Urinary SO, Struvite Crystals, & DL-Methionine
This post is bound to be controversial in many ways. I'm not looking for advice on high quality food, all wet diet, nor staying away from canned food that has fish. All of this advice has been tried and failed when it comes to the most finicky cat in the world. Believe me when I say this cat will starve himself rather than eat and this will go on for days. So I've adjusted to him, and it's worked pretty well for almost 2 years now.
All I want to do is share with you something that I've found out about Royal Canin Urinary SO.
A few years ago Kramer was on all dry food and developed crystals. I had him on RC Urinary SO for weeks until he was peeing normally again. Since then he's been on a diet of Innova dry in the morning (due to practicality and his not desiring a 100% wet diet) along with various canned foods.
About a year ago, he stopped eating ANY wet food, including the RC. ALL he would eat was Nine Lives Tuna Select. I know, fish. But it has 16% protein in it and as you know protein is what acidifies the urine. Also, I've found people who claim they've fed their cat this food for 10 years or more with no problems. I figured as long as it was just 50% of his diet, maybe I'd be OK.
Then all of a sudden Kramer refused the Tuna Select after a year. I once again went back to buying and trying numerous other brands, like I had done a few years back, but the ONLY thing he would touch at this point without burying the food was the old standby, RC Urinary SO.
I thought this would be OK since at least I knew it was supposed to acidify his urine, and at least he was off the fish. I was wrong. I discovered that RC had reformulated their food, and it now lacked a necessary ingredient called DL-Methionine. I called RC and they told me the following regarding this new formula:
- I was given no real answer when I asked them WHY they stopped using DL-Methionine
- They guarantee that Urinary SO will acidify the urine long term. (6-6.3 pH).
- They started putting Fish Oil in. This takes care of inflammation I was told.
- They added marigold as an antioxidant.
After 4-5 weeks on RC, along with no other change in diet Kramer developed crystals again! I tested his urine drop on the hardwood floor and found it to be basic, somewhere around 7.0. This is way too basic and leads to crystal formation, so it's no wonder he was having problems.
It appears that the RC Urinary SO, the new formulation (they changed over a year ago) does not effectively acidify the urine, and I was actually better off before using the 9 Lives Tuna Select for his 50% of diet. I know, this is controversial, but this is what I have come to conclude. Just read on.
Remember, the ONLY change in diet was switching back to RC, and after 4-5 weeks he developed crystals. This is ample time to adjust his urine pH if it had been off previously, and it's ample time to make sure that the RC was doing the job it was intended to. The vet has told me that 2 weeks on RC is sufficient to see a real change.
I also have more information to back up my claim that RC is not good. Two years ago when Kramer developed crystals, I bought some bulk DL-Methionine and started adding some very, very small quantities to his wet food. You have to be very careful with this acidifier, since too much acidification of the urine may lead to calcium crystals which are much worse than the struvite (potassium) since the calcium cannot be dissolved.
I stopped adding methionine to Kramers RC for the last 4-5 weeks that he's been eating this (junk) food RC. I trusted RC's claim that their food keeps the urine within the correct pH range. But as I said before, Kramer's pH was about 7.0 when his crystal problem recently started again. So I again started adding 1/8 teaspoons to his RC meals and his "tuna water" (I have another post on how to make tuna water) and have kept him (mostly) on wet food until the problem corrects.
Within about 24 hours of supplementing methionine into the RC, Kramer's urine had gone from a 7 to less than 6.5. So it was acidifying nicely and his peeing started to flow better. The total amount of methionine that I had given him within that 24 hour period amounted to about 3/4 teaspoon. Now that his pH has adjusted and he is peeing better, I will scale back on the methionine to 1/16 to 1/8 daily teaspoon which is what I've been giving for the last 2 years to keep his urine acidic.
He has made a full recovery in less than 3 days by supplementing his diet with methionine.
I am convinced that RC does not acidify the urine as they claim, and I am convinced that a small addition of methionine needs to be added to my cats daily diet if he is eating the RC as his 50% wet. Besides having by-products and other less than healthy ingredients, I don't believe this prescription food is what it is advertised to be. If it weren't for my cats insistence on eating this and refusing all other canned foods I wouldn't use this at all.