What Causes Crystals in Dogs Urine?

Written by heather vecchioni
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What Causes Crystals in Dogs Urine?
Crystals found in a dog's urine can potentially cause problems. (dogs look image by muro from Fotolia.com)

Crystals in your dog's urine may not cause any issues, but they may form together to build bladder stones if a urinary infection is present. Dogs that have crystals will often display signs of urinary distress, such as frequent urination or blood in the urine. A simple urinalysis can detect crystals in the urine and often, the crystals are eliminated and managed with special diets and antibiotics. It is possible to prevent the crystals from forming if the cause is known.

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Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections of the bladder can cause the formation of crystals in the urine. If the infected urine becomes alkaline, which means it is higher than 7 on the pH scale, it creates an environment in which struvite crystals are formed. Bacterial infections in the bladder can produce the enzyme urease. When the urease reacts with other elements in the urine, such as ammonia and carbon dioxide, struvite crystals are often formed.

Genetics

Genetics may play a role in the formation of urine crystals. PetEducation.com states that the genetically-controlled physiology of some animals causes their bodies to produce higher than normal levels of the substances that cause the development of urinary crystals. There is no way to determine which individual dog or line may be predisposed to this condition.

Improper Diet

Crytals can form if the mineral content in a dog's diet is not appropriate. If a high concentration of crystals is found in the urine, the chances of stone formation are increased. The concentration of crystals within the urine is affected by the mineral and protein levels in the dog's diet, the animal's metabolism and how much water the dog drinks. The crystals will typically irritate the bladder wall and cause bleeding. The crystals will then form together with the blood and mucus and form the bladder stones. A dog that has crystals and stones in the urine and bladder may be placed on a diet that will prevent them from reoccurring.

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