Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another George report

We are at the Elks lodge in Bend, Oregon (map). The lodge here has eight RV spaces with 30-amp power, and while we did not really need it, it's always nice to charge the batteries fully, and we did make use of the heat and hot water. We are just a mile or so from the vet.

The vet could find nothing wrong with George upon physical examination, but they did draw blood. This morning the blood panel came back indicating some kidney function issues, and, given her history with kidney stones, they are going to follow up today with hydration and get a urine sample. We're worried; her last kidney stone nearly killed her. She finally passed it and was fine, and though we never saw it, we're pretty sure it was a diamond, based on the bill.

The cats have been on a urinary-tract food formula ever since, so we were a bit puzzled. This morning, though, we've had an "aha!" moment. Completely coincidentally, yesterday I decided to clean out the faucet aerators, as the faucets have been acting up. An unbelievable amount of crud came out, and all of it was, basically, solidified calcium crystals from taking on hard water in our travels. We're constantly dealing with the effects, including having to soak the shower head in vinegar periodically, and replacing the diaphragms in the hot water recirculating valves roughly every six months. So it occurred to us this morning that maybe the hard water is contributing to George's issues.

We'll ask the vet when we bring her in this morning. In the meantime, the all-seeing, all-knowing Internet tells us that, yes, hard water can contribute to kidney stone formation. So we are now contemplating either putting a softener on our drinking system, or just buying distilled water for the pets.

We'll leave our space here at the lodge to go to the vet -- riding the scooters is hard on the pets. We may end up right back here tonight, or elsewhere in Bend while we await results.

Photo: George as a kitten, summer 2001.


  1. I"m not sure about cat kidney stones, but my doctor told me to stay away from salt and to do extra water for hydration. He said calcium wasn't a big problem. Given soft water has a lot of sodium I think, maybe distilled is better...

  2. Must be a black and white cat thing! Our Oreo has had 4 surgeries for bladder stones over the years. Fed him the special food but it didn't help. After his last surgery 2 years ago I started feeding both cats grain free food, mainly Wellness Core, both canned and a little dry, which you can get at Petco. Here is a link to the benefits of a grain free diet. http://www.homevet.com/petcare/feedingyourcat.html
    It's worth a try. Hope she gets to feeling better.


  3. Let me know if you need any animal advice outside of the vet. Mine comes free-ha! I will be thinking of you with the tests.

  4. Go with DISTILLED water not just filtered water. Walmart has it the cheapest. I worked as a vet tech for 25 years, and besides the diet, the distilled water does help. My vet recommended it for my own cat at the time when he had same problem. Is it a kidney failure issue AND a stone issue? is He on KD or CD diet? your biggest tip to a problem with a cat is they will urinate in a WEIRD place, like a sink, on a bed, on a blanket. (trying to tell us they are sick) Especially when they have always been good about using litter box! 9 times out of 10 it's a urinary problem- infection or stones. Good luck with George!! George is a female? I just started reading your blog today, since we are thinking about selling all - getting an RV and heading out.


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