Cat's Urinary Disorder Is Potentially Deadly

Q My cat seems to be having a problem with its urinary system. I understand that it can be cured. He is an outside cat, so I can't check his urine. He cleans the genital area quite often and the hairs between his legs smell of urine. I'm writing this because I understand the treatment is quite expensive, and I don't want to spend the money unless it is necessary. Is there a way of making sure of the illness?

O. Ong,


A Urinary disorders in cats, especially males, can become life-threatening if left untreated. If a male cat's urethra becomes blocked with mucus or a crystalline substance called struvite, he will be unable to urinate or remove toxins from his body. Licking at the penis is often an early sign of such a problem. Straining to urinate or frequent trips to the litter box are also sure signs that your cat is having urinary problems and requires prompt attention by your veterinarian. You should have a physical exam done and at least a urinalysis taken to check for blood, bacteria or crystals. After the exam, an X-ray may be necessary to rule out bladder stones (calculi) or tumor.

Depending on the results of the exam and urinalysis, your cat may be treated with antibiotics, a prescription diet such as C/D or S/D, and possibly a medication to reduce the straining. More serious cases or recurrent episodes may require blood tests to evaluate kidney function and may require that your cat be treated with intravenous fluids. A culture of the urine may be necessary for persistent bacterial infections. If a stone or tumor is present, surgery will be necessary. Of course, the expense is dependent on the cause and extent of the disorder affecting your cat. However, I definitely recommend you have your cat examined by your veterinarian and discuss which approach is necessary for your cat.

Q I am a 5-year old Samoyed-Labrador. I am pure white, 2 feet tall and in perfect health. I am well cared for and quite happy, but recently I have overheard some derogatory comments about my weight. I admit I am a bit overweight (about 15 pounds) at 85 pounds, but I have a voracious appetite. My question is how can I lose weight and keep it off? Please prescribe a sensible diet. Thanks a bone.

Tuesday Lisa Rubio,


A This is a very common problem in our dog population, and I recently had a similar question from a cocker spaniel owner. As always, an examination should be done to make sure there is no underlying metabolic disorder causing the weight gain and to assess a dog's overall health. Restricting the amount of the current diet and allowing absolutely no treats or snacks is the easiest method of controlling weight. A gradual increase in exercise will help decrease the weight sooner. There is a prescription diet called R/D that your veterinarian can supply, and this must be fed exclusively. The pet should be weighed weekly or bimonthly to chart progress.


Spot, right, is a 2-year-old neutered male Dalmatian. He is loyal, serene, independent and extremely sensitive. He also needs obedience training. However, he is neat, exceptionally clean and has an excellent memory. He loves to play with tennis balls. He needs lots of attention and doesn't like to be left alone. Spot would be a good pet for a family with children. He is available for adoption at the Irvine Animal Shelter, 15129 Sand Canyon Avenue, (714) 559-7387.

Also waiting to be adopted at the Irvine Animal Shelter:

Short-haired cat: Dockie, a 2-year- old neutered male, has a solid white coat and mismatched gold and blue eyes. He has a "cool" personality and tries to act standoffish, but with one scratch to the cheeks, he becomes a real pussycat.

Doberman pinscher: Rommel, a neutered male about 2 1/2 years old with cropped ears and tail, is a beautiful animal. He needs a refresher obedience-training course and a fenced yard.

Lhasa apso: Target, a neutered male about 4 years old, has salt-and-pepper coloring. He still has a lot of puppy playfulness and needs daily walks and romps in the grass. He would be a good choice for a family or for someone who lives in an apartment or condominium.

Mixed shepherd: Tennie, a 4-month-old male, will probably weigh 80 pounds when he is fully grown. He needs a large fenced yard and a family willing to train him during the puppy stage.

The Irvine Animal Shelter is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fees: $48 for dogs, includes refundable spay/neuter deposit of $15; cats are $33, includes refundable spay/neuter deposit of $10. Animals are normally kept at the shelter for 45 days. A number of animals are kept longer through the shelter's extended adoption program, which is supported by private donations.

Got a question about your pet? Write Dr. Glenn Ericson, Ask The Vet, Orange County Life, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626. Ericson, a practicing Orange County veterinarian, is president of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Assn.

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