Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Yes, it can be genetic. The best way of treatment would be diet management. Depending what type of crystals she has (and if the crystals cause any problems) your vet will be able to prescribe a special diet for her

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

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For cats and dogs with crystalluria because of a urinary tract infection, antibiotics may be prescribed (with or without a urine culture). If stones have developed, surgery to remove the stones may be necessary. In some cases, a prescription diet may be prescribed to help dissolve the stones and crystals.
Quick tip: Alkaline Urine causes stones! Dry food diets consisting of carbohydrates, especially grains and potatoes, can contribute to high alkaline urine. Dogs are designed to eat a meat-based protein diet that causes more acidic urine.
In dogs, most struvite crystals are most commonly caused by urinary tract infection with urease-producing bacteria. Urease breaks down urea, which is common in urine, into ammonium and bicarbonate. Ammonium then joins with magnesium and phosphate in urine to create struvite crystals.
Shih Tzus are genetically predisposed to many different types of bladder stones; calcium oxalate, urate, struvite calcium phosphate, and silica crystals. These problems are diagnosed with fresh urine samples, and typically treated with medications and diet changes.
For crystals that may lead to stone formation or urinary obstruction, dissolving or eliminating them is a higher priority. Nutritional adjustments and convincing your pet to drink more water will often treat crystals effectively, but surgery is also an option in severe cases.
The most important step in uric acid stone treatment is drinking plenty of water to: Reduce the concentration of minerals in urine. Fluids dissolve the minerals, allowing them to leave your body through urine. Encourage you to pee often, which flushes away materials that may form stones.
Crystals alone are not usually dangerous when present in dog`s urine. However, if the crystals clump together and form sediment, this can lead to urinary blockage, which is dangerous.
Hard water is water with a high mineral content usually calcium and magnesium. Very hard water has been linked to urinary illness such as Crystalluria (crystal in urine) which may predispose your dog to stone formation and bladder and urinary tract infections.
An overabundance of minerals in your dog`s diet is the most common cause of pet kidney stones. Magnesium ammonium phosphate, calcium oxalate, uric acid, cysteine, calcium phosphate, and silica can all cause the buildup that leads to stone formation.
Pain, difficulties urinating, blood in urine, straining to urinate and urinating very small amounts but frequently are all common signs that your dog may be suffering from a bladder infection. Other indications of bladder infections or urinary tract infections (UTIs) include: Straining to urinate.
Also called uroliths or cystic calculi, bladder stones can range from small, sand-like grains to larger, gravel-sized stones. A pet can have several stones that range in size, but even just a single stone can cause pain and potentially be life-threatening.
Drink plenty of fluids.

Drinking more fluids, especially water, may help prevent bladder stones because fluids dilute the concentration of minerals in your bladder. How much water you should drink depends on your age, size, health and level of activity. Ask your doctor what`s an appropriate amount of fluid for you.

Crystalluria caused by amoxicillin is very uncommon and may be asymptomatic or have severe renal implications. The authors describe the case of an 87-year-old female patient who presented with massive amoxicillin crystalluria due to poor hydration, low urinary pH and high intravenous amoxicillin dosage.
Foods that are known to aggravate UTIs include asparagus, spinach, raw carrots, tomatoes, and dairy products. Additionally, one of the largest determining factors in your dog`s ability to fight off UTIs will be their hydration levels.
Studies show that a diet based on dry pet food is not a primary cause of any of these problems. Actually, obesity and stress are the main factors that may increase the risk of the urinary tract diseases in pets. Healthy pets fed with dry pet food stay hydrated by drinking.
Boiled chicken is a healthy but also delicious food that is safe to feed your dog. It can be used as a treat or added to meals. Make sure that you don`t feed any chicken bones, skin, or additives when feeding your dog boiled chicken. Your dog will thank you for making them this yummy food!
Some crystals can pass through your urinary tract and out of your body on their own, while others may need to be removed from your body by a healthcare provider.
Breeds most commonly diagnosed with urate bladder stones include Dalmatians, English Bulldogs, and Black Russian Terriers. In these breeds, genetic testing should be performed prior to breeding to reduce the occurrence of this condition. Urate bladder stones are more common in male Dalmatians (97%) than females (3%).
Bottled water is safe to share with cats and dogs. Opt for spring water or bottled tap water varieties. Some veterinarians, including those at the Locust Valley Veterinary Clinic, are skeptical of the quality of distilled water for pets and its effects on urinary and cardiac health.
The stones form for a variety of reasons; often there is no one single cause. However, urinary tract infections, stress, high levels of certain substances in the diet, low water intake and situations where an animal is not given the opportunity to urinate at will, can all increase the chances of a problem arising.
Your urine contains many dissolved substances, including minerals. If you have too many minerals in your urine, certain minerals may clump together with other substances and form solid crystals. It`s normal to have a few small crystals in your urine.
The doctor uses a thin viewing tool, called a nephroscope, to locate and remove the kidney stone. The doctor inserts the tool directly into your kidney through a small cut made in your back. For larger kidney stones, the doctor also may use a laser to break the kidney stones into smaller pieces.
Dogs with UTIs generally attempt to urinate very frequently whenever they go outside. They also may strain to urinate, or cry out or whine when urinating if it is painful. Sometimes you might even see blood in their urine. Dripping urine, or frequent licking of the genitals, may also signal that a UTI is present.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. My female Shih Tsu, a 3 year old female, was diagnosed with crystals in her urine. Can this b a genetic problem? Please advise treatment.
ANSWER : A. Yes, it can be genetic. The best way of treatment would be diet management. Depending what type of crystals she has (and if the crystals cause any problems) your vet will be able to prescribe a special diet for her

Read Full Q/A … : Ask The Vet

Q. Male neutered cat [1 1/2 years old] has just started trying to spray everywhere around the house. Nothing is coming out. No recent changes.
ANSWER : A. Changes in urinary habits can be caused by a number of things, especially in neutered male cats. Attempting to urinate or have accidents in places other than the litter box can often be a sign of a urinary tract infection, or crystals and debris in the bladder causing problems. Pets may need to go more frequently, may dribble or urinate in small amounts more often, may have accidents or may have blood-tinged or cloudy urine.Infections are usually treated with medications and changes to the diet, however in some cases of large stones or crystals surgery may be needed.

