Purine containing food is essential in the canine and feline diet as it breaks down into uric acid in the body. This uric acid is then passed out of their bodies in the form of urine. Because of conditions like kidney failure and other kidney related problems, the uric acid can build up excessively in the body, leading to diseases like gout and urinary problems. Therefore, for those pet companions who need to watch out for uric acid content in their body, low purine food is recommended. This applies to cats as well as dogs. When purine is eaten by your pet, it is converted into allantonin (one of its by-product).  Unfortunately, some pets cannot break down the uric acid which is derived from purine into allantonin and require low purine foods so as to reduce the formation of uric acid which can lead to kidney stones in their body. Not only kidney, stones can be formed even in urethra or urinary bladder which can cause irritation to your companion. In rare cases, it might even stop the flow of urine completely, causing a lot of pain and sometimes even death.


Urate or purine stones

Urate or purine stones are the most common urinary stones. They contain ammonium acid urate, sodium urate, or uric acid. Only 6 to 8 percent of all uroliths are urate or purine stones, but their presence in certain breeds is significant. Black RussianTerriers, Dalmatians, English Bulldogs, Miniature Schnauzers and Shih Tzus develop urates because of a genetic metabolic abnormality. Feeding these breeds processed food can lead to trouble much quicker than with other breeds.  The Miniature Schnauzers and Yorkshire Terriers do so as a result of their tendency to have portosystemic shunts, which are abnormal blood vessels that bypass the liver, predisposing dogs to urate stones. These stones can form in dogs of any age, from very young puppies to seniors, but the most common age for forming urates is 1 to 4 years.


A correct diagnosis and identification of type is a crucial first step in treating and preventing uroliths in all breeds.The culprits in urate stone formation are purines, a type of organic base found in the nucleotides and nucleic acids of plant and animal tissue. As dietary purines degrade, they form uric acid, which is best known in human medicine for its connection to gout, a sharply painful form of arthritis. In susceptible dogs, purines trigger the formation of urate uroliths.


Urate stones are radiolucent – meaning they cannot be identified in abdominal X‑rays – so their diagnosis is often made by the use of ultrasound, contrast dye X-rays, or analysis of urinary crystals or stones that were collected or removed.


Treating and preventing urate stones

The best way to keeping urate-forming in your pets that either have had stones or are susceptible to creating them is to feed them a low-purine diet. Without the eccess purines in their diet that trigger urate stone formation, even susceptible dogs can lead normal lives.


Given that urate stones develop in acidic urine, an added prevention strategy is to feed a natural whole foods diet that have an alkalizing effect. WHen creating or selecting a recipe remember meat is an acidifying food while most fruits and vegetables have an alkalizing effect. Vegetarian dog foods are sometimes recommended for this reason.  foods that use soy as a protein source are inappropriate for dogs who are prone to forming urate stones because soy is high in purines. However, soy-free vegetarian foods could be used as a base to which eggs, yogurt, cheese, small amounts of meat and other low-purine protein sources are added. Sweet potatoes, kale, cottage cheese, turkey, and eggs might also be appropriate for dogs with hyperuricosuria (excessive amounts of uric acid in the urine). Avoid mixes that contain a lot of alfalfa, oats, barley, or other foods that are high in purines.


Urate stones can be dissolved with a combination of a low-purine diet, urine alkalization, decrease inflammation and control of any secondary infections. The target range of urine pH during dissolution is 7.0 to 7.5. Care must be taken not to alkalize too much, making the urine pH higher than 7.5, because that can lead to the formation of calcium phosphate stones or shells around urate stones, making them difficult or impossible to dissolve.


On average, it takes about 3 months for stones to dissolve using allopurinol in combination with a low-purine diet and urinary alkalizination, but it can take as little as one month or as long as 12 months. As stones become smaller, they may move into the urethra and cause obstruction.


Monitoring urine pH

Urinary pH can be monitored using test strips with the goal of maintaining a neutral (7.0) pH in dogs prone to urate stones. Test strips can be held in the urine stream or urine can be collected in a paper cup, bowl, or other container for testing. Collecting the urine makes it possible to check for tiny stones or gritty “gravel” that the dog might be passing as well as any blood, pus, or other indications of infection. The recommended testing time is first thing in the morning, before feeding.


If there is a change in urinary pH it doesn't indicate the presence or absence of stones but can reveal conditions that are more or less likely to trigger stone production and will show the effect of dietary changes on the dog’s pH.


A sudden jump in pH could be a signal of a bacterial infection, which requires medical attention. It’s important to control urinary tract infections in dogs prone to forming stones. If urine remains acidic and crystalluria (the formation of urinary crystals) persists, alkalizing agents such as potassium citrate or sodium bicarbonate can be added.


PNS Low-purine diet

Reducing purines in your pets pet's food is an effective way to reduce the risk of urate stones. Veterinarians often recommend switching urate-forming dogs to a processed low-protein diet that they sell. However, it is not the quantity of protein that causes urate problems; it’s the type of protein, how that protein is processed and nutrient defeciency of these types of diet that assures the failure of most of these food products.


Low-protein diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies when fed to adult dogs for long periods of time, and they are not appropriate for puppies and pregnant or nursing females at all. For this reason we strong recommend that you seek an experience nutritionist that shows an interest in getting your urinary test and vet visit reports to make needed changes to the over all diet. Many amature nutritionist or dog care gurus concentrate on the aliment to the exclusion of the bio-nutritional balance of the whole body.  


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