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  1. #1
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    Default Calcium Oxalate Dihydrate crystals in Urine

    My gelding has higher than normal amounts of calcium oxalate dihydrate crystals in his urine.

    The saga began in late Oct. with symptoms of a UTI. Ultimately I brought him to NEEMSC in Dover NH and he's had blood tests, urine tests, scoping and ultrasound--------everything is fine! Except he is making excessive calcium oxalate dihydrate crystals which is low grade irritating to him to pee out all the time!

    I bought new hay. Had hay tested. I have taken him Off soy based ration balancer. I have taken him Off beet pulp. Thinking maybe the "oxalate" of these plants was a problem for him.

    Currently giving him Vita Plus by farnum, freechoice timothy hay he eats like 30+ lbs of it a day, water and a white salt lick.

    He seems to be fine in every way except his urine has too much of this oxalate crystal! And it makes him f sensitive and cranky around his sheath and groin. I have not worked him because it made him also feel uncharacteristically tense/resistent.

    He has no stones and his kidney on ultrasound totally normal and his blood work is normal. Ultrasound and checks of guts and other organs all fine.

    My vets are totally??????

    I can't imagine it is great for his kidneys to be excreting this crystal even if it hasn't caused them harm yet.

    For those not familiar with horse pee, compared to our pee, it is normal to be mucus-y and slimy and contain a lot of calcium carbonate crystals and some oxalate crystal. But my horse seems to have all Calcium Oxalate Dihydrate (weddelite) So it seems that there must be something out of balance either in his metabolic dealing with calcium/oxalate or something he is eating.

    My water is going to a lab for testing. I did a home test that showed it was acid 5.5-6 ph. I've been adding a bit of baking soda to the water to raise PH. Horses urine and blood PH are normal---but we thought maybe something about the chemistry set at the kidneys controlling all these factors to maintain correct ph........was producing end result of this type crystal.

    He has a companion babysitter draft mare. Her urine has some of these crystals but not excessive like his.

    We are trying to narrow down if this could be a calcium thing---like that the parathyroid could be acting up, adrenocortisol weirdness, or that a Low Vit D could be acting up, or that he needs more Ca to bind with oxalate in the GI tract, or that a GI ulcer/irritation might be disrupting normal GI Ca binding to oxalate for excretion in feces and not so much delivered at kidney

    It is soooo frustrating. Horse looks great, eats great, poops great, pees fine, but is low grade sensitive/uncomfortable around sheath/penis and groin because of the amount of crystals in his urine

    I guess it is possible that this is residual healing process from a UTI he had. Unfortunately, we do not have a "before" urine sample to compare to, to know whether he was making the crystals before. It's been a month and there is no bacteria just damn crystals!


    Wondering if anyone else has had this happen??????????
    Online forums like COTH are proof of how ignorant people with horses are. Very scary frikkin people on here----do your horse a favor and just call a vet. Do not waste time on these forums.



  2. #2
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    Are you sure the crystals are what's causing him to be uncomfortable? Or could the presence of the crystals simply be a red herring?
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  3. #3
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    He's been ultrasounded everywhere and bloodwork and scoped and urinalysis multiple times and his organs, and kidneys are all 100% normal and functioning 100% normal. I've seen myself both kidneys, ureters, inside of bladder and full length of urethra and ultrasounds of gut etc.

    Everyone scratching their head as he does not show anything to suggest a parathyroid or adreno malfunction either.

    I might ask them to run a Vit D which we haven't done yet. If D is low you get bone resorption due to inability of body to correctly use intakes of Ca. Blood Ca will tend to stay normal untill significantly depleted from bones (at which point you've got other obvious healthy problems) But, bone resorp for calcium can cause this kind of crystal in humans.

    Also, GI inflamation and ulcers can cause interuption of Ca binding with oxalate to be passed out thru feces in humans. Inflamation in GI can increase absorption of oxalates that then hget dropped off at the kidney.

