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.
Diabetes mellitus is a disease that both dogs and cats can develop, although the disease differs between species somewhat. The clinical signs that many pet owners report early in the disease process are weight gain, excessive thirst, increased frequency in urination, urinating outside the litter box or having accidents in the house, and increased appetite. As the disease progresses, the clinical signs are typically weight loss, lethargy, not eating, and vomiting.
Veterinarians will suspect diabetes based on a pet’s history and the clinical signs that the pet owner has seen. A urinalysis and blood test can be done to diagnose a cat or dog with diabetes. Once the blood glucose reaches a certain level, it will actually start spilling out into the urine and we sometimes see this when we are checking a cat for a urinary tract infection.
Once a diagnosis of diabetes has been made, it will be important to follow the advice of your veterinarian very closely. Treatment will vary based on species and your particular pet. Dogs more commonly have Type 1 diabetes; which is when insulin-secreting cells are destroyed, thus making the dog dependant on an outside source of insulin. Cats develop inadequate or delayed insulin secretion (Type 2), and often cats can be controlled with diet alone after the blood glucose is stabilized initially with insulin.
We teach pet owner’s how to give insulin at home, which will be given every 12 hours. Periodic blood work will be required, more frequently right after diagnosis, to ensure that the blood glucose normalizes. We recommend a special diet that will aid in weight loss and controlling the blood glucose. Cats can sometimes be taken off insulin and controlled with diet alone.
If diabetes is untreated, it can cause the pet to become very sick and can be fatal. The body will go into a state of ketoacidosis causing electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, kidney failure and obtundation. Pets will require hospitalization for several days and the prognosis is guarded.
If you think your pet is showing signs of diabetes, please contact us in Springfield at 217-529-4499 to get an appointment set up right away. Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.