Thursday, March 27, 2014
Jack, his bladder, and my sanity
So... Once again.. as you may have gathered from the title of this post, we are once again dealing with Jack's rebel bladder. As much as I want to beat myself up for 'causing' this (and this one I really do believe I caused as I gave him a treat that I suspected before of causing an issue since it has more than one ingredient) I know - and I mean really know - that this is not on me. Jack is a very very sensitive boy and I have to accept that. Could I be doing more, maybe, but not with Jack. He is his own kitty and I have to work with in the limitations that he presents me.. (which I'm going to touch on in a minute)
So Monday night the entire Crew were clamoring for treats. I really hate denying them when they look so cute and they look cute a LOT.. there are times I succumb. I was running low on "Jack approved treats" meaning treats that had just one or two ingredients and have no plant based ingredients. I was digging around in my treat cupboard and stumbled upon a package of UTI support treats. I had gotten them a while back and had given Jack a couple in the past, and each time shortly there afterwards he would either start peeing inappropriately or acting uncomfortable. It is one of those things where you couldn't really be sure.. so I suspected they were an issue, but I did not know. The ingredients have several things that are helpful to kitties with bladder issues like d-mannose, cranberry extract and N-Acetyl Glucosamine but it also has brewers yeast, corn oil, glycerin, maltodextrin, rosemary extract, soy lecithin, and vegetable oil.
Since I only suspected.. I gave him one. ONE. I gave him a few freeze dried treats to go along with it.. he also got his daily herbal supplement (oddly enough from the same company) which has been keeping him on an even keel as of late. I missed one dose a couple of weeks ago and he peed on something the next morning.
In the morning he seemed to be uncomfortable. I immediately locked him away in the bedroom with food and litter. Every time I've done this in the past he has REFUSED to use the box for 12 -16 hours.. often not peeing until the middle of the night. I joke he has a 'shy bladder'. Because of this a) I wasn't panicked when I went home from work at lunch time and he still had not peed, and b) I can't ever test his urine for his PH levels (but more on that in a bit too)
At lunch time he was so happy to see me, he wanted attention. He purred. He ate. He still was obviously uncomfortable. I had given him some supplements to acidify his urine (L-methionine - which is better for a cat than the lower quality DL-methionine that they put in the 'prescription' (and some OTC) urinary foods) and gave him some fluids and went back to work.
Now.. you can give l-methionine on a regular basis to help force a cat's urine into the ideal range of 6.0 - 6.5 (acidic on the PH scale) but you need to be very careful when doing this. If a cat's urinary PH is too low for too long it can run the risk of developing oxolate stones in the bladder which are far more difficult to treat and often require surgery. If you have a cat that will let you know when it is about to pee, and doesn't wait for hours when you want a sample - unless you can wait for hours - you can get PH strips to test the cat's urine so you can monitor it. Oddly enough there is a LOT of information you can glean about your cat's health if you want to dabble in urine (yes, I know, that sounds gross). You can get a refractometer and learn oodles of very helpful information - but as in the case of the PH - you need fresh urine.
And since Jack will not allow me to gather that information, I'm flying blind a lot of the time so I have to be very conservative.
Well anyway.. I got home from work on Tuesday and he still had not peed for me. He did pass some stool which was another good sign, and he had finished off most of the food I had given him when I locked him away. He was still bright eyed, still attention seeking, but still looking uncomfortable. Now he was laying down and the rear leg that was on top would be lifted slightly. At this point all of the local vets were closed.
Now let me preface what I did next with: He has been in this position before and came out of it just fine with some fluids and some l-methionine. This time I also had some cornsilk which is also soothing to the bladder. I also had some buprenex for pain from the last time he was uncomfortable like this and we went to the vet and got a once over.
So I waited. I checked in with him every hour or so. His attitude did not change. He did not eat the food I gave him for dinner, which was concerning, and one thing that always makes me worry as Jack's nickname is the garbage disposal.. he is always up for food. So now I had two symptoms that concerned me.. but I have gotten him out of this spot before. I was going to take him to a vet in the AM and have a once over - but I fully expected him to urinate before the night was out.
I checked on him hourly. I tried to get some sleep at about midnight. Each time he went to the box I woke up and prayed for that special sound of free flowing urine.. heck even a drop would have let me get some sleep.. Around 2AM I got up for the fourth time. He was slightly less energetic, and bingo we had the third symptom. I've got a list of like 10, and when we hit three I get to the vet, period. So I woke my husband up and off we went.
And yes, he was blocked.. and he had a bladder the size of a tangerine.. and now he has been at the clinic for 24 hours. His BUN and creatinine were very high when they first tested his blood, as well as a very high glucose level. After 12 hours there his levels returned to mostly normal. They really really got stuck on the high glucose level and wanted to run additional tests on his blood sugar.. I had to roll my eyes, they were already charging me an arm and a leg for every single solitary thing they could think of (including a warming charge in case he got chilled after surgery). I am all for supporting my local emergency clinic, because with out the fees they charge they couldn't stay in business and then they wouldn't be there when I wake up at 2AM and decide I can't deal with it any more... but man I wish they would just charge one larger fee and do away with charging me to inject the medicine they want to give (along with the charge of the medicine they want to give)
I was going to try to get him to a local non evet, but no one local has the ability to watch him over night. At the point when I would have had to pick him up to get him to a local vet, he still had very bloody urine and they were afraid of it clotting over night and reblocking him, so he is still there.
They were feeding him C/D: Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Fish Oil, DL-Methionine, vitamins, Taurine, minerals Rosemary Extract, Beta-Carotene. (I've already mentioned the methionine, there are more plant based ingredients in this food than animal products, synthetic vitamins, GMO corn meal, what is chicken liver flavor that is cheaper than chicken liver? what type of fish, CAFO chicken just a few reasons why I'm so against this food) so I had my husband bring him up some raw food. Hopefully they give it to him, if not at least I tried.. I'm sure Jack is loving the canned food, he really does adore junk food, it is near impossible to keep him off me when I eat pop tarts.
He gets glowing reviews for not only his progress but his personality when ever I call. Which is the second real issue I have with this clinic.. They keep telling me they will call me with results, but they never have and because of that I got about two hours of sleep that night. I hate calling anyone, but I suck it up to keep tabs on my boy. I'll get over all of my issues if they simply do not send him home with two fat lips.
So as for my sanity.. it irritates me I can not fix this.. or even really do anything but walk a very very fine tightrope of keeping him stable. I still blame Catswell Treats for putting him in this position. He was far more stable prior to getting those, not needing herbs daily to keep from becoming inflamed. I know this is biology, which is far more mysterious than you might realize, and much more of an art than a true cause/effect science. Biology is not algebra.. there is no one right answer every single time. I am coming to accept that and deal with that limitation, but darn it why does it have to keep smacking me around and making me it's whipping girl??