It is a well-known fact in the veterinary world that if you are going to get scratched or bitten by a cat it is more than likely to be from one that is owned by a staff member. One such handsome feline called Alexander has had a long history with the clinic and decided to worry his mother when she had just had her baby. It may have been a ploy for some extra attention, but perhaps that is being too suspicious.
Alex is one of our lovely nurse Rebecca’s cat, and he has had a history of trouble with crystals and stones in his bladder causing him to have a higher risk of urinary tract infections and possibly a blocked bladder. Understandably, Rebecca became very worried when she noticed Alex trying to go the toilet and seeming uncomfortable, she bought him straight into the clinic (which was a wonderful opportunity for us all to have a cuddle of her gorgeous new human baby!)
Urinary crystals and stones can be caused in some cats due to several factors that often occur in combination, including obesity, stress, urinary pH, low water intake as well as the sort of food they eat. Struvite crystals are very common in cats that eat dry cat food from the supermarket and often a change in diet is a large part of the treatment and prevention plan. Once crystals form they scrape the bladder wall and cause inflammation, pain and infection. They can also mix with organic material to form stones that can’t pass out of the last part of the urinary tract and block the bladder. A blocked bladder means that a cat is unable to get rid of toxins out of their body and also they get a lot of abdominal pain and fluid pressure back up to the kidneys that leads to subsequent damage and a risk of kidney failure. These factors rapidly lead to a very unwell cat that needs emergency attention from a veterinarian.
Alex is presently on a prescription diet to prevent crystals forming, but it was a relief to feel a small and comfortable bladder when he was examined. However, Alex had not been passing faeces and was quite constipated. Much to his dismay, he had to have a little stay with us in hospital while we gave him some medicine to help things work more regularly. We also took the opportunity to collect a urine sample and test this in our laboratory to make sure there was no blood or crystals in it, which means the prescription diet was working well with him and there was no need for further medications. Later that same day he was back home with his loving family and new baby brother.
Alex has made a full recovery and is enjoying having his mum Rebecca home a lot more at the moment to give him lots of cuddles and attention.