Renal Calculi

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Info & Treatments for Kidney Stones & Kidney Disease

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Urine is a solution. It is composed of water with various waste products dissolved in it after being filtered from the bloodstream by the kidneys. Normally, the waste products are fully dissolved in the water and results in urine of normal appearance, transparent and light yellow in color. Sometimes, however, urine can become supersaturated with any of several substances, causing them to precipitate as crystals suspended in the water.


This happens to normal urine over time after it is separated from the body. When it appears in a fresh urine sample, it may be a sign of several different problems.

Tests


Microscopic analysis of a urine sample is used to detect the presence of
crystals in urine. If crystals are present in the urine, it is not considered an automatic sign of medical problems, and further diagnostic tests may be required. Some of the causes of crystal formation in urine include dehydration, abnormal pH, and a diet high in protein. If the condition persists, it may be an indicator of risk for kidney stones.

Symptoms


The only symptom of urinary crystals is urine that is cloudy in appearance. The cloudiness is a result of undissolved solids (usually crystalline) suspended in the urine. Crystals in urine may be a symptom of other problems, but is not in itself considered an illness.


Continued below....

Cats And Dogs


The presence of urinary crystals in cats and dogs can be an indicator of serious illness. In cats, it's a diagnostic symptom of feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). Although this illness can in rare cases be caused by a bacterial infection, it is much more commonly a result of diet. Today's commercial diets for cats control the intake of magnesium and add ingredients to lower the blood and urinary pH to prevent this disease. The disorder can result in complete urinary blockage, which is fatal if untreated, so it is best to catch it before symptoms appear.

The problem is usually less severe in dogs than cats. Dogs can suffer from urinary stones just like humans, though, and the condition is treated the same way (medication or surgery). Diet is also used to control the formation of urinary crystals and stones, as it is in cats. When crystals do appear in the urine of dogs, the condition warrants a modified diet to reduce mineralization and lower the urinary pH.

Infants


Crystals may appear in the wet diapers of newborn infants. This precipitate is different from ordinary urinary crystals, being reddish-brown in color and sometimes mistaken for blood in the urine. It's perfectly normal in the first few days after birth, however, being common in babies being fed mainly on colostrum (the high concentrated form of breast milk that comes in the first few days after birth, being replaced thereafter by normal milk). It is not a cause for concern unless it persists past about the first week.

Treatment


As noted above, urinary crystals in humans are not considered a disease in themselves. However, the condition can indicate other problems, such as the formation of kidney stones, which warrant monitoring and, should other symptoms appear, treatment. Modification of the diet to eliminate the cause of crystal formation is usually indicated. This can be as simple as drinking more water (rehydration), or more complex such as dietary modification to reduce the amount of protein intake. Should kidney stones form, the result is often severe pain and potential damage to the kidneys. At minimum this requires treatment for pain and monitoring. Stones will often pass without treatment. Larger stones can sometimes be shattered using ultrasonic pulse treatment, or in the most extreme cases be removed surgically.

Crystals In Urine

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