Dear Kara: Urinary problems (Sponsored by Hill's Pet Nutrition)
I volunteer weekends at a shelter and continue to see homeless cats brought in by frustrated owners who say they can't get their cats to use their litter box. We typically perform a complete urinalysis, but the results are usually negative for infection or crystals. With these cases, is it a good idea to have the new owners put the cats on a therapeutic food such as Hill's ® Prescription Diet ® c/d ® Multicare Feline pet food?
For the first step, I always recommend the veterinarian perform a physical exam and a complete urinalysis. However, in cases like these, some form of diagnostic imaging, such as abdominal radiography, is needed to exclude uroliths. If results of the urinalysis and diagnostic imaging do not reveal a cause, the cat most likely has feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC)—a common cause of lower urinary tract signs in cats. A multimodal approach including environmental enrichment, litter box management, and feeding moist pet food is appropriate for cats with FIC. Feeding Hill's ® Prescription Diet ® c/d® Multicare Feline pet food, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, will help break the inflammatory cycle in FIC.I'm often stumped when clients ask me what to do when they have cats on different therapeutic foods (e.g., one cat on Hill's ® Prescription Diet ® c/d ® Multicare Feline pet food and one cat on Hill's ® Prescription Diet ® w/d ® Feline pet food). How would you handle this situation?
This is a common question from owners with multiple pets. The answer depends upon the disease and the food recommended by the veterinarian. If you are managing cats with feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) and weight problems, feeding them canned Hill's® Prescription Diet® w/d® Feline pet food is appropriate because the target urine pH for both products is 6.2 to 6.4. Also, meal feeding vs. free feeding is ideal for this scenario. Remember that a therapeutic food is recommended for a pet to improve a specific disease condition; therefore, it is best to educate owners about the recommendation, disease, and need for the specific food so they are more likely to continue feeding the food to the cat.