Milton’s story begins in 2004 in Beamsville, Ontario. His Mom went to visit a litter of kittens that were in need of a home. She met a tiny little orange kitten and it was love at first sight. They rushed to the pet store just before it closed to set Milton up with all of the necessary gear. Milton was covered in fleas and made his first visit to Clarkson Village Animal Hospital on the following Monday morning.
Milton led a quiet life until this past April. His Mom noticed that he had been stressed by a household move. He had begun to urinate around the new apartment. Cats that stop using their litter boxes often have medical problems that cause them to behave this way. Milton was experiencing FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease).
Milton had a “cystocentesis” performed. This technique involves collecting a sterile urine sample directly from the bladder using a small needle. Milton’s urine revealed both white blood cells – evidence of an infection – and struvite crystals. The crystals pose multiple problems. Alone, they are sharp and can irritate the bladder wall, resulting in infection, bloody urine and pain. When they clump together, they obstruct the exit from the bladder. When urine cannot be passed, a cat is considered to be “blocked”. There are several risk factors that can cause cats to develop crystals and become blocked. Male cats are designed with a particularly narrow urethra (the tube that exits the bladder) and it does not take many crystals to clog it up. Most cats do not voluntarily drink enough water. This causes the urine to become very concentrated. In these conditions, crystals are very likely to form and clump together to form little rocks, called “calculi”. Cats that are overweight are also much more likely to become blocked
Because Milton was at serious risk of becoming blocked, he was placed on intravenous fluids to help increase urine production and keep his urine very dilute. He received some pain medication at this time. A urinary catheter was placed to help keep the urethra open and sterile saline flushed through his bladder to help rinse out any calculi (stones). Another concern for Milton was because he felt so painful and sick, he was not eating. Cats that are overweight and stop eating suddenly can become ill with another serious condition called Hepatic Lipidosis or “Fatty Liver Syndrome”. It was critical that Milton get enough food in him to prevent this from happening. A combination of syringe feeding and appetite stimulating medication was able to successfully prevent Milton from getting into more serious trouble.
Cats that develop crystals and block once are very likely to do so again. Milton was no exception. One month later, Milton was peeing all over the house again. This time he went to the emergency clinic and was referred to the Ontario Veterinary College. There is a type of surgery available that can re-route the urethra so that Milton would be less likely to have this problem again, but there are some serious risks associated with the surgery. Since factors that contribute to FLUTD include being overweight, low water intake and stress, Milton’s Mom opted to manage his condition through diet, weight loss, and vigilant monitoring. Milton now eats much more canned food to get more water. He is slowly and steadily losing weight (he has a way to go, but is down to 24.9 pounds!) and his Mom knows exactly what behaviour to look for to catch problems early.
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