For the last three months, Soth's been on a prescription diet specifically for cats with kidney disease. He doesn't have kidney disease, but he needs a low purine diet and kidney disease diets provide that. The diet is supposed to help keep his urine pH at a lower acidity to create an environment where the ammonium urate stones won't form. After Soth had a chance to adjust to the diet, we needed to perform a urinalysis to see if his pH levels were where they were supposed to be.
We had that appointment last week. There is good news. For the first time ever, we got a successful urine sample from him. The vet techs took him back to the lab to draw the sample and a minute later the vet came rushing out to the lobby where I was waiting. I was worried at first until her face broke into a smile as she said, "I just had to show you this!" She was holding an full syringe of urine--and it was normal and yellow without any signs of blood! We laughed for a minute about appreciating the little things and then she took the sample back to start the testing.
|It's a rough day when you get pulled out of the dog bed and put in your carrier.|
When the tests were done, we sat down with the vet and talked about the results. We're trying to get his pH levels close to 7--at least above 6.6. They weren't there. There were some other levels that were a little bit off as well. We want his urine specific gravity to be 1.030 or lower and Soth's was 1.050--or something close to that, I didn't quite catch the last number (I'm not going to pretend like I really know what this means--according to Wikipedia, specific gravity measures kidney function and when the numbers are higher, that's a sign of dehydration). He's eating, playing, and urinating regularly (and in his box!), so right now he's happy and healthy. But we also want to make sure that he doesn't have to go through this again.
We're going to try a new medication, potassium citrate, to help with decreasing the acidity of his urine. I just went to the pharmacy to pick that up--and now the fun of giving a cat a pill will begin. It's been years since we've tried, but last time, he'd eat the pill pockets off from around the pill or refuse to eat wet food that had a pill crushed up in it. Since the pills and his wet food are both expensive, I'm hoping that we have an easier time of getting him medicated this time around. He's had one dose so far and the pills were big, so I had to cut them into 4 smaller pieces that I wrapped in parts of a pill pocket and he gobbled them all up. Fingers crossed he continues to do that!
Our vet visit also revealed that my chunky monkey has gained 2 pounds since his surgery (I told you he was eating well!) and weighed in at 13.8 pounds! I'm going to be cutting back on his food a bit to see if we can get him closer to the 11.5-12-pound range. He loves his crunchy food, but since the wet food is more important, I'll be cutting back on the kibble and maintaining the amount of wet food he's getting.
|At least he still has crinkly bacon in his life.|
He's tolerating the new diet really well. The only rough moment has been when I made a turkey sandwich and he rushed over to get a nibble--and he couldn't have any. That broke both our hearts a little bit. He hasn't been vomiting, though (except for the occasional hairball), and before the surgery he was vomiting several times a week for months, so this food is definitely a good thing!
We're also going to be trying a fountain again--the last time we tried the fountain, he started peeing in it. But since he has been using his litter boxes exclusively for 3+ months, we're trying again. Somehow, the pump got lost in our move a couple years ago, so I ordered a new one and some filters and I just got that set up this weekend, so now we can see if he'll increase his water intake a bit. The more often he empties his bladder, the less chance particles can start sticking together and forming larger stones, so drinking lots of water is key. The more he hydrates, the better chance we have of getting the urine specific gravity to the level we want it to be, too.
It's been quite a journey with this little munchkin, but he's feeling better than he's felt in almost 7 years. It was hard to know if performing a major surgery was the right move or not, but I am so glad that I made that decision for him. He's handled these last several months so well, and I'm determined to do everything I can to make sure he never has to go through this again. We'll be doing another urinalysis in 3 months to see if these changes have helped, so until then, we just wait.