April 2nd, 2006, 08:23 PM
Hi. I have a 14-year-old male indoor cat with a history of urinary crystals. Recently he became blocked with what our vet has told us is oxalate and sulfate crystals. In the past he has only had sulfate crystals, which he was on a diet for. We took him to the vet immediately and she told us that he needed surgery to clear the crystals. She checked his heart and noticed a murmur and warned us it might affect the surgery, but besides weighing him and checking his bladder she didn't do any other tests. After the surgery we went to visit and were told that the cat didn't do well during surgery that his blood pressure went up and down and it wasn't until he heard our voices that he woke up from the anesthetic. She called later to ask if we wanted a blood test done to see if the cat had a heart problem. We agreed to the test and the results were that the cat appeared to have damage to the heart muscles. After a few days she let the cat come home, but told us that the cat because of how he responded to the anesthetic is not a candidate for any other surgeries, although crystals do remain in his bladder and we’ve again changed to a new food to help with this. When he came home we noticed he had a very high heart rate even at rest and was very congested, although the vet has said that he no longer has a murmur and his blood pressure is normal now. It just seemed that he came home is worse shape with the fast beating heart and congestion, and the vet has said that since we have decided to let nature take its course since he’s an old cat he will more than likely suffer a major heart attack. She also wants to test his urine again, and said the best way to do this is to lock him up overnight away from his box and then bring him in the morning to the clinic and they can get a sample. However, we are reluctant to do this because we don’t want to place undue stress on his heart by having have to hold his urine in for a full night.
I was wondering if anyone might now from their own experiences if my vet should have given the cat a blood test before the anesthetic, so as to rule out an existing heart problem that would have gotten worse with the surgery since he is an older cat? And also if the remaining crystals due again lead to blockage anyone know of any options for us since he’s not able to have further surgeries? And is there a less severe way to get a urine sample for the vet without having to cause him stress? Thanks.
April 2nd, 2006, 08:47 PM
I was wondering if anyone might now from their own experiences if my vet should have given the cat a blood test before the anesthetic
I've never heard of a vet not offering and suggesting blood tests to check for organ dysfunction before surgery, especially on an old or compromised animal. She never mentioned the tests to you?
Of course what you want to do next is up to you, but I would be very hesitant to have an invasive or stressful tests done on this cat. However you really need to know if the crystals are gone, since blockage is a very painful thing and sometimes fatal if a vet cannot be found, say, during the night.
There is a way to get a sample without stressing your cat, if he will go along with it. You can buy crystal cat litter, that allows the urine to run right through it and can be collected straight from the litterbox. You would need to buy a new clean box and the cystals.
Sorry your old guy is failing.:( If he's having difficulty breathing or refuses food, you'll need to get him back to the vet. I know you don't want him to suffer...
April 3rd, 2006, 03:22 PM
Hi thanks for the info. When we took him in we had to go through the consent forms and she marked the parts we had to read. The only part she said didn't concern us was the part about blood tests since they weren't going to give him one. That was the only mention pre-surgery of a blood test.
I am concerned about him becoming blocked again since he can't have anything involving anesthetic done anymore. We are hoping this new food helps the crystals shrink in his bladder and he is able to pass them easily.
For the most part though he seems fine now, back to his usual self other than if hes stressed or excited which is when he gets conjested and in general he now has a very fast heart beat for a cat, and gets tired a lot more quickly as a result.
I will try pick up a new box and see if I can find some cyrstal litter. I feel much better about this method than locking him up overnight and causing him stress. Thanks for the tip.
April 3rd, 2006, 05:13 PM
I was just wondering what kind of food he's getting,IMO he should never again eat dry food.But I am sure you know that already.
Mixing his canned food with warm water is a good idea.
Any procedure I've had done on my cats,they always check the blood first and in your case,with an older cat,it should absolutely have been done.
I have never heard of a vet suggesting to keep the cat away from his box for that long,it sounds like cruelty to me,especially since he already has a problem.
When I had to take a urine-test on a diabetic cat,I followed him to his box and in a little container I caught enough pee,he gave me some strange looks:D but the alternative was worse.
April 4th, 2006, 10:16 PM
I am surprised the vet did not suggest a very simple method of urine collection that I have used several times at home. My Vet gave me a bag (one pound or more) of tiny nylon balls (sort of the size of a smiley). You take a clean and not too big litter box, wait until the cat has passed stool (e.g. after a meal) so that the cat only uses the new litter box for urine. You replace the litter box and just leave it there. Make sure the quantity of little balls provide enough litter coverage. The cat uses this litter box to urinate just as they would the normal one. You then take it away and with a sieve pour the urine into a clean container, and retain the nylon balls. The nylon balls and other small litter box can be washed with soap, disinfected and re-used at some future time.
Re the heart condition - my 14 year-old cat was just diagnosed with a possible heart condition due to an irregular sound. My vet indicated that in order to really be sure of the condition and degree, an ultra-sound by an internal vet specialist is the only way to really be sure of what is going on. She also indicated that a heart condition can be controlled through medication, but contrary to dogs who go through phases of symptoms, the cat heart can tick away undetected of major problems and then just one day it is too late. You may wish to discuss an ultra-sound for the heart-condition check and possible treatment. Just a thought.
Hope you will be successful in collecting urine in a non-stressful manner.