Cat with struvites

Food, Fitness and how to keep them healthy.

Postby amalie79 » July 22nd, 2010, 10:18 am

I saw that several of you have had cats with struvites just this year-- if I didn't know better, I'd think something was going around! At any rate, we've got one with them now, too, and I thought I'd throw a few of my questions out there to see if any of you have any advice. This is a little long, but I'm flying a little blind with this mess...

Our poor boy Chester stopped eating Tuesday and was totally blocked by yesterday; they blasted the crystals and put in an open catheter, which he'll wear for a week while he takes baytril. The laundry room is now carpeted in puppy pads :rolleyes2: . He threw up a little bile last night after we brought him home. But after that he sort of nibbled a very little bit of the S/D wet and dry. This morning he picked at it, but was pretty unimpressed. I got him to eat a piece of tuna (I know-- tuna is bad and probably one of the contributing factors to this mess, but a boy needs some moisture) and lick a little super watered down tuna water. I'm waiting to start the antibiotics until he has food in him.

I've relented and am using the S/D for a month, >( and I'm not happy about it-- but I've got to get him to eat it first. Did any of you have trouble with your cats eating the S/D? I was hoping he would be ok with switching foods cold turkey (he's not usually picky and had a day or so of fasting), but I guess I'm going to back up and try slowly transitioning him. If it comes down to it, I'm going to see if the vet thinks I can give him a mg or so of valium to get his appetite going. My concern is that he's wearing the e-collar while we're gone, so it's not always easy for him to drink or eat (though not impossible). I want to make sure he stays hydrated and avoids lipidosis. And I don't know what I'll do if he refuses altogether.

My second question is about the maintenance diet-- have any of you found something better than the Science Diet C/D? The vet clinic I use has 3 fairly traditional docs-- one is pretty open to natural remedies and seems somewhat knowledgeable and trusts me to do the research on things (and appreciates that I do). The main vet, and the one my family and I have used for 25 years and who we saw yesterday, is great and I trust him a lot-- but he doesn't know much about raw foods or other more holistic approaches. He's told me he's very happy for me to try a raw diet with the cats, but has been frank that he doesn't know much about its effect on struvites. :|

I am currently considering either: a homemade raw diet with Wysong's struvite prevention supplement; or an incomplete prepared diet, like Bravo, also with the Wysong. I have 4 cats in the house, one of which is frustratingly allergic to everything. I hate the thought of having the Science Diet anywhere in the house; one bite of that and our allergy baby will be throwing up, shedding, and sneezing all over the place. :neutral:

Ugh. At least we have entertainment: Robin thinks Chester in his e-collar is some horrible monster that's moved into the laundry room and that we need to be constantly alerted to this new development. lol
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Postby amalie79 » July 22nd, 2010, 10:30 am

Sorry if this should be in a different place on the forum-- I saw a couple other posts on this topic in this spot, so I decided to just follow suit!
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » July 22nd, 2010, 11:46 am

My cat with struvites is eating Purina UR which is total crap but she thinks it's the greatest thing ever. She inhales it like she's never eaten before. Even though it's total crap food, I will honestly say that it has helped. Since she's been eating it she hasn't peed outside of her litter box anymore *knock on wood*.
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Postby Malli » July 22nd, 2010, 12:01 pm

Just wanted to mention that you should (Amalie) tread lightly here. Male cats can easily die from urinary blockage, and in fairly short order.

The purpose of the open catheter for 1 week is to flush out most or all of the crystals so that when the catheter is removed, Chester has a better chance of being able to pee on his own; so, if you think an alternate food might give him more crystals, just be careful ;)

Have you tried offering him the food while sitting with him with the E-collar off?
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Postby amalie79 » July 22nd, 2010, 12:59 pm

Malli wrote:Just wanted to mention that you should (Amalie) tread lightly here. Male cats can easily die from urinary blockage, and in fairly short order.

The purpose of the open catheter for 1 week is to flush out most or all of the crystals so that when the catheter is removed, Chester has a better chance of being able to pee on his own; so, if you think an alternate food might give him more crystals, just be careful ;)

Have you tried offering him the food while sitting with him with the E-collar off?


Right-- the vet told me that they wanted his bladder to stay nice and empty while the antibiotics were doing their thing. I do know that male cats are more at risk, which is why I'm going along with the prescription diet at this point. If I can't find any good evidence that a raw or other diet would be as good for him, I'll stick with it; I was just posting here to see if anyone had found any of that evidence. Having another cat that's so allergic to the ingredients in the S/D and C/D makes it that much more difficult. I'm mostly concerned that everything I've read says that dry food is partly the culprit and he's turning his nose up at both wet and dry right now. He nibbled Tuesday morning, licked a tiny bit of tuna juice and canned food juice Tuesday night, then had the catheter put in yesterday morning, after not wanting to eat for a day, had a tiny nibble last night and an even tinier nibble this morning. I keep having to remember that he's just come off of surgery and anesthesia, is probably in a bit of pain, and stressed with his confinement. But cats get into that not-eating cycle that's so hard to break.

