So why are UTI’s such a problem? Well to start, the term UTI (Urinary Tract infection) is often used as an “umbrella term” to cover a variety of different types of urinary issues common in cats and dogs. Each different problem can have a varying degree of severity and difficulty of treatment. Crystals, bacterial infections, urinary stones, incontinence, kidney disease, bladder tumors, or behavioral marking are just a few of the more common urinary issues that are initially seen by a Veterinarian as a UTI. Each urinary issue has its own unique treatment varying from antibiotics, to special diet or in more severe cases with surgery. Sometimes the UTI is a one time concern, easily treated and resolved. But in cases like urinary crystals, stones, tumors or behavioral marking these can be chronic and lead to a life-long treatment plan.
Meet Athena. Athena was adopted by one of our veterinary technicians, Miss Terri, in May 2015. She was a great little fit to their family of 2 other cats and one dog. In the beginning, she took some time to find her own. She was playing well with the male cat and dog, but Terri’s other female cat, who wasn’t so sure about her at first, stayed in her own room until she became more comfortable with having a new housemate. Athena had also been great when a new addition of the 2-legged human variety came home (they became best friends) and then 17 months later when another 2-legged addition came home, she became best friends with him as well.
In November of last year, Terri brought Athena in for a possible UTI. She had been urinating in inappropriate places in the house. It wasn’t very often, but it wasn’t like her at all. After a urinalysis, ultrasound and bloodwork Athena was found to have an overwhelming number of struvite crystals and bacteria in her urine. Struvite crystals are a build-up of minerals that cause microscopic crystals to form, (that can eventually lead to stones) in a pet’s urine. There were no bladder stones or tumors seen on the ultrasound and her kidneys looked good on the bloodwork.
Two weeks of antibiotics soon became six weeks, a culture and sensitivity test was performed to find an antibiotic specific to the infection Athena had, and she was started on a special prescription urinary diet. Miss Athena had a severe bladder infection that needed extended treatment. Thankfully now, 3 months after she was first diagnosed, Miss Athena is off all antibiotics and medications and only on her special food.
Since crystals can be a chronic ongoing concern, the need for a prescription diet will most likely be for the rest of her life. In addition, she may still have reoccurring infections that will need to be addressed from time to time. The hope though, is that because of the special diet they will be less severe.
It took three month of antibiotics, rechecks and testing before Miss Athena was finally back to her old self and playing with her 2 and 4-legged family. So why are UTI’s such a problem? Because in most instances there is no easy answer, no quick fix. They are however manageable. Miss Athena is proof of that.
If you have questions about urinary disease with your pet then give us a call at 301-768-4051.