UTI's are common with dogs and cats. Learn how to recognize them, how to treat them, and how to prevent UTI's from happening again!
Roger Morgan (00:01):
And good afternoon everybody. My name is Roger Morgan. I'm the founder and CEO of pawTree. And we've got also joining us today Brooke Sloate, Director of Product Development.
Brooke Sloate (00:13):
Roger Morgan (00:14):
Good to have you on, Brooke. Hello, Brooke.
Brooke Sloate (00:17):
Hey, how are you?
Roger Morgan (00:18):
I'm doing great. How are you doing?
Brooke Sloate (00:20):
I'm doing well. I just realized that this is not about poop today, but it's about something very close to it.
Roger Morgan (00:31):
It's a sister topic to poop.
Brooke Sloate (00:32):
A sister topic, yeah.
Roger Morgan (00:33):
Well, it's been fun to do these. I know not everybody joins every week, but we do have a large audience that watches live as well as a even larger audience who picks this up after the live and watches them. And we've had great feedback on these. And so today, we've got another one coming your way, a topic around Does your pet need Depends? That's the topic Brooke has chosen.
Roger Morgan (01:02):
Brooke, we get a lot of questions around urinary tract issues. So first, I guess the question I'd ask is, is there a difference between urinary tract issues and bladder infections for pets and are these very common for dogs and cats?
Brooke Sloate (01:19):
Okay. So this can be confusing. There can be a lot of terms that are used and that causes the confusion. So the answer is that a urinary tract infection, often referred to as a UTI, can involve any area that's in the urinary tract, which could include the kidneys, the ureters, which are the tubes that carry the urine to the bladder for storage, the urinary bladder and the urethra that carries urine outside of the body.
Brooke Sloate (01:52):
So a UTI could involve any of these areas, but usually when a UTI is referenced, it generally refers to a bladder infection in dogs. However, in cats, UTI is frequently used to refer to a common inflammatory condition of the feline bladder, not necessarily a bladder infection. So you can see this can't be a bit confusing. However, many dogs and cats experience urinary tract issues or UTIs. It's commonly seen at veterinary clinics today.
Roger Morgan (02:26):
Okay. That's helpful. So, can you tell us then what we need to know about UTIs? I guess when I think about it, why pets get them and how do we recognize some of the symptoms that we might see?
Brooke Sloate (02:43):
Okay. So in order to understand this, you first need to understand your pet's urine pH. And to do that, it's important to understand the pH scale. So seven is neutral. Everything above seven is alkaline. Everything below is acidic. That's basically it. Okay?
Roger Morgan (03:02):
Okay. That's really [inaudible 00:03:05] already but okay, that's helpful.
Brooke Sloate (03:07):
So cats and dogs should have a slightly acidic urine pH and acidic is lower than seven, right? So optimally between six and 6.5, this is where the urine is sterile. And it's difficult for bacteria to grow in that sterile environment. However, when the urine gets higher than this optimal level, it becomes alkaline and your pet can end up with a potential infection.
Brooke Sloate (03:33):
That's where several things can happen. So first, they can get chronic inflammation of the bladder, which can be very painful for them. This is where the lining of the bladder becomes inflamed and sometimes bleed. So you might notice some blood in their urine. Also, when the urine pH elevates, this can lead to urinary crystals or sometimes stones which can irritate and cause inflammation to the bladder. So in this alkaline environment, again, alkaline higher than seven, high pH, minerals can settle out of the urine and form together to create crystals. And if the crystals are left in the bladder long enough, those crystals can bond together and create stones. Okay. So you may have heard the term struvite, like struvite crystals, struvite stone.
Roger Morgan (04:22):
I've heard them.
Brooke Sloate (04:23):
Yeah, these types of crystals or stones are most common due to the urine pH being too high or alkaline.
Roger Morgan (04:30):
Interesting. Okay. So how does a pet parent know if their pet has a UTI? What are some of those symptoms that we might see?
Brooke Sloate (04:38):
Okay. So some of the symptoms would be first excessive water consumption. Your pet is just drinking more water than usual. Then you'll also see more frequent urination. They're unable to hold their urine for normal amount of time. They're drinking more water, so they're urinating more out. So if you think about it for a dog, they could suddenly be urinating around the house or wanting to go outside more often or urinating frequently and in multiple spots.
Brooke Sloate (05:09):
So they go outside and if they're a girl, they squat multiple times or a boy, they lift their leg as opposed to going out and going one time. Right? Now for your cat. Your cat might be urinating in places other than her litter box, but you have to take a few things into consideration. You have to note that cats, and cat parents know this, are very fastidious animals, right? And they like a clean litter box. So if the litter box is dirty, they may look for a different place to go simply because it's dirty, not because there's something else going on.
