feeding raw, yet my boy had/has crystals, plus other concerns | Sphynxlair

feeding raw, yet my boy had/has crystals, plus other concerns

Discussion in 'Sphynx Cat Health & Nutrition' started by meandmytwo, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. meandmytwo

    meandmytwoLairian

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    Hi.

    Long story short (for a change!) my boy Frost was found to have struvite crystals about 6 weeks ago. He had the typical symptoms of frequent visits to the litter box and peeing only small amounts. Vet visit with a small pee sample and struvite crystals were found. Got meds and a new kibble to prevent these crystals (my boys eat raw morning and night and only have kibble as snacks). So, that all got sorted within a few days. At the suggestion of my vet they have remained on that kibble which is Hill’s Urinary Care c/d Multicare for Stress. After they started eating that, I read that kibble meant to prevent struvite crystals can actually cause their urine to become too acidic and a different kind of crystals (oxalate) can form. Was not impressed with that information.

    High alkaline urine can cause struvite crystals.
    High acidic urine can cause oxalate crystals.

    Struvite crystals are most common being that kibble is a common known culprit because it is high in additives and fillers (which are alkaline) and low in protein (protein is acidic).

    Now the last few days, my other boy Freeway is having the same symptoms (tiny pees the size of raisins) so I called the vet and we have an appointment late this afternoon - I will take in a pee sample. I suspect crystals (possibly oxalate crystals from the dry food that is meant to prevent struvite crystals?). I am sad and disappointed because their main diet is raw and I never thought this would happen because I thought the main factor in preventing crystal formation was too keep well hydrated.

    A few questions :

    Is there more moisture in raw than canned wet? Or less? I see my boys go to the water dish a couple times each day but they are certainly not great drinkers. I figured that was ok because of their raw diet. And, I do add water to their raw meals... I make it pretty darn soupy.

    Could there be something in the tap water to cause this problem?

    Could certain raw proteins contribute to the formation of crystals? I thought I read once that fish can. My boys love their beef/salmon blend of commercial raw so I give that to them about 1/2 of the time. The other 1/2 the time is divided between a couple other proteins.

    I am a little unsure about feeding raw at this point... I have not seen the benefits a lot of others have mentioned... such as small and odourless poos. Is this because they still get some kibble? Not only these things, but I am not convinced they are healthier in general. :(

    Thoughts anyone?
    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
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    • Hairless Blessing

      Hairless BlessingGold Lairian Notable Member

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      All wet or raw would be better.
      I feed only wet food. Izmae is great.
      The water needs to be away from the food.
      They, will drink a lot more.
      Put it in a different room. Make sure they, know,
      where it is, when, you place it there.
       
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      • meandmytwo

        meandmytwoLairian

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        Thank you for your reply @Hairless Blessing

        They have two water bowls, both away from where they eat. I see them drink only a couple times a day - more often they go over to them and just sniff without drinking.

        An hour after starting this thread Freeway had a little bit bigger pee than he had been yesterday. I decided to cancel our vet appointment and keep a close eye as I ended up home all day today.

        Several times through the day I tempted him to drink more water (and his brother because it won't hurt) by mixing a small amount (only 1 tsp) of their previous canned (still have a dozen cans on hand) with about 1/4 cup of water. They lapped it up. They have both been peeing more than I have ever seen! So that's good. For now.

        Wow. I think I will add this to our daily regime - a couple times a day offer water in this way, regardless of when mealtimes are. It worked really well.

        Watch, now I'll learn that there is such a thing as too much water! lol

        Anyway, I'm still concerned about Frost having recurring crystals and Freeway developing them. :( It must be one of those things that after it happens once you get a little over cautious.
         
        Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
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        • MollysMom

          MollysMomV.I.P Lairian V.I.P Lairian

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          Yes, any kibble with raw can cause them to still have really smelly poops. I mean, poop is still not going to be 100% odourless when they are on raw, but I can't smell it in another room when they go. Before raw, they could clear a whole floor of the house with the smell. I would just keep encouraging them to have water as an additional treat like you are doing, maybe once or twice a day. Having running water encourages cat drinking, a lot of people see success using a pet fountain rather than bowls :)
           
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          • Hairless Blessing

            Hairless BlessingGold Lairian Notable Member

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            That's great they, will eat the wet food so good with extra water added.
            Anyway, you can get them, to drink. Sometime let them watch you,
            put a piece or two of ice in the bowl.
             
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            • Yoda mom

              Yoda momModerator Staff Member

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              @meandmytwo , ((hugs)))

              When I adopted my boy he had struvite crystals
              Amd refused the CD foods

              I have been feedimg him Nutrisource cat and kitten in the blue bag for years now amd no further crystal incidents .

