I have long been fascinated by a syndrome that occurs in cats that has no logical explanation I can come up with: Why do cats with blood in the urine deposit that abnormal sample on white surfaces where the contrast will show the blood?
Suppose you’re a person who is deaf and are unable to write. You have pain and burning when you urinate and you notice that your urine has a red tinge. Perhaps your only way to communicate to your caregiver that you have a problem is to urinate in a bathtub, sink, on a white shower curtain, paper towel or sheet. We’re human, we can figure that out.
As amazing as many dogs and cats are, no educated person is going to give them credit for having reasoning power to discern showing their medical abnormality to their owner in that way. In fact, I’ve never seen it done by a dog.
Yet, in thirty years of practice I can tell you I’ve heard that story repeated dozens of times regarding cats.
Little Mercy, pictured here, did it over the Thanksgiving holiday. When we performed her urinalysis there was an overwhelming amount of blood and an impressive quantity of struvite urinary crystals.
Struvite crystals, made up of ammonium, magnesium and phosphate ions, form in neutral to alkaline urine. Their structure contains sharp spicules that irritate the lining of the bladder, resulting in the blood we see. Struvite crystals can congregate together to form plugs that stop up a male cat’s urethra, and in larger numbers can form stones in cats and dogs.
I don’t know how cats come up with the idea to demonstrate their urine abnormalities to us, but I am very glad they do. Otherwise they would suffer longer with these problems before getting the help they need.
A Convenia antibiotic injection and a change of diet to Prescription Diet c/d will have Mercy back to urinating in her litterbox again in a few days. The c/d has a lower quantity of struvite building blocks and it acidifies the urine so that potential crystals stay in suspension instead of solidifying.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph,.