    In humans Calcium Oxelate dihydrate stone formers are often dificient in Citrate in their urine. Interestingly in cats and dogs calcium oxelate stones are common after administration of acidifying diets for some other type of stone like struvite. Only struvite stones can be disolved by acidifying urine! Oxelate stones are not disolved by acid urine and in fact FORM prefering acidified urine. Vt. C supplements are associated with oxalate formation in humans, ascobic acid aka Vit C is a chemical precurser to oxalate.

    so as an aside---- only give Vit C or acidifying things when you are sure you have a type of stone or crystal that is responsive to acidification....otherwise you may end up with a worse situation.

    In humans with calcium oxalate dihyrate stones and low citrate the may give them potassium citrate to alkinize urine and raise citrate. Also baking soda - sodium bicarbonate, but they shy from that because of the sodium which may be unwanted in some patients.

    I'm wondering about the GI, lowgrade inflamation or ulcer that is not enough to put him off feed or make him quote "sick" but enough to make excess oxalate absorption via bowel that then hit's the kidneys.


    I'm putting this up on COTH also because I must emphasize---this horse looks great in every possible way. Pink of condition. Eats very well 30+ lbs of hay a day, drinks well, excellent musculature and fitness ---to the point that the Vet's at Dover said "wow. He looks great" as soon as his blanket was removed. His labs, scopes, ultrasounds are all NORMAL.

    So how did I know something was weird??? One day out of the blue he felt oddly reistent under saddle. Very slightly, but to me, having trained him from backing up, I KNEW that was "not him". I watched him closely for a few days and noticed he was unusually sensitive around his sheath-------which then lead to vet examination blood, urinalysis, discovery of crystals and further work up.

    I can assure you 100% of trainers and rider I know would have attributed this to a training/behavior issue regarding increased work. I just knew this horse and I knew that was not him and something must be wrong.

    How may people oh there run labs or urinalysis when there horse exhibits a slight weirdness?????? Not many. Most heath issues don't get discovered untill they progress to more dramatic presentation of trouble.

    Since the horse is prone to kidney troubles----I thought it was intriguing, since my horse looks fantastic and is not "sick" at this time----------how often might a lowgrade crystal problem go unnoticed and over time lead to stones or kidney damage? Especialoly since what is causing these crystals is proving hard to pin point at this time. In my horses case they can find no signs like casts, or changes in kidney-----the belief is Kidney is 100% normal and doing it's job correctly to excrete whatever XYZ combination of ingredients is reaching the kidney that the excretion process = calcium oxalate dihydrate. Horwever, one can surmise, let's say this went on for 2-3 years low grade kidney and bladder and uerethra pumping this crystal thru? Could set up more trouble/damage. Horses excrete huge amounts of calciumk carbonate crystals normaly, they are ro9und in structure...but the oxelate is a little square with pointed corners if dihydrate. There is also Calcium Oxelate Monohydrate which is dumbelll shaped. These are normally found in horse urine, but not is the huge amounts you would normally find the Carbonate. And there more abrassive structure over time??? could irritate the whole system.

    Anyway, I'm wondering about ulcers and GI now for my guy. He does not exhibit any symptoms outwardly, but, it's possible a low level low grade bowel irritation could increase that oxalate absorption enough to create the ??? of oxalate reaching kidney for excretion

    Also I would like to point out to readers of this thread---wow! How easy it would be to NEVER KNOW this was happening! And how inexpensive a urinalysis w/ sediment is! $36 from Idexx! That's a pretty cheap test to run on your horse and it will give you some valuable idea about your horses organ function. A CBC is like around $150 and is very valuable too. But, suprising we don't run urines more often as a quicky peek into the body. In the old days they examined urine all the time because it was easy and valuable given the medical diagnostics available! Many vets will kind of poo poo you getting a "free catch" because of it being "easily contaminated". I've taken 3-4 at this point lab tested and zero have been contaminated. I use cups and glass jars washed on the hotest dishwasher setting without any other dirty dishes in it! I've also had my horse catherterized for samples direct from the bladder. But, being able to free catch and run a $36 urine w/ sediment lab test is a great way to know whether you indeed need to go whole hog for sedation and catheterization to get a bladder sample. Also, that procedure in a mare less problem than gelding or stallion, boys have rather long route to the bladder and it requires enough sedation to relax the penis fully so he catheter can pass.


