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Help :confused: My 12 week old goldendoodle has been having lots of urinary issues. We've already treated him for a UTI and now he's been diagnosed with urinary crystals (I'm not sure which kind - this is all VERY new to me). The vet said all of the other stuff she checked his urine for came back normal (she did some sort of a count), but that the amount of crystals is pretty significant. Obviously, she wants to see us back in a few weeks to do a bladder x-ray to make sure no stones have formed, but she also advised me to change food ASAP.

She is unsure if the food is the issue, which is why she suggest I try something with less phosphorus for the next few weeks just to be sure before she recommends the prescription diet. Although I am not a huge fan due to all of the other added stuff. Right now he's eating Blue Buffalo Puppy - Chicken and Brown rice formula (which all of my other dogs have eaten during the first year of their life with NO issues). However; I am having a hard time finding a food that fits the guidelines she gave me.

The vet recommended that I stay away from fish, and possibly consider adult food as it may have less minerals - my only fear is that he is a growing large breed puppy and needs some extra nutrients (approximately 60 pounds full grown). He does not act sick, he is extremely hyper and active, he eats around 2 - 2 1/2 cups per day (although I did recently start adding warm water to his food to up his water intake) and is drinking plenty of water - not overly drinking but freely goes to his water bowl every hour or so. He drinks much more in the morning as we are crate training and he stays in the kennel at night. He does have his days where he has more accidents (pee's every 30-45 minutes), but it's not always a lot of pee. Then he has days where he goes for hours and is just fine (he also is able to hold it for several hours in his kennel while I am at work). He also seems to pay a lot of attention 'down there' as well.

The vet said that he does not appear to have any other symptoms and is overall very healthy and does not want to jump to 'worse case scenarios' due to how young he is and the fact that he is growing (he gained 8 lbs in 3 weeks), eating, drinking, and playing. I of course have googled his symptoms and came up with so many awful things :(, but am trusting to vet to try less invasive options first. Although, she did inform me that even the worst case scenarios were treatable especially in puppies.

We attempted Fromm (per vet's recommendation), even though it has more phosphorus than his current food, and he started peeing every 15 minutes almost and even peed on his bed - which has never happened before! Their customer service is amazing and the food appears to be high quality but it's seems to be only making my dog's issue worse. I have been researching everything I can for the past several days and Canine Caviar - Special Needs appears to be the lowest phosphorus, relatively natural and healthy, dog food that I can find commercially. I know all dog foods have good and bad reviews but I wanted to get some more opinions before I order (as no where in my area sales the brand).

Sorry for the long winded response - I am just trying to do what is best for my dog and would like all the help I can get!
 

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We own three goldendoodles, they are really awesome dogs! However, I don't think we've ever had problems with UTI or any issues with the urinary tract for that matter. It could just be a genetic condition that makes the puppy more prone. Is he neutered yet?
I hope you can find a dog food brand that helps. We've had issues with cheap dog foods that caused allergies and diabetes in are dogs, which disappeared when we found a more natural, healthier option. Hopefully you can find one that works.

Keep us updated on his progress.

Best of luck!
 

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kluharper;2777586 I have been researching everything I can for the past several days and Canine Caviar - Special Needs appears to be the lowest phosphorus said:
The Canine caviar looks great. You might want to read this because all dogs have crystals. It is only when there is and Urinary infection that they suggest a short term food change.

Struvite crystals do not require a change in diet. Because struvite crystals do not pose a problem unless the dog has a urinary tract infection, there is no required treatment for crystals, including dietary changes. If the dog does have a urinary tract infection, a prescription dog food will not cure it.
DogAware.com Articles: Struvite Crystals & Stones
 

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@crazy's dog Jessie had problems similar to those and she found out Jessie cannot tolerate fruits and vegetables as they cause the issues. I'd suggest trying something like Evo Meat- and Poultry-Based Pet Food ? Premium Dog Food, Cat Food, Ferret Food, Dog Treats ? EVO Pet Products for a few weeks and see how he does. If his urine PH gets better then try adding in fruits and vegetables and see how he does. YOU could also try a commercial prey model raw diet, I don't know which would be least expensive.
 
