In November 2009, I wrote a newsletter on Struvite and Calcium Oxalate Crystals and Stones. Struvites are most commonly caused by a urinary tract infection and once the infection is treated, the problem is resolved. In calcium oxalate crystals and stones, a diet modification is needed to reduce the amount of oxalates in the diet. In this article, we will look at Ammonia Urate Stones, caused by an inability to process purines in the diet.
While many breeds may develop this problem, it is most often found in Dalmatians. The Dalmatian Club of America has written numerous articles on purines and diet, and a good article on this can be found here: http://www.thedca.org/fallacy.html
Most veterinarians will recommend a low protein diet, under the assumption that this source is highest in purines, but the above article discusses the need for protein in dogs for growth and health, and also that many carbohydrates (grains and plants) can also be high in purines. The best solution is to research which foods are high in purines and avoid these. The diet should be of good quality proteins, which are the lowest in protein. Carbohydrate sources also need to be low in purines. Charts showing these values can be found here:
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Choose food items from the low purine list, and utilize the proteins found in the moderate purine group. It is best to avoid organ meat, wild game, certain fish (most white fish are fine) and brewer's yeast.
Low purine carbohydrates include white rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, summer squash and pumpkin.
Low purine protein sources include eggs, cottage cheese and yogurt. Moderate purine protein sources are cod, beef muscle meat, chicken, rabbit and turkey.
For a fifty-pound dog, a sample diet would look like this:
- 4 ounces cottage cheese
- 4 ounces cooked chicken
- One egg
- 4 ounces (3/4 cup) white rice
- 6 ounces cooked sweet potato
Using the ingredients listed above, this diet could be varied. Variety is important not only for nutrients, but for the interest of the dog as well.
Here are some additional examples:
- 4 ounces cooked Cod
- 4 ounces plain yogurt
- One egg
- 6 ounces white rice
- 4 ounces steamed potato
Another variation would be:
- 4 ounces beef muscle meat
- 3 scrambled eggs
- 6 ounces cooked EGG noodles
- 2 slices of whole wheat bread
Always remember, dogs prone to purine stones need plenty of water around the clock, Always a moist diet, ample opportunity to urinate during the day and daily exercise. Frequent veterinarian checkups are important to monitor any purine stone development. The diets above can be adjusted if needed depending on the dog. But home cooked diets do need to be at least 50% animal based proteins, as protein is necessary for our dogs, as they are carnivores.
Raw diets can be possible, but it means avoiding organ meat, many types of red meat, and utilizing eggs, yogurt and cottage for a low purine protein ingredient. An excellent article on feeding a raw diet (with adaptions) to a dog prone to purines can be found here:
Trying to Stay Cool?
August can be a hot month for our dogs. It is important to check your dog's ears in either hot and humid or hot and dry weather for yeast infections. The first symptom is often redness in the ears, along with the dog shaking their head or holding one ear up higher than the other. Check the ears frequently for any discharge, which is most commonly dark brown in color. You can clean your dog's ears with a solution of ¾ white vinegar and ¼ alcohol. Do NOT flood the ears, but rather use a small portion and then wipe out any excess. I have also used witch hazel and aloe (Thayer's Witch Hazel and Aloe) for equally good results. The witch hazel stops the itching and cleanses the ear and the aloe vera cools the ear and helps heal any irritated areas.
These same solutions can be used on the feet, or any irritated or itchy areas on your dog. Don't forget, a good oatmeal bath, such as with the PurePet Shampoo, is equally helpful to help get rid of yeast and bacteria on the skin and coat.
Hopefully the next newsletter will bring cooler weather, see you then!