Male cats can also experience urinary blockage. This is due to a unique anatomical part or the urethra that forms a U-shape before exiting the body in male cats. If a cat has crystals or other debris in the urine, it can block at this point preventing urine from being able to exit. Cats may attempt to urinate without producing anything, may become very vocal (indicating pain) or may have a hunched back, full abdomen or pain in the abdomen (protecting the very full bladder). Urinary blockage IS a medical emergency so if suspected, your vet or local emergency clinic should be contacted immediately. Treatment usually involves a hospital stay and catheterization of the bladder to remove the blockage and allow urine to drain followed by medications and a change in diet to prevent further problems.

It is best to try and collect a sample of urine and make an appointment for your cat if he has had a change in urinary habits. If you do suspect a blockage, then contact your vet ASAP is best.

Q. I found a large amount of pee from my unfixed male cat and it had blood in it. I notice later what looked similar to crystals in the same puddle. Help
ANSWER : A. You should have your cat examined and a urinalysis done immediately. Some cats do form crystals in their urine which leads to bladder inflammation,look in the urine, pain and in creased frequency of urination. The specific problem with male cats is the narrow width of the urethra through which the urine passes. Make cats have a very narrow urethra unlike female cats. The crystals, blood and other “sludge” that forms in the bladder when a cat has cystitis can cause a blockage in male cats and this is an emergency. A urinalysis can determine the extent of the problem and allow your vet to recommend appropriate treatment before it becomes an emergency. Your cat should be seen today.

Read Full Q/A … : Causes of Blood in Cat Urine

Q. My female Aust. Shepherdcan’t control her bladder. She urinates while sleeping and leaks all of the time. Is this a genetic problem with breed?
ANSWER : A. Urine incontinence can be due to several problems. Most often it affects older, spayed bitches and it is caused by lack of hormones. If urine incontinence happens to a young dog then often it is caused by anatomical abnormalities of urinary tract that the dog was born with. Finally, it is not uncommon that dogs that have excessive thirst appears incontinent when the real problem is excessive drinking. So, it may be genetic problem with your dog if is she is young but is more likely to be related to other issues.

Q. I have a 13 1/2 year old Shih Tzu. How old is he in dog years?
ANSWER : A. It’s used to be that dog years were 7 years to every 1. Now it normally around 5 years to every year as long as your dog is healthy and kept up with vaccines. So he’s about 68ish in dog years.

Read Full Q/A … : Shih Tzu Age

Q. My 14 year old Poodle can’t hold his kidneys is there anything or meds that will help?
ANSWER : A. If your dog is a female then it is likely that she cannot hold urine because of hormones deficiency. This condition can be treated with tablets containing female hormones.
If you have a male dog his condition may be more complicated and challenging to treat (sphincter muscles weakness, bladder pathology).
It is also important to make sure that your dog’s problem is not due to excessive thirst and excessive urine production as a result.
I would advise you to take your dog to your vets for examination and to get treatment if possible. If you take a fresh urine sample with you for analysis that would be very helpful .

Q. My 9 year old lab has tested positive for heart worms. A feed store owner told me I could use Noromectin (ivermectin) to get rid of them? Is it safe?
ANSWER : A. The feed store owner is taking about the “slow kill” method for adult heartworms. This method is the considered an alternate method that has the following disadvantages over the normal immiticide treatment:
1) Takes years (often-times up to 2-4 years) to completely rid heartworms vs immiticide treatment which takes at most 3 months
2) Slowly kills baby worms only in the bloodstream, does not kill adult worms in the heart. Immiticide kills the adult worms that are in the heart directly which is why it is so effective.
3) Higher risk of thromboembolism (clots in the lung artery) than Immiticide treatment.
4) Adult worms will stay in the heart for years and can impede blood flow.
So that is the gist of doing the slow kill method for baby heartworms instead of the fast kill method with Immiticide for adult heartworms. Which is why most veterinarians will recommend the fast kill method as the best choice for your pets care.

Q. Female cat developed UTI. Urinary Health diet ordered. I use Purina One Urinary Health dry food. Specifically, what is different with this diet?
ANSWER : A. Diet recommendations vary depending on the cause of the urinary tract problem and some are suitable for a limited number of issues and some are more flexible but your vet can advise on the most suitable options in light of urine tests and sediment exam and if a bacterial infection which requires antibiotics is also present at the same time. Urinary diets to treat crystaluria alter the pH and salt/mineral content of urine in order to minimize crystal formation, some of which require acid and some alkaline changes in order to treat successfully. Most diets will also encourage urine dilution in order to wash out the bladder more frequently and reduce the risk of crystal sedimentation, in some cases wet food is recommended in order to further increase this effect and water intake should be encouraged with rain/bottled water, fresh water fountains and even flavored water in conjunction with all diets. Multiple water bowls and litter trays should be available especially in busy or multicat households to encourage regular use and prevent urine retention