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@Rain is right i have been through the mill and beyound with Jessies urine issues never mind skin and other issues! thanks @Rain for mentioning me in this post so i knew to reply.

luckily ive Jessies vet folder upstairs with me so i can tell you dates and how oldish she was when started having these issues. gosh she wasnt even four months old when she had first UTI! 10th april 2013 she had a UTI again(5 months) 20th November(1 year old) that same year she got diagnosed with crystals- strutive kind. They automatically put her on the prescription diet even though allergic to chicken. Her belly flamed up and itchy. It did the job but i wasnt happy with the ingredients and her skin.

best food possible to clear this up is a prey model raw diet even if premade trust me on this. Jessie even though she had urine problems (cystitis, UTI's after the crystals) i had her on k9 natural for just about a year to get her off the anallergenic food. She did well but the medication urinaid stopped working, she was having troubles going wees kept peeing inside etc.

I didnt have a good feeling especially when i looked at the ingredients of the k9 natural i knew it contained fruits and veges but it gave me uneasy feeling if that makes sense? i was at this point in contact with a awesome pre made prey model raw food company the cats and dogs dinner company in kapiti wellington NZ. In the meantime we sent off sample of Jessies urine and her PH came back at 9 due to high vegetable content (i think fruit was mentioned by vet too) that was it i was changing her to the new company and 3 days later re tested it and normal PH!

Until i accidentally give her a royal canin educ treat shot to 9 right away! looked at ingredients vegetable powder/fibres! after a day return to normal.

To be honest prescription foods and @KayWilson may know more here but i dont think they are allowed to give them to dogs until a year old? id also try stay away from them yes they work but are they as nutritious as possible? not really
 
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First what kind of crystals did the vet diagnose? Oxalate or struvite? the treatment is determined by the type. Have they started your pup any antibiotics for bacteria?

Second, Jessie's right, normally a vet wouldn't start a 12 week old on urinary s/o or Hill's C/D as it isn't formulated for a growing puppy, especially one that is a large breed - it doesn't have the proper calorie/fat ratios a growing pup needs. I have seen urinary s/o do wonders for pets with chronic crystals and many have avoided requiring surgery to remove stones. That saying, I still wouldn't feed it until it was my very last option.

Personally I would try feeding a wet food in addition to the food you're feeding in order to add water. Also feed frozen pup cycles (frozen broth) as treats to get the water in. I would also try switching from a grain inclusive food to a grain free one like Acana, Orijen, Taste of the wild, Nature's Variety, Wellness, Zignature, etc.

Also at my clinic we recommend switching from regular tap water to either bottled or filtered (like a brita filter) too. I'm not exactly sure why, but the vets recommend it a lot and I personally have a brita just for my dog (she's never had issues and I'm hoping to keep it that way lol). I would also discuss adding a a cranberry supplement as I've heard those can do wonders as well.
 
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I realize that many will disagree with this suggestion but you could do worse than to consider a mainstream chicken based food from Hills, Purina (Pro Plan, Purina One, or Beyond), or Royal Canin (I don't really know anything about Iams/Eukanuba). The reason being, say what you will about the relative superiority of the ingredients of "holistic" brands and the supposed inferiority of the ingredients in mainstream brands, their research and quality controls ensure that the mineral balance is kept to reasonable levels. Pro Plan in particular is strict about this.

This is notably not the case with some Blue Buffalo, Evo and Orijen foods, although most dogs can probably handle the higher mineral content that comes along with a higher proportion of meat protein (particularly phosphorus). There's no need to feed a mainstream food forever but especially now that your dog has an issue with excessive phosphorus letting all those board certified nutritionists help you out is a good thing. Now is the time to consider nutrients more important than ingredients, at least until you get the crystals under control.

The same can be said if your vet recommends a prescription food. The ingredients almost always "look bad" but keep in mind that in order to curb/cure certain diet related issues no AAFCO food deemed "Complete and Balanced" can get certain values low enough to provide therapeutic levels. I have found the biggest problem with prescription foods is that my pets have always hated the Hills' products. I've had better luck with Purina Vet diets and Royal Canin.
 