              I tried a zillion canned foods
              Amd actually shopped with Tanya's list of food thst showed phosph calcium rations of food
              I could not get him to eat wet cd food
              So feed what works
              For years I feed him the dry Nutrisource amd proplan urinary focus chicken mixed with a little lysine
              (Not my fav food ingredients but the % numbers are similar to the cd food so I gave it a try )

              He has been crystal free for years with the combo of Nutrisource amd urinrary focus food
              And drinks more water from a double stainless raised dog dish than any fountain I tried
              I keep the water bowl across the room amd it is the most used water dish
              I fill it with fresh water a couple of times a day .
              They wait for me to fill it!


              I randomly test his urine with my pool spa test strips to check the pH
              Amd always get the nice orange color
              If I ever see the strip red he will be off to the vet ASAP

              Kudos to you for noticing the early symptoms of urninary problems! It can save a life
               
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              • meandmytwo

                meandmytwoLairian

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                I have been considering a fountain. I know it's worth a try. Thanks for the reminder @MollysMom.
                I like to keep things simple but obviously them not developing urinary problems is priority.

                I'll try dropping ice in their water - see if that catches their interest. Thanks @Hairless Blessing.

                We have a vet appointment in a couple weeks for booster shots. I'll take urine samples in for both.
                 
              • meandmytwo

                meandmytwoLairian

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                Thanks @Yoda mom. Very helpful!
                I'm not good with comparing ingredients and % of whatnot in different foods, so that's a big help.

                We do have one raised dish and one on the floor. Now that I think about it, they go to the raised dish more. Interesting! I thought they were picky on the size/depth of bowl, as the two are different, but it could be raised they prefer.

                I'll be getting some test strips. I know you have mentioned that before. :)

                I'm glad your boy has been crystal free! Yes, it's very important to catch the signs early. 24 hours with no output and it can be fatal.
                 
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                • Condo commando

                  Condo commandoSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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                  Is there more moisture in canned than raw? If you are buying the raw food in a store look at the package - it will give you a moisture percentage.

                  I make raw at home and I add enough water so it comes out about 80% moisture. Kibble is maybe 10%. Night and day.

                  They need to drink as much as possible to ward off the crystals so the kibble isn't good. You're not supposed to combine kibble and raw anyway because they digest at different rates; the end result is they keep any bacteria from the raw food in their system longer. If you want to mix wet with kibble use canned food instead.

                  But my #1 suggestion is ditch the kibble/dry food completely for these 2 kitties.
                   
                • nudieluvr

                  nudieluvrV.I.P Lairian V.I.P Lairian

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                  I get frustrated with vets and there rx diets. Now I know that these kibbles can be good for some cats in some situations. However, what I don't understand is when a cat comes in with urinary or kidney etc issues that the first thought is to give them a kibble? Most of these issues root in lack of moisture! Most owners feed only dry so these cats are lacking moisture, there body is suffering, then they give them a food with no moisture to cure? I know it's more complex than that but it's still frustrating. In your case I'd wonder about stress. I'm curious if that's playing a role? I hope you get everything sorted out! And as other people have said no raw and kibble together as it digests differently.
                   
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                  • Condo commando

                    Condo commandoSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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                    @nudieluvr I agree. If you read what some vets write about kibble they agree with us too. It's hard to turn a battleship though.

                    Some years ago I had a friend that was on some special cookie diet for weight loss. These cookies were supposed to be a balanced meal so she would eat a couple of cookies instead of make some healthy food for herself. A couple of us tried to gently suggest real food but she believed the marketing from the cookie company.

                    I totally get where where Yoda Mom is coming from though if a cat refuses wet food; at least get the water fountains or do something to encourage them to drink.
                     
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                    • meandmytwo

                      meandmytwoLairian

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                      Thanks @Condo commando I have looked at the % of moisture before in the foods that I use - not sure why I didn't do a side by side with my commercial raw vs wet recently lol when it has mattered the most. Anyway, the wet I have on hand (just use small amounts now and then for various reasons) is 79% and the several varieties of raw that I use vary between 61 and 75. So ya, more moisture in the canned. That said I add a lot of water to their wet before serving so I am sure it's enough in terms of that. It's surprising there is 10% moisture at all in dry, seems like none lol.

                      I leave plenty of time between the raw and the kibble. Raw at 7 am and 10 pm and kibble is half way in between, so around 2 pm (via auto feeder when I am not home). I had been feeding kibble twice/day (really just a habit from when they were kittens) but in the last week (around the time I started this thread) I dropped one of the kibble snacks and increased the amount of raw at each feeding. Almost immediately I saw an improvement in their poos, so that has been great. (Smaller and firmer). The amount of kibble I serve at this mid day snack is only 1/3 cup that they share, so it is a very small amount of their overall diet.

                      I guess my main questions are this :

                      Can a cat be susceptible to crystals even with enough water in their diet? (@nudieluvr is onto something with the idea of stress)

                      Is it better for me to continue as I am (raw, kibble, raw = three feedings) or drop the kibble all together in favour of (raw, raw = two feedings). You answered that as well. :)

                      I started another thread about feeding raw just twice a day in consideration of dropping the kibble all together. You did respond there as well (thank you!) that you do feed twice a day and it's given me that to consider. We hear so much here about feed feed feed graze graze so it's good to hear about other situations in which kitties are thriving. Thank you again for that input!!
                       
