Litter box problems are the number one issue that we see cats for at West Lake Animal Hospital in Springfield Illinois. Typically when we examine at cat that has urine issues we hear from the client that the frustrating feline has been urinating and sometimes defecating outside of the litterbox. Some cats will go to the same spot repeatedly, others have certain objects they are going on like clothing, towels, and rugs, and a small percentage are going in random spots.
The first step is to have your veterinarian do a full exam to be sure your furry friend is otherwise in good shape and healthy. At West Lake Animal Hospital in Springfield we then collect a urine sample to run a urinalysis. How does one “catch a urine sample” on a cat? It’s not easy! Frequently we let them hang out at the clinic for a while with some special non-absorbable litter. A cystocentesis can be performed if necessary, and will be performed if a sterile sample is needed.
The urinalysis checks for infection, pH, specific gravity, crystals, blood, and a few other parameters that indicate the overall bladder health. If we find abnormal results that indicate infection, we will treat with antibiotics. Other treatments for diseases that involve inflammation or crystals may include prescription diets. If your cat has frequent cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) or urinary tract infections, there are some environmental changes that you can make to help prevent symptoms. It is advised to have one extra litter box than you have cats in your household. Encourage your cat to drink water by providing a water fountain and offering canned food as part of the diet which provides more moisture in the diet. We recommend rechecking urine samples two weeks after antibiotics to be sure the issue has been resolved.
If you have a cat that suffers from urine issues at home, it’s best to talk to your veterinarian about it. There are definite medical conditions that cause this in cats or sometimes it can be behavioral which your veterinarian can also discuss with you. Please call us if you have any questions regarding your cat’s health, 217-529-4499.
Ear infections in dogs are very common, especially this time of year because of allergies. Environmental or food allergens cause inflammation within the ear canal in allergic pets. The inflammation causes changes within the canal that promote bacterial and yeast overgrowth and infection. Signs of an ear infection include inflammation, itching, pain, swelling, odor, and brown or yellow discharge. Pets usually come into the clinic because they are shaking their heads and scratching at their ears.
If you notice any of these signs, please schedule an exam for your pet. We will examine the ears by looking down into the ear canals and assessing the ear drum. If necessary, a sample of the ear discharge will be taken and stained so we can look at it under the microscope to check for bacterial and yeast infections. Once an infection is diagnosed, the proper topical treatment will be prescribed. This only treats the secondary infection, so for dogs experiencing chronic ear infections, strategies to address the underlying allergy or other primary disease will be discussed. Even though allergies are the most common cause of ear infections, ear conformation (long, pendulous ears, narrow canals, or large amount of hair), water in the ear from grooming or swimming, and thyroid problems can cause ear infections too. We always keep these in mind when evaluating your pet!
So how do we treat ear infections? Ear drops, systemic medications, hypoallergenic food, therapeutic laser, ear flush/wipes for ear canal health, and addressing underlying causes are among some of the treatment options available for ear infections. Treatment is customized for each individual pet!