FLUTD: Urinary Problems in Male Cats

This weekend, I decided to sleep late. Louie came into the room and gave me some snuggles. I got up, cleaned the litter boxes, and watched Louie be the first to use the big one, not uncommon for him to want to be the primo pee-er after a scooping. Then he used the kitchen one. Then he went back to the big one. This was concerning.

The Louie in question.

I crept up on him and saw that he was only getting a few drops of urine out at a time. I’ve seen Pinkle do this, but Pinkle is a female and there is less risk of blockage (though I do still call the vet and treat her when it occurs). In male cats, it may only be a few hours before their urethra gets blocked and they go into kidney failure. I called my vet.

Since it was Saturday, both vets I keep on hand were closing soon. Neither would see him. They said it might turn out to be a hospitalization and he was going to have to go to the ER. And so, we packed the little guy up (me and “the dude”) and drove him to the ER in Indiana. Slightly farther but better care. (This is where I discovered the Humane Indiana Resale shop I wrote about in my minimalism post)

After a brief exam (his bladder was small and not hard), they concluded that he was not yet blocked, but that he did have blood in his urine and was at risk of blocking in the next few weeks.

Señor Pantalones has been stressing Louie out with his extra energy, high-speed attacks, so I needed to minimize this since stress could be a cause of idiopathic FLUTD in young cats (Idiopathic being there is no known cause). I was told to keep Louie stress-free (a tall order for a former feral) and hydrated.

Knowing that my blogger friend Connie over at Tails from the Foster Kittens has had this experience several times with her similarly-furred friend Jack, I reached out to her to find some possible solutions. She asked him what his urine pH was. Well, I had no idea so I called the emergency vet. They said it was 5. Normal is 6.0 – 6.5. So, too acidic. It seems that could have been caused by diet, except Louie is on a raw diet, high in protein, which should balance his urine pH appropriately. I did notice his fur was a bit flaky lately and Connie mentioned it could also be caused by dehydration. I noted that I had given him some extra dry food the last two days in a row. Perhaps that was it, since that seemed to be what caused it for Pinkle on her last occurrence. Connie also suggested Corn Silk, something I hadn’t heard of prior. Upon some research, it seems it is used to calm irritated bladders, as a mild diuretic, and to stop dogs from wetting the bed. I grabbed some from Amazon for a few dollars. The vet also recommended Cosequin, also available from Amazon, for slightly more dollars.

So far, Louie seems to be doing ok. He did not want to be sequestered, but I did keep Pants away from him while I wasn’t there to supervise. He’s been getting his corn silk and soup for meals (I like Honest Kitchen Prowl with extra water added) and making me feed him by hand. I am also giving him extra helpings of Answers raw Goat’s Milk. It’s their favorite.

The vet told me to look for signs of blockage that include yowling, pain, lying on his side, lethargy, or a hard bladder. Seeing as he’s been playing tag with he laser pointer, I’ll assume he is OK for now.

And, per usual, my favorite vet Dr. C. called us on Tuesday to make sure Louie is ok and doesn’t need further help. (If you find a vet like this, keep her.)

If your cats, male or female, are showing signs of distress in the litter box and it has never happened before, it’s worth a call to your vet, especially if your cat is a male. It could be a serious emergency. I am not a vet and do not play one on TV, either. Please always consult your vet about anything you read here before trying it out on your pets.

Love and Healthy Pee,

Alana.

Further reading:

Tails from the Foster Kitten’s piece of Jack and struvite blockage

AVMA article on FLUTD

An Honest Kitchen piece on natural urinary remedies

(This article was not sponsored by anyone. Any brands mentioned here are mentioned because we use and like them.)

Minimalism, Pets, and Finding Freedom

You Guys!

Mom is giving away all our stuff! Please help. I need my stuff.

Love,

Mrs. Peabody

Just kidding. Mrs. Peabody didn’t say that because I don’t know of any cat that “needs” stuff. Sure, we have some really cute toys here: reindeer from Christmas, a little lobster that Louie doesn’t play with much anymore, a blanket made by my grandma to keep Mrs. P warm when she was a baby. How many of these emotions placed upon these items, though, are the cats’? And how many are just mine?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about all the things I have in my life. I look around at my house and, though it’s tidy, I sometimes feel weighed down by the number of objects that are in it. Every object requires care, even if I don’t really care about it. I add water to my piano humidifier system (five minutes), I dust the shelves but have to move fifteen knick knacks first and then put them back (fours minutes), I need to vacuum but have to move the screen that’s on the carpet to shield the twenty cat toys on the rug (45 seconds). The more I started realizing that items are not just passive things that sit around, but that they require monetary investment followed by time, upkeep, and energy, the more I wanted to pare down. I want to keep only the items that are worth my time.

This minimalism concept has been growing in my thoughts for awhile. Recently, I was offered a job in Los Angeles. A dream job, really, but for several reasons, I turned it down. One of those reasons was that I had no idea how I would fit me, six animals, and all my stuff into a small enough place that I could actually afford. And right then, the seed of “why” was planted. Shortly after I made that decision, I watched a documentary called “The Minimalists,” about two friends who gave up their high-paying jobs, put all their things in boxes, and kept what they needed. Going forward, they brought into their lives only what had value, whether that be a necessary tool for their craft (a laptop) or more time with their loved ones. Searching further, I found their website and read more about their journey and ideas. I recommend spending some time there, if you have it.