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                      • Condo commando

                        Condo commandoSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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                        You are welcome. There is a lot of information out there. Truth be told a little bit of flexibility doesn't hurt. You don't have to be so rigid that you must do 100% the same thing every day. Here are some examples of what I mean.

                        Scenario 1 - If I get home early, they expect to be fed right away out of habit, so I give them maybe 80% of their dinner and save the other 20% for before bed.

                        Scenario 2 - On days that I'm home, they do get hungry in between meals because they let me know. One knocks things over and the other one jumps on me and meows. For these occasions I keep snacks handy that I can give them; it's just a little bit extra to tie them over to the next meal.
                         
                        Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
                      • meandmytwo

                        meandmytwoLairian

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                        @nudieluvr Yes, stress could play a role in this - I'd overlooked that my vet brought that up. Thank you for the reminder! So ya, I guess stressed kitties are at risk regardless of water intake. In fact the RX dry food she gave us has something in it to combat stress - it is "Hills Urinary Care c/d Multicare for Stress".

                        It just does not seem like my guys are stressed, not on a regular basis anyway. No other pets in our home to cause conflict, no other humans in the house, they get along with all the visitors we have, they have plenty of places to climb, play, room to run, places to hide and rest and keep warm... they do scrap a bit but I believe it's within a normal range, they groom and sleep together... (we just got through thunderstorm season here though... we did have a few nights of thunder/lightening and the power flickers and going out all together...)

                        The reason she prescribed the dry was to replace the dry I was already giving them. She knows their main diet is raw and is supportive and thinks they're likely getting enough water. So ya, stress. Hmmm. Given that if stress is causing this, I wonder if the kibble IS helpful because of the ingredients even though there's no moisture in it or detrimental because there's no moisture in it. Ok, I admit I am overthinking...

                        I will get some Feliway Diffusers.

                        In any case, Frost who had crystals first (over a month ago now) was fine within a few days of seeing the vet and doing the following :
                        1. took a med for a few days to relax bladder and control pain
                        2. added even more water to their raw meals
                        3. changed the kibble to the rx one.

                        So last week when Freeway was in the litter box every half hour for a day and peeing only raisin sized pees it was cause for concern, prompted this thread. But, they both seem fine now...
                         
                        Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
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                        • Condo commando

                          Condo commandoSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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                          • meandmytwo

                            meandmytwoLairian

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                            Thank you for the great link @Condo commando!

                            I finally got to read it thoroughly this morning. Great to learn the fact that crystals are often present without a problem, that it is actually very normal. And that crystals can form in the urine after the sample has been taken. I actually do remember now that my vet mentioned these things but it went in one ear and out the other because I was so worried.

                            Obstruction does not refer to crystals but crystals can become stones and that can lead to an obstruction (I believe that is what happens), when the urine can no longer pass at all. That is what can be deadly within 24 hours, because the bladder fills and backs up. From what I understand the crystals irritate the bladder and that is why kitty will go to the box so often but only pee small amounts - they feel like they have to go but don't have much to pass. And because the bladder is not getting a good flush while this is happening, the crystals sit and grow until they are the size to block the urethra.

                            Yes - both boys. :love::love:

                            I continue to add as much water as is reasonably possible to their raw food and limiting kibble and their output seems normal. I will keep a close look for the rest of their days, no doubt.

                            For all reading, I strongly suggest using clumping litter. Had I not been, I may have missed the signs and I hate to think how this could have ended differently. Not judging - we all do what is best for ours. It is just something to be aware of. :bookworm:
                             
                            Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
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                            • meandmytwo

                              meandmytwoLairian

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                              Frost is drinking from a nearby bowl as I type! (y)
                               
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                              • kauna

                                kaunaLairian

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                                @meandmytwo ((Hugs))

                                You are doing a great job of looking out for your boys!

                                Male cats are prone to urinary obstructions due to the crystals and mucus blocking their narrow urethra. I worked at a vet hospital and we saw them very frequently. I know most, if not all, vets will recommend a Rx urinary diet once a cat has blocked (requiring sedation and overnight care with a urinary catheter for a few days) to prevent it from happening again. If not caught soon it can be detrimental to the cat as they are not able to pass urine. Usually, when they are blocked they will go in and out of their litter box attempting to go but not and they tend to make a horrendous howling noise.

                                There are some cats that even with the urinary Rx food they can still block. Usually after 3 blockages the vet will recommend a perineal urethostomy (basically making him to a her) to prevent it from happening all together. Usually, once that procedure is performed they don't have any issues with crystals and blocking. It is very rare for them to block once that procedure has been done, but I have seen it.
                                 
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                                • Condo commando

                                  Condo commandoSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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                                  @kauna thank you for that intel, it is always good to hear from "insiders" (y)