    I also want to point out that ---I saw a lot of references on COTH to horses with reaction to beetpulp and soy products. Most people are aware of the goiterogenic, phytoestrogen, issues that "may" be associated with these plants--------but did you know they are both EXTREMELY high in oxalates? The feed processing process is supposed to eliminate the bad stuff----but who knows? And who knows what happens in sensitive individuals? Humans with Oxalate stones are advised to stay away from beets, beet greens and soy. People with horses in subtropical areas like Africa and Australia have to contend with high oxalate grasses that are endemic to the climate/ land---- their solution is to feed extra clacium to counteract the oxalate blocking of calcium uptake in the GI---causes "Big Head" excess phos to Calike you'd find in feeding excessive wheat bran.

    So! food for thought!

    Hopefully we are going to track my horses ???? oxalate crystals to their source and I will be sure to post it it!
    Online forums like COTH are proof of how ignorant people with horses are. Very scary frikkin people on here----do your horse a favor and just call a vet. Do not waste time on these forums.


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  4. #4
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    You did not answer my question . . . well, I guess you did since you seem to be convinced that you've connected the correct dots.

    Crystals in the urine are not that uncommon, and are not necessarily pathological.

    I've seen myself both kidneys, ureters, inside of bladder and full length of urethra
    And if these are all normal, your theory goes up in smoke.

    Beware of clinging too hard to a pet theory. No matter how fond we are of them, if we attach to much emotion to them they can disappoint us enormously when they fail to be valid.
    Click here before you buy.



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Are you sure the crystals are what's causing him to be uncomfortable? Or could the presence of the crystals simply be a red herring?
    There is obvious uncharacteristic sensitivity and crankiness to touch around the sheath. In male horses the uerethra wraps up between the hind legs/butt cheeks to the bladder. Vet's could palpate and see distinct annoyonce and switching tail, kicking. Some horses are just like that, but this gelding has always been...........more than happy to be felt up and very obligingly run up his flab pole LOL so it was quite a change when all of the sudden he was pissy about his pisser.

    BUT! I am wondering about a little ulcer GI irritation adding to the "don't touch me". His guts were ultrasounded and rectal exam etc and were all normal. He eats massively and isn't outwordly suggesting a GI upset. BUT, I think it could be low grade, and part of this whole ???? soup. He's getting probiotics and baking soda....but I'm going to talk to vets about ????? maybe we should do a round of Suceed or Ulcergaurd and see what happens?

    At Clinic he got a sore muscle in his rump, we all thought it was likely from being confined to stall (his home life is pasture with access to stall 24/7) and 3hr trailer ride. He'd been palpated and examined by saddle fitter and me and vet several times in this process with no body pain anywhere. They had me give him some Robaxin as, given the stall bound 2 days for clinic work up, tension, sedation and have all manner of stuff stuck up his assorted orifices....wasn't a bad Idea to help him out with a muscle relaxant ! At home he's been fine and no signs of soreness or lameness. I have not ridden him since this started but he has pasture turn out and romps around (and yes...I have checked for eating anything weird in pasture).
    Online forums like COTH are proof of how ignorant people with horses are. Very scary frikkin people on here----do your horse a favor and just call a vet. Do not waste time on these forums.



  6. #6
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    When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras.

    If you are looking to do empirical trials of things to see if a difference can be seen, don't monkey around with piddly remedies.

    A 30 day course of gastroguard or stomach endoscopy would effectively rule in or out the presence of stomach ulcers. Not all horses with ulcers go off their feed or look bad!
    Click here before you buy.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras.

    If you are looking to do empirical trials of things to see if a difference can be seen, don't monkey around with piddly remedies.

    A 30 day course of gastroguard or stomach endoscopy would effectively rule in or out the presence of stomach ulcers. Not all horses with ulcers go off their feed or look bad!
    it is not normal for the horse to have all calcium oxelate dihydrate crystals. It is normal for a horse to have copious amounts of calcium carbonate crystals with some calcium oxalate monohydrate and some calcium oxalate dihydrate and then the occasional urate urate or struvit odd balls.

