Household pets such as cats and dogs can develop urinary tract infections, which are sometimes difficult to identify. The early symptoms are such that the only way an owner can recognise the problem is take note of the frequency of the pet's urination, any evidence of blood, and a change in smell of the urine and general well-being of the animal. If left untreated, feline and canine UTI can seriously compromise your pet's health.
Feline UTI can develop if crystals are formed in malfunctioning kidneys. The animal will excrete these in urine but there will be no visible signs of them. This situation may continue till the urinary tract infection actually sets in and leads to further discomfort for the suffering pet. It should be noted that those cats that have already had UTI are more prone to developing the problem again. An owner may sometimes not catch the problem till it is well advanced. It only becomes noticeable when the pet stops using the litter box for instance.
There is a way, however, that cat owners can manage this aspect of their pet's health at home. It involves keeping a regular tab on the pet's urine but reduces both stress for the animal and worry for the owner to a minimum. No training is needed, testing can be done whenever there is time and as often as required, and best of all it is easy to do.
Start with organising the following items:
1) Non-absorbent litter (available with veterinarians) or clean gravel of the kind used in aquarium (available in pet stores);
2) Urine pH test kits- containing testing strips (can be ordered in; look for information at pet stores).
An additional useful arrangement could be having the litter box in a separate area (not in your kitchen), one that preferably affords the pet some privacy. Take care to note down the approximate times that the pet uses the litter box. This may take a few days of pet watching to work out. Identify a convenient time when you, the owner, can carry out the testing.
When they are ready to go about obtaining a sample, owners need to know that the cat litter box must be cleaned well before filling it with the gravel or non-absorbent litter. Also, fresh cat urine gives the best indication of the presence of infection. As it ages, cat urine will produce higher pH readings, and indicate a problem where there may be none.
When the pet's urine is still fresh, a pH testing strip may be dipped into it, the excess moisture shaken off, and the results compared with the chart found in the testing kit. A reading of 6.4-6.6 is normal but any higher or lower will mean having to take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Testing your pet monthly is a good option, as the impact of changes in diet and lifestyle will show up while testing. Remember that this test only provides an indication, and is not definitive. Only a proper urinalysis can accurately confirm feline UTI.
Janet Markowitz has been a German Shepherd Breeder for over 20 years. She has always been interested in using natural and holistic remedies for her Shepherds whenever possible. She has found that by using natural Remedies in conjunction with conventional medicine, she has achieved great success in the health and longevity in her dogs.