In their account, they decided to pack up everything they owned and only keep what they used in ten days. I will admit that I’m not going to go that far, but I am looking at everything and asking “why?” Why am I keeping this? Why do I need this? I’m also wondering “Can this benefit someone else?” and “Can this do more good elsewhere?”

Louie taking advantage of the donation box.

So, I started small. I found a pair of earrings I never wear, given to me as a gift by a student over a decade ago. I gave them to a current student who recently had her ears pierced and the smile on her face was absolutely worth it. Then I tackled the five boxes of books in my attic. I used to have a room full of shelves. I called it my library and I dreamt of the day I would have that again. But now, it doesn’t suit my lifestyle. I opened the boxes and pulled out just the books I loved, ones I have read more than once and may read again. I kept those. The others went into the neighborhood library box on my street, some will be sold, and many I will donate. I find that it’s easier to donate when you have a good cause. Since my cause is almost always animal-related, I’ve decided to donate to the Humane Indiana Resale shop. Everything they sell benefits their rescue work for homeless pets. Suddenly, giving away that rarely used panini press doesn’t seem so painful.

Thus far, I have thrown out one full trash bag and one full recycling bin, given away roughly fifty other items, and have two full boxes ready to donate. Clearly, I will NOT be giving away my animals, but I CAN give myself permission to give away a few of their unnecessary items.  Giving feels good. It’s lightening my burden and making me nicer to people. I already see some of the benefits and I’m not even halfway finished with part one.

With Love,

Alana.

P.S. As I was writing this, I heard the sounds of Pinkle opening the pet toy drawer behind the couch.  She crawled in, and out of all the thirty or so toys in that drawer, she found the one little wooly ball that she loves best, and she brought it to me to play. And that is the one we will keep.

 

 

 

 

 

Old Dog Vestibular Disease: A Holiday Scare

Dear Readers,

Doodle, our beloved little dog, gave us a serious health scare a few days before Christmas. Picture this: we were sitting on the couch playing a video game and she was tucked betwixt me and The Dude (that’s what the cats call him, so I’ll go with it.) Doodle started panting and I noticed from behind that her head was tilting to the left repeatedly. I hopped down in front of her and looked into her eyes and noticed that she was completely unable to focus. Her eyes were flicking back and forth. She tried to stand but her legs slid right out from under her. I called the GrandFODs up and they came rushing over, but by the time they arrived about 4 minutes later, she was ok and walking again. Based on the way her eyes were moving and my own previous experience, I wondered if she had possibly had a bought of vertigo. Of course, I was also terrified she was having a stroke. I booked a vet appointment for the next morning.

Louie helping with Doodle’s supportive care. She was quite dizzy here.

Our vet, Dr. C. , said that based on the description, it seemed like Doodle had come down with a case of “Old Dog Vestibular Disease.” We were told that many dogs of age (Doodle is over 13) develop this problem out of the blue and the only real option is supportive care. Dr. C. mentioned that if Doodle had had a small episode, she would likely have a longer one, and she was not wrong.

On Christmas day, Doodle got very sick. She was lethargic, her eyes were floating back and forth, and she threw up from queasiness.

Here’s what you might notice if your dog has vestibular disease:

A rapid flicking of the eyes back and forth

A slow movement of the eyes towards one side, as though they are being pulled

Rapid Breathing

Unable to eat or drink on their own

Drooling (From queasiness) or vomiting

Walking in circles

Running into walls or leaning while they walk

 

I put Doodle on 5 days of 25 mg per day of Meclizine, an anti-nausea medication that you can get over the counter. The doctor can also prescribe it. You may also find it as non-drowsy formula Dramamine. This enabled her to eat and drink, though I had to assist her because her depth perception seemed to be off and she was unable to get at the food and water without help.  I also carried her down and up stairs and did not let her walk alone. I brought out her new Ikea pet bed because it’s low to the ground. I did not leave her alone on the couch or any elevated furniture and kept her away from any stairs or drop offs.

Humans who have suffered vertigo may be familiar with the Epley maneuver where your head is rotated into several positions to assist in moving inner ear crystals to maintain balance after an attack. The vet did not recommend this, but I noticed that Dixie was lying on the side to which her eyes were being pulled, so I worked her through the Epley maneuver (Again, this was not vet-recommended) and she seemed to get better shortly thereafter. After five days, Doodle was her self again. She is now handling everything like a champ and is no longer on medication.

If your dog goes through this, some remember that they need supportive care:

Assist your dog with eating and drinking

Do not leave your dog alone for long periods. Considering confining them to a small room or crate, if they’re already used to being crated.

Give them a comfortable place to rest

Provide anti-nausea medication, if vet-recommended

Get a vet checkup if your dog has never experienced this before. We also did a full blood workup and know that Doodle has no other underlying problems, which was worth the peace of mind.

Seeing Old Dog Vestibular Disease in action for the first time is a very scary event. Hopefully, this will help any of you feel less frightened if it happens to your dog. Senior dogs do require some extra care and this is just one of the many things that we can prepare ourselves for ahead of time to better assist our aging friends. Remember, they can get through this with your help!

Doodle is feeling much better but Louie is INSISTING on offering more supportive snuggles. Or maybe he’s just cold.

Happy New Year!

Love,

Alana.

 

Further Reading:

Mercola Pets Vestibular Disorder Article

Pet MD Article on Vestibular Disease