so frequently and the large bladders stones that caused urgency and pain in female dogs.
Struvite crystals tend to form when your pet’s urine is not acidic enough and when it is overly concentrated as a result of the dog or cat not drinking enough water throughout the day. Although unproven, many veterinarians associate the feeding of dry dog and cats chows with the chronic dehydration and concentrated urine conducive to urinary tract stones.
Reason Why Your Pet Might Form Struvite Crystals In Its Urine :
The fact that your veterinarian observes fine struvite crystals in your dog’s urine is not necessarily a sign of disease or that problems will occur in the future. I find it more worrisome when they are seen in the fresh urine of cats.
Not enough liquids consumed during the day is probably the most common cause for those benign (not important) struvite crystals be observed in your dog or cat ’s urine. They are even more likely to be seen when the urine sample sat too long – particularly at room temperature - before being examined.
A basic pH urine is conducive (encourages) to struvite crystal formation. That would be urine with a pH greater than 7. Dogs and cats with basic urine generally have a urinary tract infections with bacteria that split (urease-positive bacteria) urine urea in to more basic, ammonia.
It might also be possible for pets forced to eat a bizarre vegan-type diet that supplied only plant proteins to produce basic urine that was more likely to precipitate struvite crystals. Those would be diets that rely primarily on soy protein and beans rather than meat to meet the pet’s protein requirements - never a good idea.
Complementary Tests :
Compete urinalysis, CBC/WBC and blood chemistry panel, urine bacterial culture, review of diet and adequacy of liquids consumed during the day. If urinary urgency or difficulties are already present, bladder/kidney x-rays