Saturday, March 28, 2009

Cats with Chronic Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Signs of a urinary infection in cats and dogs include frequent urination, painful urination, mucus or blood with urination and sometimes excessive drinking. Sometimes the only clue is that your pet is waking you up in the middle of the night to urinate. But, often times, there may be no overt signs and so it is highly recommended that a routine urine analysis be done on your pet at least once a year. For older female dogs, since this is a very common condition, twice a year would be best.Whatever the reason your pet is getting chronic infections, a comprehensive approach is needed. Just giving them a cranberry supplement, while helpful, is not the final answer. Your pet’s diet, stress levels, structural and hormonal issues as well as overall health and age are all factors. Holistic pet care has been shown to be highly effective in treating most chronic urinary tract infections in cats and dogs.Urinary tract infections can become a chronic problem. This can occur because even if the infection is temporarily stopped with antibiotics, the underlying tissue is still present. Many times, the affected area remains inflamed and creates an environment where bacteria can hide within bladder walls....(aka interstitial cystitis). Furthermore, antibiotics can disrupt the intestinal flora and good bacteria which are needed to fight off infections. Many people report that their pet starts to get another urinary tract infection just days after finishing the antibiotic. While the antibiotic helps fight off the infection, the underlying conditions that contributed to the urinary tract infection in the first place are still present.

Diet is often a critical factor with cats and dogs that get chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs). Allergies for one can cause a great deal of inflammation and lower the pet's immune response. Diets too high in carbohydrates break down into sugar and can also contribute to yeast overgrowth. Wheat and grains, for example can be high allergen foods and also contribute to yeast growth. Also, kibble and/or dry food can be problematic for both cats and dogs because of its low moisture content.There is no “one” hypoallergenic diet that works for all pets. For best results, you need to consult a veterinary professional. Also, many “hypoallergenic” foods are high in carbohydrates which can also contribute to chronic infections. Just like with humans, carbohydrates break down into sugars which can feed the infections. Sometimes the culprit is too many treats which contain wheat or corn, that also can create an environment for yeast to thrive.

It is important to keep your cat or dog's urinary pH neutral (6.5 -7.0) using supplements. Regular monitoring of your pet's urinary pH can be done at home using pH strips provided by your veterinarian.Nutritional supplements can greatly help reduce the frequency of urinary tract infections and in some pets, in combination with diet changes, can eliminate them completely. What is important is for the pet owner to work with their veterinarian to understand the issues associated with the pet's urinary infections. For example, are there crystals present, very high pH or is the urine pH acidic? Then, once the pet owner has this knowledge the appropriate supplements can be used. In terms of supplements, Ask Ariel has a comprehensive pet UTI prevention program. The Pet UTI Prevention Formula is excellent for cats and dogs that get chronic UTIs and who have a tendency to have high urinary pH as the product helps to acidify the urine (contains cranberry and Vitamin C). The Probiotic and Renelix are helpful for all types of urinary support. Finally, for tough infections, Notatum and Samento are especially helpful.