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Urine Crystals...any advice?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
We've been having some issues with Forest peeing outside his litterbox, so we went to the vet yesterday to get checked out. She found a few crystals in his urine. Fortunately, there weren't many, so there's still time to fix this before it becomes a big problem.

The vet recommended that we get him onto a urinary health food that includes DL-methionine. Forest's been getting the Nutro Complete Care pouches. They already include DL-methionine. However, he's been getting the fish formulas about half the time. I found out from the vet, though, that fish can cause crystals. Needless to say, ALL the fish formula food in the house was packed up and exchanged for non-fish food last night.

Do you think that taking him off the fish formulas will be enough? Or is there a better food to get him on? Because of his disability, he has trouble eating the squishy kind of wet food...he does much better with the "chunky" kind.
post #2 of 15
There are several urinary diets on the market, generally the prescription diets are much better than over the counter for problems like this. Did the vet recomend a particular food? If so, I would keep him on just that food.
post #3 of 15
If this were me I would put him on a prescription maintenance diet. It is much cheaper (and better for the cat) to maintain a healthy urinary tract rather than deal with a blockage! The prescription diet would guarantee an appropriate urine pH. Hills, Medi-cal (IVD), and Royal Canin all have good diets available at your vet. Wet food would be preferred over dry.

If you want to stick to a pet store food I think nutro still makes Nutro Max which is formulated to maintain good UT health. I am not sure if it is avalable in wet though. If you choose a pet store food I would stick with wet and have your vet recheck his urine 3-4 weeks after starting the new food. If you are still seeing crystals or a high pH you should put him on a prescription diet.
post #4 of 15
I've found that the very best thing for crystals is a complete wet food diet comprised of a high quality wet food. It doesn't necessarily need to be one made for UT health, just a high quality food. And yes, I would cut out fish flavours!

Good luck!
post #5 of 15
I agree with Vanillasugar. A diet of exclusively premium canned food is best - and much better for overall health than the prescription diets, which contain many questionable ingredients.

Also, find creative ways to encourage him to drink more. A cat fountain is a good investment, and you should also place water bowls in various places around the house. Many cats prefer to have their food and water in different places. Don't forget to put a bowl on his favorite napping shelf too.
post #6 of 15
in addition to diet, it can be very helpful to test your cat's urinary PH on a regular basis as crystals will only form in a low acid urine. Part of the diet changes are to induce a higher acid content in the urine. Too acidic a urine can lead to stones, so the urine really needs to be balanced. By noting the PH you can head off a problem before it becomes serious.

You can either by some ph paper (litmus paper) and then swab it into a fresh urine sample in the box and check the color against the scale.

There is also a special litter that turns pink or red in response to urine that isn't acidic enough. It does not seem to test for urine that is too base (alkaline) but that isn't your cat's issue. You can read about this litter at their website, http://www.scooplite.com/. I have never tried it personally so I can't actually vouch for it.
post #7 of 15
It depends on the cat. A few just need more fluid, some need a lower mineral content and some need an acidified diet to avoid crystals. One of mine must have an acidified diet or he has problems. I keep him eating science diet/hills foods because I know SD carefully controls the amount of mineral content and the ph balance of the food.

If you're going to use a food other than what your vet recommends please do the research and call the companies to get information on levels of magnesium and other minerals and the ph balance so you know you're feeding an appropriate food.
post #8 of 15
I agree with Vanillasugar and Semiferal…high-quality, all wet-food diet, and a fountain to help encourage drinking. To further ensure water consumption, you can also mix water into the wet food as well.

This is the approach we took with our cats. It is important, however, to work with your vet on this so he or she is in the loop. Our vet suggested Hills C/D for our 3 boys who tested positive for crystals; after looking at the ingredient list I couldn’t bring myself to feed that to them so I did some research and presented what I found to my vet, saying that I wanted to feed the boys all wet food instead; our vet was in agreement with this plan.

Also, running routine urinalyses on a regular basis will help keep you on top of things so you are sure they are in proper working order.
post #9 of 15
I have never had this problem but I too lean toward an all wet diet or possible a homemade diet...I highly recommend a chit chat with your vet to make sure..
post #10 of 15
I probably don't need to say this, but just in case not everyone is aware - It isn't a choice of either a prescription diet OR a wet food, prescription diets do come in canned versions too, not just dry.
post #11 of 15
Originally Posted by ForTheFurballs
I probably don't need to say this, but just in case not everyone is aware - It isn't a choice of either a prescription diet OR a wet food, prescription diets do come in canned versions too, not just dry.
Yes, I was aware of this when making the choice...for me it did come down to the ingredients, which is why we opted for a mixture of Merrick's and Californial Natural rather than the prescription diets. Definitely a personal decision, though...
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everybody. My vet didn't really recommend a specific food...she suggested the Purina Urinary Health food, but said it could be any food that contained the DL-methionine.

I've looked at the ingredients of the Purina food, and I'm not very happy with them...lots of corn meal and by-products. The Purina does seem to have a higher protien content, though. Curiously, it does not contain the DL-methionine that she said he needed.

He is on an all-wet diet now. The Nutro food he's on is a high-quality food and does have the DL-methionine, but also has a lower percentage of protein. I tried to compare the Royal Canin food, but I can't find the product information on their web site. I think I'll give my vet a call and ask her what she thinks.

We have a fountain, but they didn't seem to use it so we put it away. Thanks for the suggestion about putting some water sources away from their food. We have three water dishes now, but they're all by their food dishes.I think it's time to take the fountain out again and find a spot away from the food dishes for it.
post #13 of 15
Originally Posted by Tari
The Nutro food he's on is a high-quality food and does have the DL-methionine, but also has a lower percentage of protein.
This could actually be a key...it's something tha I came across while doing all my crystal research. From what I found, protein helps acidify the urine, so the higher the percentage of protein, the more it helps prevent crystals. Something you could look into....
post #14 of 15
Your cats might drink more if you have ice in the water. Mine love very cold water...they get excited to drink when i change the water with ice 2 xs a day.
post #15 of 15
I've had one of my fosters, with FLUTD, on Eagle Pack food. This is stated to also help, as much as the C/D from the vet - but with better ingredients. It's been good for Sadie...but then again she is female. But then, this can be a bigger problem with the males.
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