    I'm glad my horse is not "sick" but, longterm excretion of these crystals in humans and other animals has been shown to increase kidney and urinary tract irritation and inflamation with varying consequences.

    I am interested in determining just why he is doing this and his herd mate is not.

    Fortunately I have a bright eyed bushy tailed team of vets to ultimately oversee this situation....and do not rely on internet denizens

    I put it up here to see if anyone had had horse with same crystals

    there certainly isn't any lack of people on the net posting about pee problems and cases of stones or kidney problems. So---it's up here as one horses results of vets checking etc.

    and this horse is under full veterinary care......the best I could lay hands on and we are all collectively "doing and empiracal study" ha ha ha systematically to pin point why this is happening.

    Any care/feed changes 'I've made are with prior discussion and thumbs up from the vet. And I sample the urine every couple days to check the sediment and turbidity.

    -----some day somebody else may have the same problem and internet search this thread and see what process it took for us.

    My last conversation with his primary vet was "I'm going to spend the weekend looking at everything and see what I come up with" She's been in contact with other vets / research etc. to suss the ???? question out.

    Soooooooooo..................................unles s somebody has something to say about a similar case with a horse......???? That's really what I am after here...
    Online forums like COTH are proof of how ignorant people with horses are. Very scary frikkin people on here----do your horse a favor and just call a vet. Do not waste time on these forums.



  8. #8
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    I think you are way off base with your strange connection that oxalate and calcium are somehow disconnected. You have to have a divalent ion to get a structural crystal so calcium is PARAMOUNT to the formation of these crystals. Thus your whole Vit D theory is wrong. Combined with DW's comments it sounds like you are twisting various ideas with weak factual basis to fit your assumptions.

    For example Vit D control absorption of Ca from the gut and renal system and causes release of anorganic components from bone. A deficiency does not cause resorption. It causes malformation of the bone. Mineralization continues as normal.

    While, I appreciate your desire to understand what is happening, your statements alluding to fact are quite misinformed.


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAyers View Post
    I think you are way off base with your strange connection that oxalate and calcium are somehow disconnected. You have to have a divalent ion to get a structural crystal so calcium is PARAMOUNT to the formation of these crystals. Thus your whole Vit D theory is wrong. Combined with DW's comments it sounds like you are twisting various ideas with weak factual basis to fit your assumptionsFor example Vit D control absorption of Ca from the gut and renal system and causes release of anorganic components from bone. A deficiency does not cause resorption. It causes malformation of the bone. Mineralization continues as normal.

    While, I appreciate your desire to understand what is happening, your statements alluding to fact are quite misinformed.
    http://qjmed.oxfordjournals.org/content/98/4/241.2.full

    Vitamin D synthesis as a possible factor in urinary stone formation

    The biosynthetic pathway of Vitamin D12 or 1α,25-dihydrocholecalciferol (1α25(OH)2D) involves the non-enzymatic conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to cholecalciferol in the skin, subsequent 25-hydroxylation of cholecalciferol to 25-dydroxycholecalciferol in the liver by a mitochondrial cytochrome 450 mono-oxygenase and subsequent 1-hydroxylation by the cytochrome 450 oxygenase in the kidney. This second hydroxylation is highly regulated. Vitamin D promotes intestinal calcium absorption and resorption from bones, thus influencing blood and urine calcium levels. Urinary stones are not a feature of the known specific inherited disorders of vitamin D metabolism (hereditary selective and simple deficiency of 1α25(OH)2D and hereditary generalized resistance to 1α25(OH)2D, in which either the enzymic synthesis of vitamin D or the synthesis of the vitamin D receptor is abnormal). However, small specifically placed mutations in the relevant genes, insufficient to produce the rachitic features seen in the well recognized inborn errors of vitamin D metabolism, could change either the vitamin D level or the affinity of the vitamin D receptor, leading to hypercalciuria in the upper part of the reference range. This would modify the overall effect of mutations in other genes that tend to promote hypercalcaemia and hypercalciuria, and thereby, stone formation. Activation of lymphocytes in sarcoidosis produces detectably high level of 1α25(OH)2D and can cause hypercalciuria.