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@GitaBooks - He's my first goldendoodle as well as first large breed dog but he is such a delight and so sweet. I've always heard good things so I'm glad to hear you've also had a positive experience with them. I contacted the breeder to find out anything I could as far as the rest of his litter or if she has had this issue before but I have yet to hear back from her. The vet seems to think it may be due to him just being a puppy (for now) as he is still in the process of receiving different rounds of his puppy shots. He is not neutered yet. The vet recommended we wait until he is at least 6 months old but we plan to do so as soon as they tell us that we can! Thank you so much for your advice and I will most definitely keep everyone updated!
@Dawnben - Thanks for the link! I read it and called the vet with all my questions! Like I said, all this is very new to me so whenever she told me I instantly started doing research. Per the vet, he did not have any presence of bacteria or infection during this most recent urine and fecal tests; although he has been on two rounds of antibiotics previously for both a bacterial infection and then for a UTI. I actually called and spoke with the reps at Canine Caviar and their special needs formula is slightly acidic which the vet believes will help so we will see if it has helped any whenever he goes back in a few weeks!
@Rain & @crazy - Thank you both for all the information! I do think it's a little odd that he is having so many urinary issues; but am trying to gather all the information I can before making any drastic changes. He does not appear to have any adverse reactions or allergies to food thus far, but then again he's only 12 weeks and has only tried a few different types of food. I completely agree about the prescription diets so I tried to find something that was relatively close as far as mineral levels but still appropriate for a large breed puppy. I am going to try this new formula for a few weeks and see if his tests come back normal whenever we go back in a few weeks. If not, @crazy I may be reaching out to you for more information if you don't mind!
@KayWilson - I am almost positive it's struvite crystals, but I could be wrong because whenever she told me I just heard crystals and started freaking out (I had never heard of them before so was unsure of what I was dealing with). He was treated with antibiotics for bacteria about 4-5 weeks ago and once he finished those he was started on another round for a UTI. Whenever he went back three weeks ago both his urine and fecal exams were clear. He went back for his first round of puppy shots earlier this week and was diagnosed with the crystals then. She suggested I try to find a food on my own lower in phosphorus and magnesium than he was currently eating as she only suggested the prescription as a last resort if I could not find anything on my own (although the blue puppy formula he was on was only about .8% phosphorus). The Canine Caviar that I just started him on is around .16% phosphorus and the magnesium is somewhere around .009% (or something ridiculously low). It's recommended for large breed puppies as well and once his crystals are under control they even suggested that I add different proteins via some of their canned formulas which are apparently 95% meat. We're doing a bladder x-ray when he goes back for his next round of shots in 3 weeks to do some more tests (to see if the food change helped) and to make sure no stones have formed. I have been adding warm water to his food and giving him ice chips as treats as well as placing several water dishes throughout the house. I did not think of the frozen broth but I will definitely look into making those for him! As far as the other foods, I actually called each company to speak to reps for Orijen, Taste of the Wild, Wellness and Zignature and the phosphorus levels were all significantly higher than the formula he was eating before. We actually got a sample of the Zignature LID Lamb formula (as it was highly recommended by a specialty dog food store we go to), and although he loved it, his poo and pee had a much stronger odor and he was urinating more frequently again (similar to when he tried to Fromm, but not as severe). Although I haven't completely ruled them out I wanted to try a food (non-prescription) that was specifically for urinary issues first just to make myself feel better since this is all so new to me and am trying to follow the vet's instruction (per low ash, phosphorus, and magnesium). They also recommended we give him distilled water so I am looking into getting a brita picture as well (I think filtering it gets rid of a lot of the minerals in it that could be contributing to the urinary issues?) so hopefully that will help too! I did read a lot about adding a cranberry supplement so I plan to look more into those and hopefully start using those soon as well.

Thanks for all your recommendations! I am going to keep researching and keep trying things! Any more information or recommendations are appreciated as I am trying to learn as much as I can so I can do whatever I can to help him.
 