Brooke Sloate (05:45):
Also, if your cat is making more frequent trips to the litter box, that's another sign. So on average, cats go to the bathroom on average five times a day. And they're nocturnal, so the majority of this is in evening. But if you see that they're going more and more to the litter box, more frequently, that's a sign.
Brooke Sloate (06:08):
As I'd mentioned before, there could also be blood visible in your pet's urine or in the litter box or the urine could be dark or it could be cloudy. Or your pet is unable to pass urine or passes very little. They may strain to urinate. That's a common sign as well as going more frequently.
Brooke Sloate (06:30):
Your pet is constantly licking at his urinary openings. That could be another sign. Your pet suddenly lost bladder control and is dribbling urine. Your pet is vomiting or appears lethargic and doesn't want to eat. These are all signs that may indicate a potentially serious issue with your pet's urinary tract or bladder.
Brooke Sloate (06:50):
However, there could be something else going on. So for instance, some causes of excessive water consumption could include diabetes mellitus or Cushing syndrome or hypothyroidism for cats or kidney failure. So there are other things that may need to be ruled out as well which can be done with a simple blood panel and urine culture. So it's not always going to be a bladder infection, but those are the signs that might tell you that they are a bladder infection.
Roger Morgan (07:18):
Okay. That's a lot. And that's really helpful, a lot of the information there. I guess the next question I would ask if I were listening to this, thinking of all these different symptoms. If I've seen some of these symptoms, or if I do see some of these symptoms, what should we do as pet parents?
Brooke Sloate (07:34):
So, we always say this, the main thing to do is have your pet's urine checked by your vet. Your vet will do a urine analysis where they can determine whether there's inflammation or an infection and they can also do a urine culture and sensitivity to determine what bacteria is present if any bacteria is present at all. The urine culture and sensitivity is the only test that can confirm a urinary tract infection.
Brooke Sloate (07:59):
And these tests basically help your vet to determine how to treat your pet if they have a UTI, because infections are treated with certain medications and inflammation and crystals are treated with other medications.
Roger Morgan (08:15):
Okay. Okay. Got you. So are there some pets that are more prone to having urinary tract issues or is this across the board?
Brooke Sloate (08:22):
Well, there are some pets that are more prone to urinary tract issues and these would include certain cat breeds like Persians and Himalayans and the Russian Blue Siamese to name a few. Cats living indoors. Of course, you're going to notice that more because they're indoors as opposed to outdoors where you may not see what's going on. Pets living in stressful living conditions, pets that are overweight, male cats could be prone to them and pets living a sedentary lifestyle, spayed or neutered pets, and also older female dogs. It's unusual to see bladder infections, for instance, in cats under the age of 10 or neutered male dogs.
Roger Morgan (09:12):
Okay. That's helpful. So is this something we should worry about if we have multiple pets in our household and, for example, is a bladder infection contagious at all?
Brooke Sloate (09:27):
That's a great question. Roger. And I know being that I have six dogs, I'm always concerned when one gets something that someone else is going to get it as well. So with bladder infections, no, they are not contagious.
Roger Morgan (09:42):
Okay. Another question, I've heard that when pets have these types of urinary issues that they should drink more water. However, I know cats aren't big on drinking at all. Is there a reason why?
Brooke Sloate (09:59):
Yes, that has to do with the thirst center of the brain. It's very interesting. So when people feel thirsty, their brain tells them that they want to drink. So for example, adding salt to our food would make us feel thirsty. And our brain would tell us that we should drink more water or something to quench this thirst. So if you eat peanuts, if you eat pretzels, potato chips, et cetera, those types of things tend to make you more thirsty.
Brooke Sloate (10:26):
This works the same for a dog as it does for a human. But a cat, however, does not think of thirst in the same way as a dog or human. If we add something to get them to be thirsty, they would just concentrate their urine more, which means that the urine will have a stronger odor or deeper color, but it would not make them drink more.
Brooke Sloate (10:50):
Cats really rely on the moisture they get from food, but we want less concentrated urine and for them to urinate more, to avoid these UTI. So for cats, the best way to do this is to feed them canned cat food and even add warm water to that. You can even use dry food and moisten it with warm water to get more moisture in their diet. pawTree offers dry cat food options as well as canned options and the canned options we offer in the two most popular forms which are the pate and the morsels in gravy.
Brooke Sloate (11:22):
But you definitely want to get cats to drink more. Another hint for cats. They do not like still water. So if you put water in a bowl, that's not something that they love. They like things that are running, running water. So if you have a fountain, there are those water fountains, if you will, for your cats. Also, if you leave the sink faucet on just a little bit, running just a little bit, they will often go to that more than they will a bowl of still water.
