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jca's avatar

What can I do, other than continuing to pay huge vet bills about my 5 year old spayed female cat who keeps getting urinary tract infections?

Asked by jca (35979points) October 5th, 2010

I have a 5 year old female cat who is spayed. 3 years ago she was urinating often, and it had traces of blood in it. She had stones in her bladder, and I spent $1000 at the vet for surgery, to get the stones removed (I had a newborn baby at the time, so needless to say this was added stress but I do what I have to as a pet owner). He recommended special food that is low in ash content, and I have been giving her the special food. He told me some cats are prone to UTI’s and stones.

This past winter (10 months ago) she had traces of blood in her urine, was urinating around the house, and I took her to the vet again, about 3 different times, for tests, and antibiotics. It was a urinary tract infection, and the problem went away. The total of those 3 visits was about $500.

Now, (October, 10 months after the last $500) she has been urinating around the house, including in the tub, and there is, again, traces of blood in her urine. Tonight she urinated on my bed. I am very frustrated and feeling overwhelmed. My sheets were just changed yesterday. Now I have to wash the mattress pad and sheets, but that is all beside the point.

I don’t want to put the cat to sleep. I have paid over $1500 within a 2½ year period on the UTI’s. Is there another solution besides big vet bills for this problem? The vet seems to consist of testing her and finding out she has an infection, and prescribing antibiotics. They probably won’t prescribe the meds without the tests, and the entire thing costs about 100–150 a pop. Repeated visits like last winter get up to $500 pretty quickly.

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17 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

I’d say try another vet. Other than that there is not much you can do. Maybe put down puppy pads.

I have a $10,258 cat. That $258 was just last month. She’s only nine. I justify it by saying she is cheaper than a kid.

WestRiverrat's avatar

A change of diet might help. A different brand of cat food may not irritate her system like her current catfood is.

ETpro's avatar

I’m not vet, and hopefully either a vet or doctor chan chime in. We feed Spoony THE Cat dry food which is good for her teeth and helps reduce hairballs. She’s a very fluffy longhair—tabby and Maine coon cat mix. But we also feed her some canned tuna with a bit of fresh water added. She drinks some water as well, but gets plenty of hydration with the fish, and so far she’s never had a Urinary Tract Infection. She’s soon to be 15 years old.

In humans, lemon juice is good in preventing kidney stones. I don’t reckon a cat would like lemonade but you might be able to squeeze some lemon or lime juice into the fish. I put lemon on mine. :-)

skibianka's avatar

Is your cat heavy? Sometimes additional weight makes it harder for her to clean herself. Having her on a diet might help. Either way I think you should wipe her with water and paper towel once a day. And yes, change the vet!

Pandora's avatar

Found this site for natural herbs and treatment for pet UTI. I don’t personally know if any would work but one of them is cranberry and I know cranberries are good for UTI in people. link

woodcutter's avatar

cat foods that use cranberries as an ingredient are good. I buy it for that reason alone. You won’t see it sold in super markets unfortunately and is a bit expensive too. Not trying to plug a certain brand but we feed our cats “Wellness” brand complete health, in the blue bag.

ETpro's avatar

@Pandora & @woodcutter Cranberry is good for UTIs and Lemon is good for kidney stone prevention.

crisw's avatar

Do you know what the composition is of the stones she is forming? There are various special diets that may help, depending on what mineral the stones are made of.

Blueroses's avatar

Exactly what @crisw said. You don’t want to do home treatment without knowing what type of stones they are. The most common types are struvite and oxalate. One is treated by increasing the urine acidity and the other forms in overly acidic urine so taking a stab in the dark at a guess could make the situation worse.
When you know for sure, there are balanced long-term diets or supplements that can help.
Also, since it’s a recurring problem you could try asking your vet if you can just bring in a urine sample for testing (put out a clean empty litterbox to collect) rather than having to pay for an office visit every time.

gondwanalon's avatar

My male cat was peeping bloody urine in the sink and tub. His urine pH was way too high and that caused triple phosphate crystals to form in his kidneys causing the blood to pass through.
That problem was solve quickly when I stated feeding him “Max Cat” food which lowers to urine pH back down to the acid rage. No more peeing in weird places and no more blood or crystals in his urine.

Plucky's avatar

What types of stones are they? The two common ones listed above are very different from one another (and of course require different treatments). Have you considered different drinking water for your cat (sometimes tap water can harm a sensitive cat)? I would seek a second opinion as well. I would also look into different food.
One of my cats has stone issues as well and has been on Hill’s Perscription Diet cd Multicare for years and hasn’t had major issues since.

I guess it really depends on the cat though. With your high vet bills, looking into a serious diet change would be your best bet. Diet plays a huge role.

ETpro's avatar

@PluckyDog I second the second opinion suggestion. If this is a recurring problem and the vet has never suggested any remedial action, but just charged again and again to fix it when it happens, you need a different, more compassionate vet.

syz's avatar

If you truly want to manage this as well as possible (it’s likely to be a chronic condition, not necessarily something that will be “cured”), I would ask your vet for a referral to an Internal Medicine specialist. You’ll be looking at another significant financial outlay, but Internists research the root causes and then look at the big picture, laying out a plan for long term management. I would guess that a full work up would include radiographs (to rule out new stones), a urine culture and sensitivity (to isolate effective antibiotics) and possibly bloodwork to check for metabolic issues that may be affecting her urine production. Based on results, the veterinarian will recommend the best diet and medication for your cat’s condition.

If you take this route, be sure to express your frustration with the situation and your expectations (no more peeing in the house). The doctor will be able to talk to you about the likelihood of a positive outcome.

NaturallyMe's avatar

I also think get a second opinion by trying another vet (there are doctors and vets who like to make money out of treating recurring problems instead of finding a way to fix it). And maybe move over to a better quality food (although more expensive) – if she’s not already on good quality food. There may even be food that marks on the packet that it’s good for preventing UTI’s. Maybe she’s getting people food that she shouldn’t be getting that’s affecting the acidity of her diet?

Blueroses's avatar

Inappropriate urination and recurring UTIs are very frustrating and is number one on the list for people seeking second opinions.
No vet I’ve ever known would want to take money for treating symptoms only.
It would be irresponsible medical practice to assume that a problem is the same after 10 months. Yes, might be likely to be the same but sometimes cats who had a tendency to develop one type of stone might have changed in urine ph to be prone to another
That said, if your vet is not suggesting long term diet changes, it is time to change vets. You will have to start all over because no vet takes another’s diagnosis as it stands. They will want to do their own tests.
It’s medical practice, not medical perfect. .

filmfann's avatar

We had a male cat that went thru this. We had to give it a sex-change to try and help this, but it didn’t. We burned thru about $2500 trying to stop the terrible discomfort the cat was going thru. When it turned 14, and started having problems again (matched with other issues the cat had), we put it down. It was a very difficult thing to do, but the cat was suffering too much.

Aster's avatar

If she has been cured from a pill find out what the pill was and try to buy it online? This is terrible. I’m so sorry!

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