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@Philo Vance - I am grateful for any suggestions from anyone who may have more knowledge in this area than I do (which is likely not difficult as this is a new experience for me). I actually looked into Hills, Purina (this is what he came to me from the breeder with) and Royal Canin. Hills and Royal Canin were actually the first I looked into due to their prescription formulas but they were all around relatively the same as far as minerals go. I even looked into Eukanuba as well as my schnauzer came to use from the breeder on this brand and seemed to do well - all the formuals that offered lower phosphorus were 'senior' or 'light' and I didn't want to risk him losing out on too many nutrients since he is growing like a weed! I actually spoke with one of the reps at Orijen and they informed me that I would be hard pressed to find a commercial food with lower than around .8% in phosphorous due to AAFCO guidelines.

I started him on Blue from the breeder because I have been using it for years ever since my yorkie was diagnoses with pancreatitis several years ago and it was the only food that seemed to help keep it under control. He and my miniature schnauzer have been on it for the majority of their lives and have always been healthy (although I know each breed is different). I have actually been focusing more on the nutrients, as you suggested and will likely add extra ingredients (canned meat for protein) once we get the crystals under control.

Thank you for your input as it has made me feel better about searching high and low for a formula will low minerals - a lot of people suggested high quality brands and when I tried them they only seemed to make it worse. Obviously I am not saying they're bad, but with my dog's specific issue their mineral content was just too high. I am feeling pretty confident about the LID alkaline formula we just started as it is also recommended for large breed puppies (so their muscular and skeletal systems grow at the same rate) and is the closest as far as mineral content as the prescription formula (and much more affordable too - although to be honest neither are cheap) but my little guy is worth every penny!
 

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@kluharper Good luck finding a food that works. With a dog that young, it can be hard to balance medical needs vs needs for proper growth. Hopefully it's just a short-term, once-off thing with your pup. I'd hate if your pup ended up getting the short end of the genetic stick from being poorly crossbred.

Generally speaking, I would always opt for a higher quality food (including and especially PMR or whole prey raw) over pop-commercial brands like Hills, Purina, Iams, etc. There's nothing "hype" about the higher quality brands; they simply are actually healthier, more nutritional, and better for dogs. I will never have any animal on those brands (and more) ever again, mostly due to the fact that many contain a particular ingredient that has been proven to contain Pentobarbital (the drug used to euthanize animals) so you can only imagine where that unnecessary flavoring ingredient came from (regardless of whether it was simply farm animals or euthanized pets sold to processing plants by shady vets, I plain and simple don't want my animals ingesting a drug used to kill).

Sure there are stories that float around where people say the higher quality foods made their dog sick when they switched from a low quality food. That isn't surprising. If you had been living off of McDonald's your entire life and suddenly started eating an actually healthy and balanced diet, you would get sick too because your body isn't used to the food you are now taking in.
 

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@Philo Vance - <snip> I actually spoke with one of the reps at Orijen and they informed me that I would be hard pressed to find a commercial food with lower than around .8% in phosphorous due to AAFCO guidelines.

I started him on Blue from the breeder because I have been using it for years ever since my yorkie was diagnoses with pancreatitis several years ago and it was the only food that seemed to help keep it under control. He and my miniature schnauzer have been on it for the majority of their lives and have always been healthy (although I know each breed is different). I have actually been focusing more on the nutrients, as you suggested and will likely add extra ingredients (canned meat for protein) once we get the crystals under control.
Both Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Puppy and Pro Plan Focus Large Breed Puppy have PHO at .8% which is well within the guidelines suggested by the link below. Orijen puppy on the other hand is between 1 and 1.3% which seems a little high. Evo is not normally recommended for large breed puppies due to the relatively high amounts of calcium and phosphorus (1.36% pho). The Zignature lamb is .9% which is also well within the guidelines but keep in mind that this is a minimum amount and Zignature is almost certainly co-packed by someone else so you are trusting that their quality control is strict.

