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Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 29957
Experience:  UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
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Hi, My dog recently had a test and it was found that

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My dog recently had a urine test and it was found that she has a urine pH of 8, and amorphous phosphate crystals (I think the vet said she did not have too many, but I am not totally sure). She does not have any infection present. She is a Miniature Poodle (possibly mixed with either Maltese or Shih Tzu), is just over 3 years old, and has an underbite.

My question concerns what I should do to address this urinary issue; should I feed her a Hill's prescription diet, get cranberry supplements, a urinary acidifier, or just take her out to pee more often, etc. (other suggestions of yours are welcome too)? Before the vet knew she had these crystals, he was really pushing for her to be on the Hill's prescription diet called "t/d" (specially designed for oral health) as she has some plaque (which they sell at their clinic, which made me kind of suspicious as I have heard a lot of vets push this diet for the cut backs they get). He *really* pushed the food over dog toothpaste, the latter of which I would rather use. He was also saying that Hill's is nutritionally the best (and other things like that), but it just doesn't add up for me when looking at the ingredients. Then when we got the lab results back, he said that the Hill's diet he gave me would do the job of helping with her crystals. This made me sort of confused as that diet does not specifically address urinary issues (according to the website and the Hill's representative I called). I don't know if he simply forgot which Hill's diet he gave to me, or if the amorphous phosphate crystals she has are not really an issue that needs particular addressing. So if the Hill's diet is the way to go, should I keep her on the t/d or get her onto the one that specifically addresses urinary health issues?

If I put her on Hill's, do I have to keep her on it indefinitely? Because she has really done well on more holistic dog foods (ie. ones where the ingredients actually sound good), and I have not heard the best of reviews about Hill's. If I do not have to keep her on Hill's after this issue clears up, what dog food would you recommend? I've heard great things about Orijen and Acana and would possibly like to give those a try. Would those two be suitable for keeping away crystals?

Thanks! :)

Welcome! My name isXXXXX am a UC Davis graduate, and currently, a Medical Director of a veterinary hospital.

I am sorry to hear about this concern.
Guess what?
You do not do anything. Why?

Well, you said amorphous phosphate. You did not say calcium oxalate or struvite. STruvite tend to form when the urine pH is too high. Calcium oxalate when the urine pH is too low. But, amorphous phosphate is often a artifact and not significant. Many times, urine sits for a few hours in a fridge, before it is sent out to a lab for analysis, and then sometimes, there aer further delays before it is evaluated. As a result, sometimes, these crystals form in the urine sample.

So, my only suggestion would be to repeat the urine test in 2-3 weeks, and see if the vet can evaluate it themselves in the hospital. if not, that is okay. Just have them send it out to the lab and request a faster review of the sample.

Forget about vets pushing T/D and getting money for it. if lucky, a vet makes 15-20% at most. Food in a veterinary hospital is more of a client convenience. For the space it takes, it really is not that profittable.

So, right now, based on the type of crystal present, there may be no indication to even change the diet or acidify the urine yet.

No food brand is particularly better at preventing crystals. Crystals form only as a result of how the food alters the urine pH and maybe a few other parameters. So, even a garbage food like pedigree may not form any crystals at all. Acana and Orijen are fine, so is wellness, or Hill's Ideal Balance.

Please let me know if there is anything I did not cover for you. I hope that information has been helpful.
Please remember to select Reply to Expert, if for any reason you need further clarification, have more questions, or were expecting a different type of answer. Please, hold off providing your feedback rating until you have asked all your questions. My goal is to try and provide you the best answer possible.
Dr. Andy

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Great, thank you so much for all your help! I'm glad to know that I don't need to be overly worried. And thank you for clearing up my suspicions regarding the clinic-sold pet food. I really like my vet so it's nice to know that he isn't pushing it for money.

You are very welcome.
Good Luck!

Dr. Andy

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