Once before Turbo’s owner had called to say Turbo was complaining when he urinated. We performed a urinalysis in the office and sent a urine sample to an outside laboratory for urine bacterial culture and sensitivity. Based on what we could determine microscopically and chemically on the urinalysis we assumed his urinary tract infection (UTI) had relapsed, and we restarted antibiotic therapy.
However, when the urine culture results came in the report indicated that no bacteria had grown on the culture. What, then, had we seen on the microscope?
That answer became clearer today when Turbo returned, again complaining when he urinated. The microscopic component of the urinalysis revealed struvite crystals, which are made up of ammonium, magnesium and phosphate ions. Red blood cells were also evident microscopically. The chemical component of the urinalysis revealed that the pH of the urine was high. In an environment of elevated pH (meaning low acidity) struvite crystals will form, whereas in a pH of 6.0 and lower the components will remain in solution, and flow out with the urine.
What does all this mean for Turbo? We have changed Turbo’s diet on the assumption that it is those crystals that are causing him discomfort and bleeding while urinating. We had first chosen a diet for kidney-damaged cats, but the appearance of a high pH urine indicates that Turbo needs more help in acidification.
We will keep you posted on Turbo’s progress.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.