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I have a six year old female cat who has been making frequent trips to the litter box and straining (producing very little urine) for several weeks now. The pattern seems to be that she is sick, or straining, for 3-4 days, and during this time she licks herself frequently and urinates outside of the box. Then she seems fine for a week-10 days, resuming normal urination and behavior, and then the problem resumes. This first started happening on Jan. 26.

I took her to the vet, who prescribed an oral liquid antibiotic (Clavamox) to be administered 2 X a day for 14 days. The next day, on the 27th, before we even started the medication, the cat seemed to be fine again. I gave her the antibiotic anyway, and on Feb. 4th, about the 9th day into the antibiotic, she began having urinary difficulty again.

I took her back to the vet on the 5th, where they did a urinalysis. The urinalysis reported no blood in the urine, no crystals, and that she did not have high levels of bacteria. Her pH was 6 and everything else seemed to be okay. The vet thought that she might have swelling of the bladder, and prescribed an oral steroid, Prednisone. The Prednisone was to be given 2 X a day for 5 days, then once a day for 5 days, then every other day for 5 days. We began the Prednisone that night, and on the 9th she seemed to be better again. We continued with the Prednisone, and then on the 14th she began straining/frequent urination again. Because this pattern happened before, I'm doubtful that the Prednisone actually affected her behavior.

I am at a total loss. I've been told that the next step would be an ultrasound for stones, but I do not have $500-$600 dollars for the procedure. Plus, the vet said that since there are no crystals to test that would determine what kind of stones she would have, the only way to remove them is surgery. Again, I do not have the financial means for this. Also, 75% of feline urinary tract disorders are idiopathic, so there's a high possibility that the ultrasound would show nothing at all. The vet also said that we could try giving her amatriptiline as an analgesic to see if that helps.

Has anyone heard of anything like this before--the recurring frequent urination and straining then mysterious recovery, with no blood in the urine, no crystals, and no bacteria? Any suggestions?

Please help!
 

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I'm sorry I don't have any useful info for you as I've never had that problem. But $500 for an ultrasound? That's insane! My vet only charges me $30-$40.
 

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This is unfortunately very common.

I agree with your vet, ultrasound is the next step. However, I am appalled to hear that the cost would be so high! Perhaps it is so in your area, but around here it is about half that or less. Your vet is a smart cookie to skip the x-ray and go right to ultrasound, that alone will save you a couple hundred.

Given that her diagnostics are normal, but the problem keeps recurring and medications have minimal effect, the chance of stones is high, and they are likely calcium oxalate (given the low urine pH) which do require surgery. You could skip everything else and go straight to surgery, but from a vet's point of view it's really nice to know what you're looking for!

I understand the financial limitations, but talk to your vet. You may be able to work out payments, or barter for labor (maybe the clinic needs painting), or make some other arrangement. Also, call your local humane society and ask if there are any low-cost clinics in the area. In Denver we have one that works on a sliding scale. Perhaps there is a vet school in the area that might have a low-income program. Having been the victim of UTI's myself, I can tell you that the cat is miserable and needs help!

For more information on urinary tract problems, the dietary component, and treatments, please see my article in the free article library at http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... t=category.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 
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