My 12 year old pug was diagnosed with having struvite stones in her bladder. Given her age and the fact that she is a pug we are very hesitant to proceed with surgery to remove them. The vet has recommended a prescription dog feed that could potentially dissolve the stones. I'm not a big fan of the prescription dog food as we have had her on that before. I'm wondering if anyone else has dealt with these and what can be done to adjust the diet to prevent them in the future other than the prescription diets.
Depending on how big the stones are, sometimes medical management WONT dissolve them and they will cause an obstruction. If they are just small stones or crstals often diet can. I would personally use a prescription diet as they are designed for those purposes, but if you are against it...sure try another food (what is she currently getting), or add a pH buffer. There are many differen types/brands of prescription diets (pH control, Dissolution, C/D, S/D etc. depending on the type of stones you have). I would also check out other brands of food and compare, you may find something more palatable. Monitor for any signs of stranguria (difficulty urinating), as this is a sign they need surgery ASAP.
If you dont want to do surgery, lithotripsy is a possibility depending on her size.
My dog gets struvite stones and we put her on ascorbic acid 250mg twice a day to help keep her urine pH lower. The vets recommended this as a cheap/easy first step to try before proceeding with special foods etc. because she also has food allergies and we weren't sure if we would be able to compromise (as in the speical diet foods might not meet her allergy needs). We buy chewable human tabs and she thinks they are a "treat." So far we are 2 years now with no further stones but she still does maintain a higher than normal urinary pH (before ascorbic acid - ~pH often 8-9, now with it she's more 5-6). Not clear if this will be a full fix but has worked so far. You might ask your vet what they would think about that. I'm not sure if it's for everyone though.
The two pugs that I foster (their mom is in the military) are both on Royal Canin Urinary SO because of bladder stones. One has been on it for a couple of years, and the other for just about a year. So far, so good....
On my pug list, they were talking about bladder stones, and someone said their vet suggested giving them only filtered water because the water where they lived was very hard. I'd never thought about it, but makes sense.
My newly adopted Keeshond had the surgery just a month after I got her. The vet gave me one vial of the stones in her bladder -- she sent the other vial off for testing. Unless your vet thinks your pug really wouldn't make it through the surgery, I'd go for it. My poor girl was peeing blood and must have been in so much pain, but she remained so good natured. Those stones looked exactly the same as the ones in my driveway ...