This link may prove helpful: Phosphorus Content in Dog Food - Health Topics - Phosphorus Content in Dog Food - Health Topics

The data goes back to 2013 so the values for specific foods may have changed. I note that for the Pro Plan formulas listed the values are lower now. Also note that the formulas that are consistently lowest in pho, in fact below .8%, are from Science Diet. Now I am not recommending SD and I realize that the reason the pho values are low is because SD is notoriously lower in meat protein, but that's the point: a lot of meat comes with a lot of phosphorus, particularly if the meat used is "human grade" muscle meat. That's why Orijen and Evo have relatively high values. They *do* have a lot of meat protein relatively speaking.

Anyway, I'm sure that you'll overcome this problem and learn a lot in the process. It's good that you have an open mind and aren't trying to impose a rigid ideology on your pup.
 

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@Rain & @crazy - Thank you both for all the information! I do think it's a little odd that he is having so many urinary issues; but am trying to gather all the information I can before making any drastic changes. He does not appear to have any adverse reactions or allergies to food thus far, but then again he's only 12 weeks and has only tried a few different types of food. I completely agree about the prescription diets so I tried to find something that was relatively close as far as mineral levels but still appropriate for a large breed puppy. I am going to try this new formula for a few weeks and see if his tests come back normal whenever we go back in a few weeks. If not, @crazy I may be reaching out to you for more information if you don't mind!
Hey no do i heck mind! i have been through way more then urinary issues with my dog Jessie, heres a quick list off top my head:

Urine infections
Ear infection
cystitis
Low SG (specific gravity)
high PH (urine)
food allergies
inflamed skin
food intolerances
anal gland infection and removal

Have you contacted acana? they make thier food for urine related issues
Q. Do ACANA pet foods promote urinary health?
A. Yes. Due to their high meat content, ACANA diets are naturally acidic and help to promote a healthy bladder. With a pH of about 5.5, which is naturally mildly acidic, our diets are well suited to the maintenance of healthy bladder function in both cats and dogs. see FAQ | ACANA Pet Foods


Also do you know what his urine PH was?
 
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@Larkspur - Thank you! & I completely agree! That's why I'm trying not to mix up things too much because fingers crossed this is a short-term issue. I spoke to his breeder yesterday and she was very helpful. She has not had this issue in any of her dogs thus far (although she was a small breeder and only breeds them once a year) but she did let me know that she was doing research and planned to talk to her vet so I'm hoping that's a good sign that this is not a result of poor crossbreeding. He's an F1 standard so his mom is a full breed golden and his father a full breed poodle. I don't claim to know too much about breeding but I do tend to so my research and felt pretty confident in the F1's as most of the F1b's and F2b's and mixed breeds breeding were where a lot of the health problems can come from.

I am not sure if Blue is considered 'high quality' or not but I think the only reason the Fromm caused so much of an issue was due to the high phosphorus content. When we tried the Zignature LID Lamb formula he gobbled it up so quick I don't even think he had time to chew! However the phosphorus was still higher than what he was eating so we had to keep searching. Neither made him sick, in fact he loved them, but they did seem to cause a flare in his urinary issue. We started him on the Canine Caviar LID Special Needs formula yesterday and he wasn't a huge fan nor does it have a ton of protein so I did some extra research on low phosphorus canned food and decided to add a couple of chunks on top and that did the trick! I'm hoping this new diet will help as it seems like something I can continue doing long-term if need be. Thanks so much for your input!
@Philo Vance - That's what was so weird to me whenever the Vet recommended he have lower phosphorus food - because his Blue formula was one of the lowest I could find initially! I checked out the link you shared and the food we just started him on wasn't listed but I did find a lot of helpful information from this site: DogAware.com Health: Non-Prescription Commercial Diets for Dogs with Kidney Disease

I got both the Canine Caviar Special Needs formula and the Solid Gold Green Trip canned food to add a few chunks as a toping and some extra protein since, as you stated, most of the formulas with more meat had more phosphorus so fingers crossed this combination will do the trick! Thank you so much for the information!
@crazy - I am so sorry to hear that you've had such a hard time with your Jessie but it seems like you really know your stuff so she's obviously getting the best treatment and I hope she continues to do well!

