Calcium Oxalate Crystals in Dogs

Calcium oxalate crystals are mineral deposits that cause urinary tract infections in pets. Apart from calcium oxalate crystals, dogs are also known to suffer form struvite stones that cause similar urinary tract infections. Pets suffering from calcium oxalate crystals have acidic urine. If these crystals don’t pass out in the urine, they eventually come together and form stones. These stones can then block the urinary passage and cause further complications.

Calcium Oxalate Crystals in Dogs

Calcium oxalate crystals are either made up of calcium oxalate monohydrate or calcium oxalate dehydrate. Dogs that have high amounts of calcium in the blood are at risk of developing calcium oxalate crystals. Although these stones may develop in any dog, certain breeds like Yorkshire Terriers, Shih Tzus and Poodles are at greatest risk of suffering from bladder stones. Research also indicates that male dogs are more likely to suffer from urinary stones than female dogs.

Diagnosis of Calcium Oxalate Crystals

To find out if your dog is suffering from calcium oxalate crystals or stones, the vet will have to perform a urine analysis. In some cases it may be necessary to surgically extract the stone and send it for pathological examination. The vet will then test the pet’s urine to determine its pH balance. Acidic urine or neutral urine is a strong indicator of the presence of urinary stones. Blood tests will also be performed to rule out other underlying ailments.

Treatment of Calcium Oxalate Crystals in Dogs

Although it’s not easy to get rid of calcium oxalate stones or crystals through dietary modification alone, the vet will recommend a diet that has good amounts of calcium, phosphorous and magnesium. The calcium will prevent the dog’s body from absorbing oxalates that are present in the intestines. This will reduce the formation of calcium oxalate crystals.

Apart from this, the vet will also recommend the administration of potassium citrate. Even though potassium citrate can’t eliminate crystals that have already been formed, it can reduce the occurrence of calcium oxalate stones in the future. It makes the pet’s urine less acidic and this can help your pet in the long run.

Surgical Extraction of Calcium Oxalate Stones

Since calcium oxalate stones can obstruct the dog’s urinary tract and cause death, they often have to be removed surgically or flushed back into the pet’s bladder. Once the stone is flushed back to the bladder it can be removed without too many complications.

After the stones are removed, pet owners have to take several precautionary measures to prevent the development of stones in the future. 50 percent of dogs who have suffered from calcium oxalate stones will suffer from recurring bladder stone problems in the future.

Tips for Pet Owners:

  • If the vet prescribes any medication to your dog, you must administer these medicines on time.
  • Follow up vet checks are essential.
  • Make sure you feed your pet foods that don’t make the urine acidic.
  • Avoid giving your pet leftover table scraps and treats.

Dogs suffering from calcium oxalate crystals require special care and attention. You should also give your pet plenty of fresh water every day so that he doesn’t suffer from frequent urinary tract infections.