Oxalate Stone Diet, for Treating Kidney Or Bladder Oxalate Stones

David McCluggage, D.V.M., C.V.A.

Bladder and especially kidney stones are very serious. You should always have your companion animal seen by your local veterinarian if you suspect bladder or kidney stones. In addition, WellVet.com believes that this is an excellent example of where complementary medicine can offer a great deal of support. Traditional Chinese Medicine seems especially helpful, as does homeopathy.

You will find examples of products that might be beneficial for your animal listed in the diets below. However, the exact herbs and supplements will vary by the case. You may wish to individualize therapy for your animal. For phone consult information, click here.

The "classic" oxalate-preventing diet is essentially a vegetarian diet, filled with low or moderate oxalate containing foods. At WellVet.com, we believe that only animals that have repeatedly produced oxalate stones, or animals that are strongly genetically predisposed to oxalate stones, should be on a diet devoid of meat. Many animals that develop oxalate stones have been previously placed on diets that artificially lower (acidify) the body's pH because of a prior incident of cystitis (for example, cats with FLUTD also called FUS).

We believe that vegetarian diets will lead to other problems, and that stones can be prevented with moderate amounts of meat, limiting foods that produce oxalates and calcium, and increasing the amount of magnesium in the diet. Magnesium helps stop oxalate stones from developing - even when the pH is incorrect and the calcium levels are excessive. Vitamin D should also be restricted to minimal amounts, as Vitamin D will tend to produce calcium deposits throughout the body, including the kidneys. Even marginally excessive levels of Vitamin D, in animals that tend to produce oxalate stones, can lead to more oxalate crystals that can form into stones in the kidney and bladder.

Vitamin C should not be supplemented in the diet for these animals, as it can be converted to oxalates in the kidneys. Vitamin C will also produce more acidity in the urine, also producing more problems.

Testing Urine For Alkalinity

To help prevent oxalate stones, we need to keep the urine pH more alkaline. Urine should be tested for its acidity or alkalinity using a test called "pH." A pH test showing 7.0 (neutral) or higher (above 7.0 means the urine is more alkaline) is the goal. Your companion animal should have urine pH tests done routinely. We recommend acquiring litmus paper strips and testing the urine yourself frequently. You can buy pH test paper at your local pharmacist.

Adding aluminum free baking soda to the diet at about 1/16-1/4 teaspoon per meal, well mixed into the meal, will often keep the pH in the neutral to alkaline range.

How To Make The Diet

All portions are in a rough volume percent of the total amount fed. This allows for variation by size without worrying about cups, teaspoons, and other measuring devices. Portions can be made up daily and added together at mealtime. Be sure to allow the meal to cool sufficiently before serving.

  • 25% (30% in cats) of each meal should be meat. The type of meat should be varied from time to time, such as:

  • Fish - Fresh Tuna (not canned) is excellent, but any fresh or fresh- frozen fillet is good, including Salmon

    Turkey - boneless

The meats should be cooked just before being fed, and the portion will need to equal 25-30% of the total amount of food in the bowl. Cook the meat to a medium point, but do not overcook. While cooking, add extra water. Stir enough of this extra water into the meal once all ingredients have been added to make a stew-like consistency.

  • 20% of the meal should be a carbohydrate

  • Oatmeal or wheat
    White long grain rice

These should be cooked fairly well, but not "mushy". There are valuable minerals, including magnesium, in the skin, so the entire potato is fed, including the skin. The beans and rice can be cooked several days ahead of time and used as each meal is prepared. Beans (legumes) should be cooked fresh, not from canned beans. Canned beans will have higher levels of potentially toxic minerals such as zinc. You can prepare the beans by buying dried beans, soaking them overnight, then cooking them for about 30-45 minutes at a gentle rolling boil (cook until soft, but not falling apart).

  • 50% the diet should be varied, almost daily, and include:

  • Eggs - no more than once a week; remove the shell
    Carrots - can be fed raw or cooked, but leave the peel
    Green beans
    Squash (cooked)
  • 5% of the diet should be cottage cheese, which provides a moderate but essential amount of calcium. NO other dairy products should be added, as they will increase the calcium level too much.

  • To each meal add:

  • One high-quality multivitamin per meal. We recommend: Rx Essentials for Dogs or Rx Essentials for Cats

    1/2 to 3 capsules of a magnesium citramate supplement. Cats and small dogs should be given 1/2 capsule. Increase a dog's dose based on size, where the largest of dogs would get 3 capsules per meal.

    A small pinch of table salt or sodium chloride. Do NOT use iodine- supplemented salt.

    1/4 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Again, cats and small dogs receive the smallest dose, and the largest dogs the maximum dose

  • For Cats, in addition, add:

  • Taurine to the diet to prevent heart disease

WellVet.com also recommends appropriate Chinese herbal formulas. One we commonly recommend to our clients is called Lysimmachia 3 combined with Six Flavored Teapills

To optimize your animal's treatment plan, consider calling for a phone consult.