Sunday, January 17, 2016

max is under the weather

Max just got diagnosed with urine crystals.

He started acting weird in the litter box Wednesday night. I noticed that he was in there for quite awhile, and when he finally came out, he would continue squatting in front of the litter box.  There were a few drops on the floor after he walked away.  Thursday he seemed OK, but Friday morning he visited three litter boxes in a row and didn't urinate at all. That's when I knew he likely had a urinary tract infection or a blockage due to crystals. I'm very lucky to have caught him in the act, so to speak, because it can be difficult to spot such things when you have multiple cats.

Off we went to see Dr. Rob.  Max howled all the way there.  I actually had a headache when we arrived. The front desk person told me she could hear me coming up the walkway, he was so loud! (Max is a bit of a baby.) Luckily, they allow drop-offs, so that's what I did; I had to get back to work. I picked him up later in the day.  Very convenient!

Dr. Rob was able to get a urine sample before I left, which is a good thing.  It means that Max wasn't suffering from a blockage, which is very uncomfortable. Can you imagine having to pee and you can't because your urethra is basically blocked shut?  Painful, to say the least!

Dr. Rob talked to me later in the day and told me that Max may have a UTI, but he's unsure because of the testing they do for the crystals; it can sometimes obscure the results for bacteria.  He found white blood cells, which usually indicates infection, so he thinks Max does have a UTI.  Max got an antibiotic injection, which should take care of it.  The doctor also found calcium oxalate crystals, which can eventually cause stones or a blockage if left untreated.  (Here's a little information about it: Calcium Oxalate Crystals)

Unfortunately, this diagnosis means he has to be on special food for the rest of his life in order to prevent the development of crystals in the urine, which could lead to blockages.  Dr. Rob prescribed Royal Canin SO for the next three weeks ($38.00 for a 7.7 lb bag of dry and $11.00 for five cats on wet food).  It's supposed to dissolve the crystals, dilute the urine, and lower the urine's PH in order to prevent crystals from forming in the future.  Dr. Rob mentioned that I should stop buying seafood flavored cat food, as it has a much higher potential of causing the formation of struvite crystals in the urine. He said not to feed seafood flavors to any of my cats. I told him I had been buying it lately, because the store I usually buy from didn't have the poultry flavors in stock as they usually do.  He said that could be part of Max's problem.

So, once we're done with three weeks of Royal Canin SO, Max will have another urinalysis to determine if the crystals dissolved.  If so, then he can be moved to a urinary health maintenance food.  I will need to find an affordable one, though. The reason I say "affordable" is because I have nine other cats and it's impossible to feed one cat separately; I'll need to feed it to them all.  Well, wet food isn't difficult, but dry food is, since I have two cats that eat dry food only.  They don't eat at the same time the others eat their breakfast and dinner, so I leave the dry food out all the time so they can graze.

I may try the separate feeding, though, so if anyone has any suggestions for doing this when there are multiple cats in the house, I'd love to hear them.  Please!

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