high-quality wet food for kitty with struvite crystals in urine
I just found out that my 10 year old girl kitty has struvite crystals in her urine. Her pH is about 6 (the vet said it should be 5), but her ultrasound and x-ray showed no stones or "sludge" (as the vet put it). **ETA: I wrote down the wrong values - she said Daisy's pH was 7.5 and Fitzy's was 8, and both needed to be in the 6.1-6.6 range.
The vet's recommendation: no more dry food, Rx wet food, and lots of water. Ugh. Right now the kitties eat Natural Balance vension green pea wet food and Natural Balance duck and green pea dry food (which is on its way out - they're down to 1 Tbsp each per day and I'm cutting it out altogether). Her brother has a food sensitivity to chicken - it gives him diarrhea. So that's why they're on the venison/duck diet - it was really difficult to find a food without any chicken products in it.
So my question is this - has anyone had success with high-quality non-Rx wet food diets for their cats with struvite crystals? The vet recommended the Hills Rx wet food - it's vile. It's seriously disgusting. The cats don't want to eat it, and I don't blame them. And I know better - I know it's not good for them - but I panicked at the vet and bought 3 cans of it to "try it out". I cannot in good conscience feed them pork by-products and grain and gluten. I can't. And I don't think that it's the solution anyway - there has to be something better. But I'm not a vet, and I have no experience here.
I'm going to call the vet tomorrow and talk to her in-depth about what the nutritional profile of the food needs to look like - I don't remember the details (I was panicked and this was the day before Christmas, unfortunately, so they've been closed since then) but I do recall her saying "low ash" and low something else, too. I'm going to get the details tomorrow, but if anyone has any suggestions for foods I can bring up with her I'd be so appreciative. I've gone through a few other threads and saw a few of the suggestions, but most that I looked up had chicken as the main ingredient (or near the top of the list).
So to sum up: They're currently on NB venison/green pea wet (mixed with a little water), and I'm phasing out the NB duck/green pea dry altogether (down to about 1 Tbsp per cat/day). I need a high-quality, grain-free wet food to acidify her urine and prevent the struvite crystals. Preferably without chicken as the main ingredient, since her brother needs to eat the same food. Thank you in advance for any help!
ETA: I just got off the phone with the vet re: my other cat's urinalysis results. She said he, too, has struvite crystals. He also has protein in his urine, but she's not sure "how much" and suggested another test where they check creatinine and protein levels together. Apparently the vet did a quick ultrasound of him as well and saw no stones. Sooooo...now they both need "special food". I really feel like screaming a few expletives right now. I'm 99% sure they're sending the tests out to a lab to be performed, and they even admitted (with no prodding on my part) that crystals can form within the first hour of the urine being sampled. So, um, does my cat have crystals or did the urine sample just sit around?!
My boy kitty also has elevated liver enzymes (his ALT is slightly elevated at 166) and we have his blood checked regularly - up until this urinalysis result everything else was normal, so I have no idea if the two things are related. And I haven't done much research into how food could affect those liver values - I don't want to solve one problem and create another one.
I'm also calling another vet. This one isn't working out (for a few reasons). And I HATE that knee-jerk reaction of, "This is wrong with your cat. Give them this prescription food." How about WHAT in the food is causing the problem? Or WHAT in the food needs to change? Not just, "Here's some food."
Last edited by MissPurryJess; December 29th, 2012 at 04:07 PM.