I take the e-collar off of him to eat. He sniffs the food, maybe licks it, and then curls back up to start licking the catheter again. He was up and active at 8:30 when my husband left for work. I just worry that he'll dehydrate or end up with fatty liver disease because he's somewhat overweight-- which is also why I'd resort to valium by this evening if he's still not eating. I think he may have nibbled at a little of the food overnight with his ecollar on, so I think it's possible for him to get some nourishment with the collar, just not easily.

Cats are so much more delicate than dogs that I never feel like I can wait out much of anything with them.
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Postby Malli » July 22nd, 2010, 1:39 pm

I would say more at risk is putting it midly. Its my understanding that it's highly unlikely for female cats to have any type of blockage at all(often it seems the crystals are found by mistake or because of issues like Liz mentioned), whereas I've seen many many male cats "at the brink" and a few that did actually pass away from it. I don't mean to lecture, but from the other perspective, when I worked at the Animal Emergency Hospital, it often seemed like clients didn't full comprehend just how dangerous and sensitive this condition is; I know you were asking about food, but when I see people question diet with blocked cats it makes me so nervous - I've seen cats that literally had 2 meals off of their prescription diet and reblocked. This is is a bit different then looking into alternate diets or alternate diets for other medical conditions...
Periactin (Cyproheptadine) may also be an option to stimulate appetite, it doesn't have that intoxicating/sedating affect that valium has and can be given repeatedly.
Was he prescribed any pain medication? This was always a concern with the Veterinarians I worked with, though the wrong pain med may not only make him pain free but less likely to eat...
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Postby amalie79 » July 22nd, 2010, 1:55 pm

I certainly don't want to do anything that puts him at risk. I'm now just sick worrying that he's dehydrating. It's hard for me to tell how much moisture he's had for the last couple of days, though he is still dripping-- he hasn't stopped urinating. I don't want to force too much of anything onto him and stress him more, but I want him to get well, too.

No pain medication-- and I haven't given him the baytril yet. I've had other animals have nasty GI side-effects from baytril and I wanted to give it to him with food and try not to do anything that would make him any more nauseous or unwilling to eat than he already is. I've given valium to another cat in a somewhat dire situation where she was refusing food due to stress. It stimulated her appetite and took the edge off the situation. I gave her around 1 mg, and rather than sedating her, it made her very VERY affectionate and hungry.

At any rate, I'll be calling the vet this afternoon if it's no better when my husband gets home at 2 or 3.
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Postby BigDogBuford » July 22nd, 2010, 3:22 pm

It might be crap food but if he keeps him alive I say use it. I managed a blocked cat for 16 years with the 'crap' food (UR and C/D) so I'd definitely say it helped.
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Postby amalie79 » July 22nd, 2010, 4:53 pm

BigDogBuford wrote:It might be crap food but if he keeps him alive I say use it. I managed a blocked cat for 16 years with the 'crap' food (UR and C/D) so I'd definitely say it helped.


And that's definitely what it comes down to in the end for me. I've just been trying to find out if there's something that's nutritionally "better" for him AND keeps away the struvites. That's why I'm asking the questions-- trying to find the BEST approach-- because, as we all know, SOMETIMES the traditional, mainstream approach is not the best one. However, in this case, it sounds like may very well be our best option. Ultimately, I want him to stay healthy.

Also...

He ate something!! :dance: He ate some dry and a little bit of VERY watered down tuna water. I'll wean away the tuna water altogether over the next day, hopefully, but for now if the smell keeps him hydrated and keeps him eating his daily allowance of the struvite dissolving food, then HOORAY! I guess the anesthesia really took more of a toll on him than I expected.
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Postby Malli » July 22nd, 2010, 5:15 pm

I think the urinary catheter is pretty uncomfortable, too.
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Postby amalie79 » July 22nd, 2010, 5:21 pm

I'm gathering that. I think I accidentally hit it while I was cleaning up next to him and he growled. A lot.
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Postby BigDogBuford » July 22nd, 2010, 5:36 pm

Crystals and the whole treatment procedures are extremely painful. Think about it, they essentially have what feels like little pieces of glass floating around in their bladder and trying to pass through their ureters. I've had a urinary catheter and that crap hurts.

Also, I found Baytril and Zenequin to be my preferred AB's for Amadeus when he got UIT's related to the crystals.
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Postby amalie79 » July 22nd, 2010, 5:42 pm

BigDogBuford wrote:Crystals and the whole treatment procedures are extremely painful. Think about it, they essentially have what feels like little pieces of glass floating around in their bladder and trying to pass through their ureters. I've had a urinary catheter and that crap hurts.

