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Adventures of the Jovial Orangekin

FLUTD and hopeful food prescribing vet.

October 11th 2012 1:47 pm
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I went to a new vet for a rabies shot. The vet gave a talk about feline urinary tract blockage and then gave me a prescription for cat food that he sells for $30/6 lbs. I found out a similar food is available without a prescription for waaay less. Is feline urinary blockage a scam?

And the prescription was entirely preventative, neither Logan nor I have any health problems.

We eat original Iams with chicken. This meets the AAFCO guidelines for complete and balanced nutrition for adult cats. Our vet in Michigan, recommended feeding us either Iams or Hills Science Diet. The vet here in Florida blamed Science Diet for killing his dog with cancer.

This allegation is pretty crazy, how would he know that Science Diet was to blame--he had a tell when he said this, his eyes shifted to the side and there was a look of concern that passed his face very quickly showing he was not sure of what he said.

Iams he compared to eating Haagen Dazs--which is also kind of crazy considering that it meets nutritional requirements and is not some kind of snack food, it's not like the mommies are feeding cheese puffs to us.

When he prescribed Royal Canin SO for Urinary Tract without a diagnosis, he went too far as there is no actual illness and the illness is not imminent.

While the particular food is labelled for prevention of FLUTD, which means it also meets complete and balanced guidelines and can be fed without an actual diagnosis, the vet could have done more to figure out if a prescription food was really necessary considering that Logan and I are healthy and have no complaints. For example, what about figuring out the ph of our urine first. True, we are both neutered males (gibs) and I am overweight, but these are risk factors, not predictors.

The vet said that he used to see many more FLUTD cases in the past and that they have significantly decreased since he worked in an emergency veterinary clinic. He did not say this, but the decrease in FLUTD cases has to do with changes in how cat food is made--it is now made to address the issue of overly alkaline cat urine which leads to FLUTD. There is not pervasive prescription of his food.

So, unless the cat is struggling with the already acidic urine inducing food, it does not need a different food that might cause other types of mineral imbalances and maybe even a different type of urolith (kidney stone). Certainly hydration is important, and if one is worried, an OTC urinary tract food is probably fine. And when a cat gets older, it also makes sense to feed a senior cat food that addresses biological changes.

But, it seems that the vet crossed some ethical boundaries and his flippant assessment of Iams and Science Diet along with a prescription to treat a non-existent illness makes me want to run the other way. My issue is not only about money. We already feed our cats a good quality food. I suspect that if we fed Meow Mix or one of its many generics there would be a real problem.

An all natural pet store I visited recently also made a sales pitch on feline urinary tract blockage. Apparently this is a good way to sell expensive stuff.

I'm convinced that this urinary tract thing is a good thing to watch out for. So, I'll be looking into the cheaper alternatives to the prescription diet. For example, since obesity is a risk factor, I might try some weight control Iams. But since there is nothing wrong at the moment, we'll finish the food they still have remaining. Maybe some day we'll have enough money to buy the prescription stuff if it is worth it.


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