Well today has been extremely stressful. Forgive me, but this will probably be a really long post.
Yesterday, Winston went outside at around 3pm and peed as per usual. Only, shortly after that, he lifted his leg at another tree but no pee. Yesterday, I thought this was kind of cute, thinking that even though he had never done it before, maybe at 4 years of age (his birthday was on the 7th!) he finally decided to start marking his territory.
I didn't really think anything else of it. Later that evening, he went out and he did his poop but no pee. It didn't occur to me that it was a big deal. Today, I took Winston out and he pooped first thing, which is weird because he always pees. Well, he lifted his leg and nothing. He proceeded to do this leg-lift and wait routine at every single tree. Nothing came out. I was starting to get worried.
I spoke to a friend who said that Apple Cider Vinegar and some plain yogurt would help. So I rushed to Target and got the smelliest liquid ever and mixed that. I cannot believe any living creature would willingly ingest something that smelled so awful, but Winston will literally eat anything (except mushrooms).
Well, I walked Winston repeatedly and no luck. Eventually, he started lifting his leg and crying in the house. I really started to panic and called the vet's office. They told me it was super serious and that they were open for another 30 minutes so if I made it in time, they would see him. Of course, on a Friday night during rush hour traffic, I knew there was no way I would make it to that area of town in 30 minutes' time. When I told my vet that, they recommended the 24-hour animal hospital.
I took him there. While we walked to the bus stop, we stopped every few feet and he would lift his leg, and stand there, waiting to pee. He was truly miserable.
The vet looked at him and said that it could be a lot of things, most likely a UTI, bladder infection, or crystals/stones in his bladder. He said they would put a catheter in him and get some urine to test it for bacteria. Well, a half hour later (and heart-breaking dog squealing, which I have no evidence came from Winston, but it sure sounded like his "voice") the vet came back and told me that his urethra had over an inch of heavy blockage and when they looked at the xray, it was thick, grainy, little crystals. He flushed it and pushed some of the crystals back into his bladder for now. Apparently, when I came in, Winston's bladder was already at 200cc of urine. I didn't think to ask but I'm not sure how much more he could have taken.
The vet is keeping Winston overnight, with a catheter to make sure he can continue to urinate without any problems. He is also going to test to make sure he doesn't have any signs of kidney failure. He said he would also be sending Winston home with a special diet.
This is where I got really upset. For Winston's entire life, he has eaten nothing but "good" food. He started out on Blue Buffalo, then when I moved to Seattle, that was difficult to obtain. So I switched him to Orijen but I started to have some financial issues and switched him to Taste of the Wild. Then, when money started to get a little better for me, I switched him Wellness, which is what he has been eating.
I asked if Wellness caused this and the vet didn't say either way. He just said that his diet would the main culprit of causing the crystals.
Did the Wellness do this to my baby?! This makes me so outrageous! I am worried sick about him - he's never not been here at night, I've never spent a night without him. And now I'm looking at the dog food I literally bought last week and crying, wondering if it is my fault he is sick.
I think I would like any and all advice but I really needed to vent as well. I am just so worried about Winston.
UPDATE: So I picked Winston up this morning. He is doing much better and does not need surgery, thankfully. He didn't have actual stones but just crystals. They were struvite crystals and his urine had bacteria and blood in it. They sent off a sample to the lab to test it. The doctor did say that his kidneys are perfect so I am really happy about that. Winston is home and playing. It makes me so so so happy. Although they did shave his little privates! His pink little belly is exposed now, haha.
They gave us a special diet of Royal Canin Urinary S/O for him to eat, which is a wet food so I'm sure he will love that. And he has three medications to take, an antibiotic, a pain medication, and something for spasms to help his urinary muscles contract.
I talked to the vets about adding apple cider vinegar and/or cranberry supplements and they did say that it can help acidify the urine and be a good preventative measure but since Winston already had the crystals, they want him to continue on this diet for the rest of the month, finish his antibiotic and then recheck his urine.
The vet is saying that if everything is clear at that point, we can probably switch him back to his food. I would not pick Wellness again, no fault of theirs I would imagine, but now I'm too wary of it. I would probably switch him back to Orijen but do the half n half wet and dry.
Is a raw diet hard to do or maintain?
No, raw was not hard to do or maintain. We too are in the Seattle area. We got Darwin's delivered to our house. So, we'd get 40lbs every 8 weeks. I'd just defrost the 8oz portion when needed. The big thing for us was just the freezer space. We have 6 people in our house, so freezer space is a big deal. We loved it when we did it. It really does help the UTI issues. Right now we're doing the in between method. We're doing a dehydrated raw. So it's a powder thats a complete raw diet that we just add water to. Super simple and good for us right now since I'll be going back to school come fall and my SO isn't too keen on raw meats (he has OCD issues). The dogs love it.