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Crystals in the Urine (Crystalluria) in dogs and cats

Description
Crystalluria is the medical term for the presence of crystals in the urine. The urine is composed of fluid and minerals. When the minerals come out of solution, crystals are formed. Crystalluria associated with radiographically or ultrasonographically detectable uroliths in some animals



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Appearance of crystals in the urine
Pathophysiology -Crystals only form in urine that is, or recently has been, supersaturated with crystallogenic substances. Therefore, crystalluria represents a risk factor for urolithiasis. However, detection of urine crystals is not synonymous with uroliths, nor are urine crystals irrefutable evidence of a stone-forming tendency. --Certain types of crystalluria are a manifestation of underlying disease. Proper identification and interpretation of urine crystals is important in formulating medical protocols to dissolve uroliths. Evaluation of urine crystals may aid in 1) detection of disorders predisposing animals to urolith formation, 2) estimation of the mineral composition of uroliths, and 3) evaluation of the effectiveness of medical protocols initiated to dissolve or prevent urolithiasis. -Crystalluria that occurs in individuals with anatomically and functionally normal urinary tracts is usually harmless, because the crystals are eliminated before they grow to sufficient size to interfere with normal urinary function. -Crystals that form after elimination or removal of urine from the patient often are of little clinical importance. Identification of crystals that have formed in vitro does not justify treatment. -Detection of some types of crystals (e.g.,cystine and ammonium urate) in clinically asymptomatic patients, frequent detection of large aggregates of crystals (e.g.,calcium oxalate and magnesium ammonium phosphate) in apparently normal individuals, or detection of any form of crystals in fresh urine collected from patients with confirmed urolithiasis may be of diagnostic, prognostic, or therapeutic importance. Systems Affected Renal/urologic--upper and lower urinary tract
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