Tanner seemed "off" this morning, not his usual self, so I decided to run him over to our wonderful vet's office before work. Turns out it was a very good thing I did, as his bladder was about half full of urine and he had a partial urethral obstruction, which is one of the symptoms of FLUTD. This is one of those tricky things that affect male cats, but it's usually most common in boy kitties who are overweight and who eat a dry diet, which Tanner is not and does not.
About five years ago, during a routine urinalysis at one of his yearly checkups, Tanner had some pre-crystals, (he was eating premium canned food at the time) and for a brief time he was put on a canned prescription diet for same. It was shortly thereafter that I decided to switch everyone to a raw diet, and since then he has been completely fine, with no evidence of crystals whatsoever. So this was a very unwanted and unexpected surprise, and it made for a very long and nerve-wracking day, during which I had to leave Tanner at the vet's so that he could be sedated and a catheter inserted to drain his bladder. I visited him at lunchtime, though, and other than being a bit glassy-eyed from the meds, he seemed in decent shape. He was happy to see me, and purred up a storm during our fifteen minute visit. He's got an IV of saline in to hydrate him and flush out his kidneys, and a cone of shame on to keep him from messing with the IV. He looks extremely pathetic, but Dr. C. assures me that he's doing well, but unfortunately because of the Christmas holiday and the fact that the cats had been scheduled to be looked after by a teen-aged friend of the family, he'll probably have to stay at the vet's until Wednesday morning, which just about breaks my heart, but I also know I wouldn't be able to enjoy my long weekend/Christmas holiday if I was worried about Tanner obstructing again and someone watching over him who may not recognize the signs and get him to the vet right away. So as much as I hate the idea, I think it's best that he stays where he is until after Christmas.
He'll be on the prescription canned food again until at least then, and then after the first of the year I'm going to schedule an appointment with our holistic practitioner, to see if there is anything she can suggest either instead of or in addition to this prescription food, to keep him from obstructing again. Which, I'll be honest, I'm pretty worried about, as once it happens once it is likely to happen again, somewhat like bloat in dogs. Fortunately, Tanner doesn't have stones, what he has is called a urethral plug, which is a partially solid cylindrical mass of minerals. For this reason, it is our vet's opinion that the underlying cause is very possibly the tap water, so we'll be switching either to a different kind of filter, or going to bottled water.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that if you have a nagging suspicion that something might be wrong with one of the fur-people in your life, do yourself, and them, a favor, and get it checked out. I felt a little ridiculous calling the vet's office this morning to let them know I was on my way in with Tanner, because of course they wanted to know what was wrong, and I really couldn't tell them. He wasn't off his food (he ate breakfast and dinner as normal yesterday and was on his way to the kitchen for breakfast this morning when I noticed that he didn't seem to be moving "right"), he wasn't crying or acting sick, he just seemed "off" to me, and so I took him in. This meant that we caught what could have been a very serious, even life threatening, problem in the very early stages, and he is, paws crossed, going to be just fine.
Point is, they can't tell us what's wrong, they can't tell us if something hurts, or they just don't feel "right." We have to know them well enough to know what's normal for them and what isn't, and looking back on it, I should have known something wasn't right when Tanner insisted on sleeping next to me all night long, which he never does unless it's really cold out and he wants under the blankets. Knowing what I know now, I honestly believe that he was trying to tell me something was wrong in the only way he knew how.
Anyway ... for now the news is good - he's no longer blocked, and is resting comfortably. He probably even has a good buzz going. But I am worried about the possible long term implications of this, and I'd appreciate any good thoughts you could send his way.