    The above link has some good information about Calcium Oxalate Crystals how and why they form.

    The point of this thread thus far has not been too definitively prove via scholarly texts or journal studies what the "solution" to this particular horses problem is. The point is to put on here what has been done and ruled out in this particular animal-----and what still needs to be ruled out and just various information to the seperate systems that in theory may be chased down to rule out.

    I was hoping to turn up others that had either calcium oxalate dihydrate crystals in a horse or also anyone who might have had a calcium oxalate stone removed from a horse.

    The horse in question doesn't have stones ---just the crystals---and the point is vets are stumed why the heck he's making these crystals after a very thorugh work up that is normal and additional change in hay source and limiting feed to just timothy hay, water, white salt, and a basic daily vitamin.

    Since COTH posts come up on Google, I've got our situation here and what we've done/ found running tally in the event somebody else out there find themselves with the same ???
    Online forums like COTH are proof of how ignorant people with horses are. Very scary frikkin people on here----do your horse a favor and just call a vet. Do not waste time on these forums.



  10. #10
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    As you've discovered, Google is a really poor source of medical info. Try Google scholar or PubMed.
    Click here before you buy.



  11. #11
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    I am sorry, but an article on a GENETIC MUTATION in humans does not translate to what you are describing. This is grasping at straw.

    While you are seeking answers, your "facts" as presented are incorrect. Another inconsistency you bring up is that there is no "oxalate" crystal without a divalent metal ion. Thus, magnesium, calcium, barium, strontium all will create an oxalate crystal.

    At the same time, many of the research articles are based on relevant clinical data. BUT you must be able to sift through what is applicable in your given situation. Google is NOT AN ANSWER. It is a tool. If you want real research, I recommend Scirus.com. Google Scholar is crap.


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  12. #12
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    [edit] [The] point is you can not find any information in any reasearch or scholarly text or study on this problem in a horse. You can find literature on other animals and humans. Trust me I have acess to online journals for research via a University account and my vet has access via a research database for veterinarians

    [edit] if you have nothing to add of value to topic of a horse with calcium oxalate crystals---there must be some forum available for you to argue the validity of the earth revolving around the sun?

    Please---let the experienced vets handle this one or those who have actually had the problem in an animal...

    UPDATE

    1/17 urine still had calcium oxalate dihydrate crystals in excess with unusual absence of calcium carbonate crystals approx 2 weeks post full work up ultrasound labs and scope/bladder flush etc.

    at that time we removed all soy or beet from the diet as a precaution as they are well documented causes in humans and naturally high in oxalate. We also ADDED SUCRALFATE as a GI protectant as a precaution in the event there was GI inflamation low grade situation increasing oxalate uptake reaching kidneys (also well documented in other animals and humans)

    1/31 another urine as well as CBC and fibrinogen run --- NO MORE CRYSTALS. The urine was normalized and had no more calcium oxalate and contained normal amounts Calcium Carbonate. CBC and fibrinogen normal. However, the horse is still exhibiting pain in the groin and penis. Vet examined fully under sedation body, pelvis, sacro, legs etc. no pain, and it was determined that for unknown reasons the end of penis is very painful--but examines normal nothing remarkable---previous scoping was all normal as well. Gut sounds normal.

    Vet wants to rule out Lyme as it is well documented in other animals for kidney, bladder symptoms and in the horse for strange hypersensitivity, myalgias etc.

    So waiting for Lyme test to come back from Cornell.

    Vet also has on back burner testosterone test to check whether this horse could be a cryptorchid. They can develop pain and weirdness from the malformed and undecended testicles in abdomen. Horse is 12 and has always exhibited studdish behaviors and unknown details of gelding.

    Very glad urine is normal---but we still have weirdness/discomort in this horse of unknown origin.