I have not looked into ACANA probably enough as I should. It was of course on a lot of the sites I've looked into due to being 'biologically appropriate' and obviously extremely high quality. I just did some quick research and while everything looks amazing the phosphorus levels are still a bit high in comparison to what he was on and what he's eating now - if this issue clears up; however I will definitely ask the vet about switching so we can keep promoting his urinary health. Thanks for letting me know about them because I probably would not have thought twice about reconsidering them for later, or if this new diet doesn't do the trick.

As far as PH the vet did not mention anything about his level so until I started looking into this I did not even realize how important it was. The formula we have him on now shoots for a slightly acidic urine so whenever I called the vets office I spoke with the office manger and she said she thinks that should help so I guess we'll try it for two more weeks and whenever we go back I'll ask her to test it and see! Thanks for pointing that out as well.

I also looked into cranberry supplements and got him one to try for the time being! I just hope all this stuff I'm trying it helping and doesn't end up hurting.
 

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@kluharper Well I'm not a supporter of designer breeding myself, but that's a whole other can of worms. Health problems can arise from any generation. It honestly just depends on if the parents, purebred or not, have hereditary health problems. I don't know specific problems for Goldens and Poodles, but if both parents are carriers for or have heritable health problems then they can and will pass it on to offspring. That's why health tests exist and are SO important, especially when you're breeding mutts.

A word on cranberry. It's an old wives' tale. The thing (the name escapes me) that they contain makes it difficult for specific bacteria to attach themselves to the bladder. However, cranberries, juice, and supplements do not contain enough of it to actually do anything. Take it from someone who has a chronic UTI problem... the only reason drinking cranberry juice seems to help is because you're constantly drinking and peeing, and therefore flushing more bacteria out.
 

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@Larkspur - I was unaware of the term 'designer breeding'. I honestly just got him because I had a lot of friends with goldendoodles and fell in love with them. I do believe that the more you cross breed mix-breed the more health risks arise, but I also have two purebred dogs who also have some common health issues that are specific to their breed so I think that can be said with any dog - I actually have a friend who refuses to get any dog unless their from the Humane Society due to all the dogs needing homes and her dogs have always been healthy and had no known issues. I personally just try to find a breeder who only does a small amount of litters, is knowledgeable and takes their time with making sure each puppy is healthy and well socialized. He was seen by her vet regularly (I have the paperwork) and by ours for a well checkup and every three weeks since. So far his other brothers and sister have no known issues so I'm hopeful he is just going through something that is treatable. Either way, healthy or not, if I wouldn't have gotten him them someone else would have and I'm grateful that I did because I know I will do whatever it takes to help him and make sure he's as happy and healthy as can be!

As for the cranberry, I remember my mother saying when I was younger (I had a lot of skin issues and allergies) that she would try anything at least once if she knew there was a chance it may help me! I don't have any human children yet, but Pav is pretty darn close so in my research I have not ran across anything regarding cranberry supplements hurting so if it helps, great, if not well at least I tried. My mother and grandmother also have experienced chronic UTI problems for the majority of their adult lives and they both swear by it so so regardless if it's due to other reasons other than the actual cranberry itself oh well, as long as it help!
 

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@kluharper That honestly just depends on where you get them. If a designer breeder health tested their dogs for the breeds' individual problems and they came back negative, the puppies would likely be healthier than the puppies from a breeder of purebred dogs who did not test (or tested and came back positive) and bred their unhealthy dogs. Same the other way around. The sad truth is that most breeders of mixed dogs do not health test... rescue dogs can swing either way. Some are healthy and some are riddled with problems.

It won't hurt, but it doesn't really help. I grew to love the bitter, unsweetened cranberry juice... but you have to be careful with juice in general because even the natural sugars can make the infection worse. I generally just drink a ton of water now. I tend to get UTIs at least five times a year now and I have permanent kidney damage from an infection a few years ago... I'm in constant pain because of that. Not fun.
 
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