CYSTINURIA DIET IntroductionFormulated for Adult Dogs
This diet has been formulated by
Jeni Boniface firstname.lastname@example.org
and Trina Nowak email@example.com,
to assist dogs
diagnosed with cystinuria. We are not veterinarians; we cannot and do not presume
to diagnose your dog. We are animal nutritionists and consultants. It is our
sincere hope that by making an informed choice to use this diet, you will find
that it will greatly assist in decreasing cystinuria-related symptoms in your dog.
However, we cannot guarantee that by feeding this diet, your dog will not develop
complications associated with cystinuria. The goal is to reduce the likelihood of
occurrence of cystine stone formation. To achieve the maximum potential of this diet,
it is imperative that you not substitute or vary the ingredients or proportions
outside of the ranges given here. You may share this diet protocol with others,
with the provision that all the text is kept intact, including this disclaimer.
We urge you to proceed only after discussion with your veterinary care professionals.
Additional information on diet can be found at the following web sites:
Cystinuria is an inherited, metabolic disorder. The affected individual has an impaired capacity for reabsorption of the amino acid, cystine, in the kidney tubules. Because cystine is not reabsorbed by the kidneys, it becomes a part of the kidneys’ product: urine. Therefore, cystinuric individuals have an excess of cystine in their urine. Most of the time, this excess cystine is simply excreted in the urine. Because cystine is one of the sulfur-containing amino acids, the urine may have a characteristic "rotten egg" odor.
As long as cystine stays in solution in the urine, it will be excreted without incident. It is when excessive cystine in the urine is not excreted that it becomes problematic. Sometimes, cystine will precipitate, or solidify, forming stones. You may also see stones referred to as crystals, uroliths, or calculi; these are interchangeable terms. Cystine stones can cause problems for the person or animal affected, by blocking the urethra, bladder, or kidney. This results in prevention or slowing of urination. There may be straining to pass the urine, and there may be blood in the urine. Some individuals will pass the actual stones, if they are small enough to be passed instead of causing blockage. In severe cases, the blockages can lead to rupture of the bladder or kidney, which may even be fatal.
There are three methods of control for cystinuria.
GOAL OF THIS DIET
There are many types of urine stones that can develop in people and animals. Cystine stones behave differently from other types of urinary stones (for example, struvite) in that they tend to form when their environment (the urine) is acidic (low pH). Therefore, our goal in modifying the diet of an affected individual is to alkalinize, or raise, the pH of the urine. This creates an environment where the excess cystine will be less likely to form into stones, and more likely to be excreted as part of the urine solution.
How do we control the pH of the urine? Well, the pH is largely influenced by the diet consumed. Generally speaking, high-protein diets, based on large quantities of meats, lead to acidic urine. Low-protein diets, based more on plant materials, lead to alkaline urine. This diet is designed to balance the proportions of meat and vegetables, such that the dogs’ requirement for protein is met, but not vastly exceeded. We have also carefully chosen the included food items based on their analyzed cystine and methionine content, selecting those with the least amount of these amino acids.
Another way to trick the urine into becoming more alkaline is to use what are called buffering agents. These are substances that will react in the digestive system and internal organs, to de-acidify, or "buffer" the urine components. This results in maintaining the pH at a higher level, thereby preventing stone formation. This diet offers the option of mixing some buffering agents into the food. The most common one is plain old baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Some of the other recommended supplements, such as special forms of vitamin C, also serve to help control the urine pH.
As you read through the actual diet below, it may be helpful to refer to this background information, so that the diet will make sense to you. Please also feel free to discuss the concepts presented here with your own veterinary health care professional, and proceed with his or her knowledge, and (hopefully) support. You may also contact either of us by email, to answer further questions or comments.
Thank you for reading this introductory material, and including it when sharing this diet with others. It is important to understand, as best we can, what is going on inside the bodies of our pets. This enables us to provide the best care we know how to give to them. Cystinuria can be controlled and managed; it need not mean illness or early death for your dog. It is not recommended to breed affected dogs, since this is a genetic condition. There is current research being conducted on cystinuric dogs, in an attempt to map the genes responsible and perhaps find a way to prevent its inheritability one day in the future.