    [edit] The vet does feel something in the combo of excluding soy/beet/adding sucralfate and baking soda got rid of the crystals. It's possible it was coincidental, we can't really know. But I thought the urine changed character after day 4 of changing feed and adding sucralfate.

    we had thought the groin/urethra/penile pain was from the crystals irritating the UT. No signs of injury or inflamation either. Vet is strong for Lyme as she's seen it cause marked hypersentivity and well documented for renal and Urologic symptoms in other animals. Test should be back Tuesday so we'll see!
    Last edited by Moderator 1; Feb. 11, 2013 at 02:55 PM. Reason: insults/profanity
    Online forums like COTH are proof of how ignorant people with horses are. Very scary frikkin people on here----do your horse a favor and just call a vet. Do not waste time on these forums.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CothMoth View Post
    [edit]
    [These two posters] are sources of excellent information in many veterinary and medical threads on this bb.

    A shame you'll likely never get any from them in the future.
    Talk about cutting off one's nose...


    Please---let the experienced vets handle this one or those who have actually had the problem in an animal...
    So, you want this left to "experienced vets", yet you are soliciting anecdotal tales from anonymous posters on a bb?

    And as for your access to databases, given the rambling accounts and unwarranted assumptions you make from your reading, they don't appear to be doing you any more good than handing a graphing calculator to a toddler while asking for help in constructing a cantilevered bridge.
    Last edited by Moderator 1; Feb. 11, 2013 at 02:56 PM. Reason: quote of deleted content
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

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  14. #14
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    So you've learned nothing from the tests, your vet is trying some things that sound perfectly reasonable, and your pet theory appears to have not held up, how disappointing. And you've burned all your bridges with people who were simply trying to help and you are still unable to use the medical literature to which you have access in a helpful way. Feel better?

    No doubt the next step is to chew out the veterinarian who also dared to reply to your thread.
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  15. #15
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    Hey there Deltawave--maybe it is a zebra. We've all been thinking wrong.

    Perhaps it's time for Mothballs.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Are you sure the crystals are what's causing him to be uncomfortable? Or could the presence of the crystals simply be a red herring?
    Given the recent update, perhaps the OP might now take a moment to Google the term "red herring"?



  17. #17
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    This is closer to the actual thought process.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chewbacca_defense
    Click here before you buy.



  18. #18
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    WOW !!! Did you post looking for advice Info and opinions ?? If so you got em in spades !!!

    Or did you post to show us how clever you are and what a good Horsey Momma you are ?!?!? If that's the case here's your sign '' YOUR MARVELOUS !! '' The rest of the world suffers in comparisin !!!

    Talk about [edit] ,,, Go look in the bloody mirror !!!
    Last edited by Moderator 1; Feb. 11, 2013 at 02:57 PM. Reason: quote of deleted comment



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by CothMoth View Post
    [edit]

    [edit]

    It is Drs. [edit] or Drs. [edit] to you.
    Last edited by Moderator 1; Feb. 11, 2013 at 02:59 PM. Reason: ;)


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  20. #20
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    Default Calcium Oxalate crystals

    ...are found in a wide variety of plants and are known to be in both water and soil in great abundance in the Mid-Atlantic states. You don't mention where you are located, but I live in the "kidney stone" belt and you can find the crystals in almost anything grown in the local soil (and it's in our water supply). If a plant has that "twang" to it, like greens, berries, rhubarb, that's the calcium oxalate you're tasting. Even our grass tests high!

    Changing the PH of the urine helps some, eliminating products high in oxalate crystals helps. In general, the more fluids that can pass thru the kidneys to "flush" out the crystals the better. Kidney specialists are now recommending supplements of Calcium Citrate and no extra Vitamin C. Calcium Citrate is suppose to help bind the Calcium Oxalate crystals in the intestinal tract, thus preventing the crystals from reaching the kidneys. Your elimination of soy and beet pulp was a wise decision, as both can be high in Calcium Oxalate.

    I hope you have found a solution to the problem, as eventually, there is a good chance that those crystal would bind together and form actual stones. I've seen horses with kidney and bladder stones and they are just as miserable as their human counterparts...only some of theirs can grow to huge proportions.

    Good luck. I hope your horse becomes more comfortable and no other problems occur.
    "It's not a mistake if you knew what you were doing was wrong."



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