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Uti From Diet?

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Hi, I'm new here as a member, but have lurked for awhile as a reader.


My male grey has had a recurrent UTI that we have noticed may be related to a change in his food, since the dietary timing fits. The vet said not possible, but there seems to be some anecdotal corroboration to this out there on the web.


Has anyone else had any experience with UTIs corresponding to a switch to a higher mineral/lower sodium food?


I don't want to get into brand wars, but since switching him to a grain free food, which has higher minerals and lower sodium, he has had a UTI that seems to return shortly after the antibiotics runs their course.


The logic behind the theory is that lower sodium causes the dog to drink less, and urinate less frequently (anti-stone rx foods are high in sodium to encourage more drinking and dilution of urine), and the higher mineral content raises the ph of the urine, which encourages stones. The stones and UTI can be a sort of chicken/egg thing, apparently.


I am going to switch him back to a more mainstream food to see what happens. He doesn't handle changes to his diet very well, but nothing else seems to be working.

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Can you just add water to his kibble?


My boy technically hasn't had a food change, but he had a UTI that we discovered last week. He usually gets some water added to his kibble, but a couple of days before the UTI, he suddenly had a diarrhea episode (in nearly two years with me, this is only the second time he's had diarrhea). He spent a day on chicken and rice, then rice and pumpkin, then kibble and pumpkin, and I wasn't adding water to any of those meals. I think that's what triggered the UTI. Water was available, but he wasn't drinking it.


Once the vet confirmed the UTI, we started antibiotics, but he still wasn't drinking anything more than the little bit of water I put in his kibble. I decided to change things up: I fed him about half his regular kibble in a bowl with lots of water. He had to drink his way down to get to the kibble. An hour or two later, he got the rest of his kibble--and more water. Fortunately, I work from home, so I could get him outside as often as needed.


He clearly was feeling better within the first 12 hours, and while he'd had one dose of the antibiotic, I'm betting it was the water that made him feel better. He finishes his antibiotic today, and I'm going to keep adding extra water to his kibble.


The virtue of adding more water is that you can stick with your current food, and your boy won't have to tolerate a change in diet.

Edited by KF_in_Georgia

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I add about a half cup of water to his 2 cups of food, both meals. I just worry that that will be a half cup of water less that he drinks from his bowl.


I'm switching to a new vet, so maybe I'll up the food water and hold off on the food switch for now, so I'm not changing more than one thing at a time.

I wonder if your boy's episode was connected to his UTI? Maybe from cleaning back to front, so to speak.

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Have you done a sterile culture to make sure you are treating with the right ABs?


Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Yes. Although what the vet and I evenutually figured out was that Brandi wasn't so much getting a UTI as UTI-like symptoms because her entire system was inflamed by the kibble. We switched to a raw diet with vitamin B and the problems basically went away.

This is similar to what I experienced with my Nadir. There were specific foods that he was sensitive to and that would lead to increased urination and UTI like symptoms. It started with rice, but over time he also had these symptoms with many other foods. For me it was a no brainer that the food was the cause because whenever I started eliminating a specific food from his diet the symptoms would resolve within a few days.

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Have you done a sterile culture to make sure you are treating with the right ABs?


We did one this time and on visit number 4 with the old vet, but the results aren't in his file for some reason. The new vet said definitely switch the food. He looks at the old vets paperwork and said she should have recommended this by the second visit and did a swab. The first three antibiotics were basically the same type under three different names.


Frida, my other grey, has been on the same shredded chicken diet from her rescue and has had no problems at all, but that food gives Carlos the squirts and he has been upgraded a few times since his rescue days.


So one vet says definitely no to the food contributing and the other vet says yes like it's common knowledge. 99% of the info I could find on my own was on food-bashing webs.


Can anyone recommend a good middle of the road non-chicken/corn and non-grain-free food? He is transitioning to S/D then on to his new food.

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He is super sensitive to any changes in his diet, and has done well on a kibble diet for years, so I want to stay with something very uniform. Even old standbys like pumpkin, peas or yogurt give him the runs. When I shifted him away from chicken and corn, it had to be so gradual. I thought a game meat grain free food would be good, but then he started getting the crystals. This S/D canned looks like it is 90% rice, but he is tolerating it better than the kennel food he was on when I got him. At least it is just short term to see if the crystals clear up. I've had a few people recommend lamb based foods, but it's such an ordeal to switch him that I want to be sure that it will be once and done.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Test results back were negative for infection. The diagnosis is that he had irritation from crystals forming due to the high alkalinity from high mineral, low sodium food. The old vet was supposed to fax over the other culture results but "can't find them" apparently.



After a week on S/D, his urine was clear and I have been transitioning him onto Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb and Rice. He is "firming up" as the transition becomes more kibble, which is a good sign for him, and is showing no signs of irritation of the UT. Free catch tomorrow and drop off to the vet to look for new crystals, and again in two weeks to make sure - no charge, because the new vet is documenting the case.


He thinks because Carlos is so reactive to changes in diet, he is very sensitive to dietary ingredients, which also explains his bouts of IBS during food changes, or from mainstream treats. Apparently about 50% of greys are like this, with the low body fat being a contributing factor, because other similar breeds show the same tendencies. Not all are, so genetics are the other half of the mix.


Frida still eats the rescue kibble, counter surfs, has eaten rawhides, milk bones, and a tray or two of pickles without so much as a hiccup. She is still her racing weight and you can set your clock to her movements. She shares no ancestry with Carlos for at least 8 generations. Neither dog has been to the vet for illness or injury outside of Carlos UT problems which just started this year. None of my other dogs had significant dietary issues either.


I will update on the tests and on the new food if anyone is interested.

Edited by GreytXpctations
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