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Dietetic diet: dissolving and decreasing risk of struvite stones (uroliths)

ffelis
Contributor(s):

Marge Chandler


Pathophysiology

  • Struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) is one of the most common uroliths (urinary stones) in dogs and cats Urolithiasis. Especially in the dog, struvite calculi usually follow infection with urease-producing organisms (StaphylococcusProteusor ureaplasma). 
  • Urease is an enzyme that breaks down urea, causing the release of ammonium and bicarbonate ions into the urine. Supersaturation with ammonium ions promotes struvite formation, while the bicarbonate ions alkalinise the urine. Struvite formation is further enhanced by the presence of alkaline urine. 
  • Sterile struvite uroliths may occur in cats in the absence of infection.
  • Healthy cats may have struvite crystals in their urine, and should only be treated if they form stones (uroliths).

Dietary requirements to dissolve or decrease the risk of struvite stones

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Special considerations

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Houston D M, Weese H E, Evason M D et al (2011) A diet with a struvite relative supersaturation less than 1 is effective in dissolving struvite stones in vivo. Br J Nutr 106 (Suppl 1), S90-S92 PubMed.
  • Roudebush P,  Forrester S D, Padgelek T (2010) What is the evidence? Therapeutic foods to treat struvite uroliths in cats instead of surgery. JAVMA 236 (9), 965-966 PubMed.
  • Buffington T (1989) Struvite urolithiasis in cats. JAVMA 194 (1), 7-8 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Bartges J, Kirk C (2007) Nutrition and Urolithiasis. ACVIM Proceedings 2007.
  • Bartges J, Kirk C (2007) Nutrition and Urinary Tract Disease-Myths and Legends. ACVIM Proceedings 2007.
  • Bartges J W, Tarver S L, Schneider C (1998) Comparison of struvite activity product ratios and relative supersaturation in urine collected from healthy cats consuming four struvite management diets. Ralston Purina Nutrition Symposium 1998.

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