Urinary Tract Problems in Cats
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on December 31, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Cats
Urinary tract infections or bladder problems are the number one reason cats are taken to the veterinarian according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. The signs of bladder issues are pretty obvious–the cat urinates in odd places, has pain or straining with urination, licks the genitals excessively, goes frequently to the box, or passes blood or cloudy urine. If you have a male cat and he has the above signs, this could be an emergency. Cats of either sex can develop bladder stones or crystals but in the male cat these stones can cause a urinary obstruction. This means that the cat cannot empty his bladder. If the obstruction is not relieved, the cat could die, so do not fool around with this condition. Seek immediate veterinary attention.
Not all cats with urinary problems have stones, crystals or infections. In fact the majority of these cats do not have true infections, but tend to be treated with antibiotics anyway by most conventional veterinarians. Holistic veterinarians have different treatments for these problems that are often more effective.
The first thing however is to diagnose the problem. A complete urinalysis is needed to determine if there is an infection, or crystals. Sometimes an X-ray is needed to diagnose stones. If neither of these are present, it is possible that the cat may have stress cystitis ( bladder inflammation) or inflammation of the bladder wall. Holistic treatments for these conditions often work better than conventional treatments.
Diet is the foundation for holistic treatment of this condition. Cats should be feed a meat based diet, either raw or home cooked, not dry food. A meat based diet is naturally antibacterial and acidic and prevents urinary crystals. Even canned food is going to be preferable to dry as these cats need more water in their diets. Cats should be fed only twice daily and the food left out for only 30 minutes as this prevents frequent grazing. Cats who graze throughout the day produce more alkaline urine and this leads to crystals and sand in the bladder.
Other natural remedies which your holistic veterinarian would be able to prescribe would include acupuncture and Chinese herbs like Crystal Stone Formula or homeopathics like Belladonna, Pulsatilla, Nux vomica, and Coccuscacti. Cranberry extract and Vitamin C can be used to decrease urine pH. Glucosamine is also helpful to protect the lining of the bladder. To use any of these you should consult a veterinarian familiar with natural treatments.
Urinary Gold for Feline Urinary Tract Health is also effective for bladder infections and stones, although it is listed for kidney problems.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan