My Name is Leo

An adored cat deals gracefully with a jaw tumor while his owner quietly falls apart.

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Location: Philadelphia area, Northeast, United States

Friday, June 09, 2006

Urinary Tract Infection

Just to make life more interesting...

Wednesday evening, I realized something was up with Leo's urinary tract. He was making frequent trips to the litter box, but only managed to get a tiny amount of pee out.

He has a history of urinary problems -- including a life-threatening blockage when he was about nine months old. Spent most of his life on special cat food -- years on Hills prescription a/d food (although he had problems with the a/d dry food and then went to all wet food diet.)

So, my major concern was that he was going to be blocked again. But Wednesday evening he wasn't in any apparent pain, and at least something was coming out when he tried to go, so I figured it could wait until regular vet hours in the morning.

Even so, worry kept me from getting a decent night's sleep. I think my main fear was that there was going to be something majorly wrong with his urinary tract -- and Leo'd be there oozing bloody drool and curled into a ball (from fear of vet office) and the vet was going to tell me to put him out of his misery. Which I would do if I thought he was truly beyond help.

But my guy had been affectionate and friendly and loving all day and he still seemed to be enjoying life.

I woke up Thursday morning to find Leo in the same shape as the night before. He was happily purring as I pet him, but kept making trips down to the litter box in the basement. He also hadn't eaten much food in the past 24 hours.

But he looked rather good. Because the urinary irritation had prompted him to spend a great deal of time cleaning, Leo had no mucus goo stuck on his face. So, at least his appearance wouldn't influence the vet as far as treatment options.

Long story short (well, may not that short, knowing me...) Got him to the vet where she did a dipstick test and it showed blood, high levels of protein and infection in his urine. Since she was able to squeeze the urine out of him easily, she concluded he wasn't blocked. And Leo should go back on Baytril antibiotic -- a 10 day course.

She gave him a Baytril shot to jump-start the process.

But Leo has lost more weight -- he only weighed 8.6 pounds! I guess it's not too bad considering that the last time he was at the vet office (April) he weighed 9.1 pounds (meaning he's only lost 1/2 pound in two months of dealing with the difficulties of eating with a jaw tumor.)

But he used to weigh 11 pounds before the tumor, so it's no wonder he is looking rather worn these days.

Because he weighs less now, she told me to give him less Baytril than was previously prescribed (1/2 tablet in the morning, 1/4 tablet in the evening.)

Vet also told me that Baytril can be crushed into food -- since I have had many problems trying to give him Baytril before. She spent a fair amount of time discussing different ways to get him to take the pill, that was nice.

They even gave me extra pills in case a pill or two was destroyed/lost in the process.

What didn't occur to me until after I had left the vet office is that they didn't give Leo any subcutaneous fluids like they usually do in UTIs to flush out the system. I don't know if that was an omission or just something the vet felt he didn't need. But it's always seemed to help in the past.

Last night, I had no problem giving him the 1/4 tablet just by pilling him the usual way -- the 1/4 tab is about the size of his prednisone tablet which I can still usually get down the first time.

This morning I crushed the 1/2 tab and mixed it into a pea-sized bit of mayo, which he eagerly licked off the spoon. It took several tries to get it all into him, because he has a hard time keeping stuff from falling out of his mouth.

He doesn't seem to be journeying down to the litter box as much today, and there were a few clumps from overnight in the box that were larger (quarter-sized as opposed to yesterday's dime-sized clumps) but still he isn't going normally (normal clump would be bigger than a golf-ball) at this point.

Oh well.


Blogger Karen B. said...

I have been reading your account. I recently had to put my eldest kitty, (seventeen years old) to sleep due to salivary gland carcinoma, which eventually made her ability to eat enough to sustain her body weight almost impossible. It was the hardest and worst decision in my life. I hope you enjoy each day with your boy.

Her companion, Justin, who is almost seventeen himself, had urinary problems back when he was six. He had some ability, but he was trying to pee everywhere, because it wasn't coming out fast enough, and probably hurt. Once the nasty crystals were cleared out by a similar treatment you described, I found that the best preventative solution was to mix his wet food with water to make a "porridge" or soup. If yours will eat his food this way, that might help him get the water he needs. Mine wasn't drinking enough on his own, and I think that triggered this problem. He hasn't had a recurrence since then. I hope you find this helpful, and treasure every day with your guy. I do, as I did with my little purrbaby.

6/12/2006 6:57 AM  
Blogger Cyn said...

Hi Karen,

So sorry to hear about your kitty. Unfortunately, I may one day find myself facing the same decision. Even when it's the absolutely right decision, it is so horrible to have to make it.

Leo has had a history of UTIs...and for quite a while we were mixing water into his food (and that of his brother Zeke.) Then Zeke started peeing out of the box...he didn't have an UTI; but when vet did urine workup on both (since we didn't know who as peeing until I caught Zeke in the act) she was alarmed at how dilute both the cats' urine was.

So we stopped the water in food. But Zeke continued peeing around the house for 4 years (used the box in addition) -- until his death at age 12 last November from kidney failure. I really think Zeke's peeing outside of the box was due to undiagnosed kidney problem which gave him some such of urinary urgency... because he had never exhibited this behavior in the first 8 years of his life and there had been no environmental changes to prompt territorial marking. But vet was convinced it was behavioral.

Oh well. Thanks so much for your comment. We tried adding water to Leo's food the other day after he was diagnosed, but he's so darn finicky and it seemed to discourage him from eating at all.

I've been giving him some Cat Milk a couple times a day to increase his fluids. He doesn't drink much of it, but it's something.

6/13/2006 9:41 AM  

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