Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Health Needs Require Diet Modification

We have gone back and forth over the last several years about the pros and cons of switching our cats to a "Raw Food Diet".

The pros are simple:

1. Commercial pet food has been recalled over and over due to tainted ingredients.
2. There is little benefit in a "dry food" diet for cats, they don't get enough moisture as it is.
3. Two of our cats have developed Struvite Crystals over the last two years.

The cons are simple too:
1. Risk of cross contamination endanger humans in the household. Proper preparation, sanitation, storage and "Use By Dates" on the containers are not only important, but MANDATORY!
2. It can be hard on the felines system anytime you switch diets, drastic changes are never a good idea. They must be introduced to the new diet slowly.
3. Two of our kitties prefer dry kibble, don't particularly care for canned food even as a treat, and don't eat cat treats. Period.

It was heart breaking when Merry Jayne developed struvite crystals, but downright scary and very expensive when Gandalf developed crystals. Gandalf has now been in 24 hour veterinary care for five and a half days!
During this time, Gandalf has had to be catheterized several times due to a complete blockage of urine flow, and a very sore urethra and bladder! On day three, the catheter tip broke off in his urethra. His primary Veterinarian had to re catheterize him, to push the broken piece into his bladder, and then surgically remove the foreign object. The only bright side to that procedure, was since the bladder was already opened surgically, the Doctor was able to irrigate his bladder, removing the remaining crud and struvite crystals. The procedure was performed Friday around 7:45 PM as our Veterinarian was going out of town on Saturday, and had a full day of seeing patients Friday. Unfortunately, the Veterinary office is not staffed after hours, so Gandalf had to be transferred to an acute/critical care facility to monitor him post-op ensuring that he safely recovered. During the transport time, Gandalf's body temperature dropped to 94ºF which is dangerously low (Mild hypothermia is classified as a body temperature of 90 - 99°F). He has a will to live, and made it through! His caregivers were fantastic.
Gandalf and Merry Jayne both are not enthusiastic eaters, neither particularly like the low pH specially formulated prescription, quality foods available at most Veterinary Offices and pet food supply stores. If a cat does not get enough moisture in their diet, it is likely that the urine will become too concentrated, and struvite crystals may form. Struvite crystals are very painful. They make the feline feel as if they are urinating glass. Just knowing that our sweet Gandalf must have been in pain before we actually caught it, saddens us. We are very in tune with our animals physical as well as mental health. They are our children!

This concludes the introductory post to this blog. We will be updating frequently, with weight, overall health, and the struggles to switch the cats over to the Raw Food Diet. If you would like to explore the option of switching your felines over as well. Here are a few links that we have found very helpful:
Making Raw Diet Cat Food
Itchmo Forums for Cats & Dogs
Both sites offer a wealth of information. We encourage all readers to research and explore all options on their own. The above links are two that we personally rely on for a starting point.

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