Also, I found Baytril and Zenequin to be my preferred AB's for Amadeus when he got UIT's related to the crystals.


Absolutely. I feel terrible for the little guy! I know Baytril is usually great for urinary problems; my old dog has an iron stomach, but that one completely ripped him apart, so I'm just careful about giving it on an empty stomach. Chester just got his first dose with his dry kibble, watery tuna water and some chicken broth soaked kibble.

He's pretty miserable, but he sure was happy to see me!
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Postby BigDogBuford » July 22nd, 2010, 6:54 pm

I also highly recommend a canned version of whatever prescription food they give him. There's some thought that dehydration can contribute to the formation of crystals so the extra liquid in the canned food can help.
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Postby amalie79 » July 22nd, 2010, 7:37 pm

BigDogBuford wrote:I also highly recommend a canned version of whatever prescription food they give him. There's some thought that dehydration can contribute to the formation of crystals so the extra liquid in the canned food can help.


That's actually one of the reasons I was looking into raw. What I understand is that to prevent the crystals from reforming, you need high protein, high acidity, high moisture. Raw provides all those; plus, Wysong, who also makes a prescription-only diet (like Royal Canin and SD and Purina), makes a supplement that I assume is primarily all the extras from their urinary diet foods. I'm not trying to be contrary about feeding SD-- It's absolutely what I'll be feeding until I'm very VERY VERY certain of something else's effectiveness. As has been pointed out, there's no reason to gamble with his life when we know this works.

That's the other reason I've been so concerned with keeping him hydrated. So far, he's only interested in the dry, but I haven't given up on the wet. I'd like to at least do a mix. I'm also going to buy a pet fountain to encourage them to get enough water.
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Postby ArtGypsy » July 22nd, 2010, 8:06 pm

BigDogBuford wrote:It might be crap food but if he keeps him alive I say use it. I managed a blocked cat for 16 years with the 'crap' food (UR and C/D) so I'd definitely say it helped.



Ditto... :|
Over my years with 'blocked males' (struvite heaven over here on the prairie)), I've given up and just buy the great big bag of C/D and don't deviate.

I plan on merging all my cats on the C/D because with these spoiled guys, trying to keep him out of the IAMS (I know, not great food either)
I've just decided if I can't beat em, I'm joining em.

I went on a cat forum and did a lot of persusing and found a whole bunch of cat owners despising Science Diet, but not too many could find a good alternative.
Also, a Good many found it alarming that so many of their boys were BIG problems with Cat Wellness....
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Postby amalie79 » July 26th, 2010, 10:56 am

Also, a Good many found it alarming that so many of their boys were BIG problems with Cat Wellness....


I've heard that Wellness is particularly bad with this. We actually feed dry Pinnacle and Weruva wet-- though they only get a couple of spoons of watered down Weruva a day, and I've been spoiling them by letting them have more tuna than they should. That has stopped, and let me tell you the perplexed death stares I got this morning when I set down plates of chicken were priceless. :rolleyes2:

I don't want to do ANYTHING based solely on anecdotal evidence. So I did a little trolling of PubMed, the medical research database, and found some interesting things-- if anyone wants the links to the abstracts just let me know. I'm finding, first, that struvite prevention diets need low ash (magnesium), high acidity, and high moisture content. I found research pointing to a reduction of incidence by HALF when fed high moisture content diets; I found other studies that compared high nutritional protein diet with acidifying supplements, and found that the high protein diets were more effective. I looked at studies done by food manufacturers, clinics, and vet med schools. I haven't pulled the full studies on these yet, but I probably will, and considering these things, a raw diet seems like the best candidate. I really just wanted to know if there's ANY remote scientific reason to continue the quest. :D Next step is to email my cousin (a surgical vet) and I'm heavily considering making an appointment with the more holistic vet about 25 minutes away. I know some of her clients, so I'll speak to them; I want to be sure that she isn't opposed to traditional medicine, but rather open to alternatives. No agendas, please. The kickbacks from Science Diet just make me wary.

Chester's urine production seems to have slowed down just a little, but it's still coming out regularly. We bought a pet fountain, which is helping, but he HATES the canned Rx food. I've tried mixing it in with very, very watered down Weruva chicken and slowly increasing the amount of Rx; I've tried microwaving it; mixing it with dry. Nothing. :neutral: Mostly the poor baby hates wearing his collar of shame.

Until I find something else, it's dry Science Diet, a water fountain, and any moisture I can add anywhere else. Fingers crossed that he continues to do ok and can have his catheter out on Wednesday. (knock on wood!!)

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