Roger Morgan (11:54):
Okay. Very interesting. So now I know you said if you notice or you believe that your pet has a UTI, we should take it to the vet, do the urine analysis. But help me understand if I do have a pet with a UTI, what's ahead for me and for my pet, what's going to take place next?
Brooke Sloate (12:16):
Okay. So I'm very personally familiar with UTIs and resolving them takes time. It takes multiple visits to the vet, testing, often changing your pet's diet to a prescription food for a short period of time. That usually is about 30 days, but it could be longer depending on how long it takes to resolve the issue.
Brooke Sloate (12:34):
And you need to do that while you're treating the infection. Once the infection is resolved, however, your pet can go back on their normal diet. Usually the prescription diets are formulated to make the pet more thirsty so they'll drink more water. That's the benefit of the prescription diet. But let's face it, UTIs are completely inconvenient. They are often costly and a hassle for pet parents to deal with, let alone your pet.
Brooke Sloate (13:01):
I mean, it's painful for them. We went through all of that. So if your pet is prone to UTIs, you'll probably want to find a way to prevent them from happening again. So it's always important to get your pet checked by your vet to determine what's actually going on is as we always mention if you see some of these signs and to resolve any issues as soon as possible. But if you've experienced a urinary tract infection with your pet or you know that they're prone to getting them, they would certainly benefit from extra urinary tract support to help prevent UTIs from happening again.
Brooke Sloate (13:39):
So pawTree has an all natural supplement called Bladder Support Plus. And you can see that. Bladder Support Plus. And this helps to prevent bladder infections from reoccurring. So once everything is resolved and your pet is back to normal, you would use the Bladder Support Plus as a supplement. And it does three things. It supports and maintains normal bladder health. It maintains normal urine pH in that level where the urine is sterile and can fight off any bacteria. And it promotes optimal urinary tract health.
Roger Morgan (14:23):
Those all sound like really good things. I mean, it's interesting, as I listened to you, I have not, knock on wood had either of my pets have a urinary tract infection yet. And I'm looking at those sort of things, as you're talking about these different pests being a little bit more prone and some of the things we can do to watch for it. But I will tell you one thing as you've talked about this and the pain that it causes our pets and the inconvenience, it certainly is for us to manage through that with our pets and the costs that can come from that with multiple vet visits and so forth. I do see why you're saying that if you do have a pet that is prone to it or has had it in the past, prevention can be much more effective, less costly, and much less painful for our pets than continuing to see that cycle of bladder infections and bladder health issues.
Roger Morgan (15:20):
So having said that, it's wonderful that we do have a product that helps in that regard. And I just want to, from your perspective being the Director of Product Development and you work with wonderful formulators and veterinarians and all the people who come together with these bright minds to create our products that truly do make a meaningful difference in the lives of pets and people because of how they impact our pets. My question is, why is this bladder support product so effective?
Brooke Sloate (15:55):
Okay, I'm glad you asked that because ... So you're right. We do work with some fantastic formulators and great veterinarians who know all about this stuff, right. And Bladder Support Plus, basically the reason it works so well is because it contains some really effective, active ingredients. And so these ingredients include cranberry.
Brooke Sloate (16:16):
So a lot of people know that if you're having a urinary tract issue, a lot of people say, "Drink cranberry juice." Right? Well, that is the same for our pets. Cranberry helps to normalize the pH. So if there was an e.Coli infection, which is most common for bladder infections and pets, the e.Coli would attach to the cranberry and be excreted out of their system with their urine.
Brooke Sloate (16:40):
We also use something called D-Mannose and this is used as a way to get the bacteria out of the body. So it's a naturally occurring long chain sugar, D-Mannose, long chain sugar that's found in cranberry extract and a few other fruits that help fight infections by preventing the bacteria from adhering to the bladder lining, allowing it to be voided with their urine and flushed out of your pet's system naturally. So you're just trying to get everything out of their system, right? The bad stuff.
Brooke Sloate (17:11):
One of our active ingredients is glucosamine and glucosamine is one of the building blocks of the protective lining of the bladder. It's like a mucilage. It protects the inner lining of the bladder and allows for ease of excretion so it's not painful for your pet to urinate. Okay. Really important. And we also use something called marshmallow roots, and that's an herb. And that provides a soothing, lubricating, protective barrier between mucus membranes and substances, which contribute to the irritation.
Brooke Sloate (17:42):
Again, it's painful for them. And especially when you form crystals that have sharp edges and stuff and that's in their bladder. It's very uncomfortable. So the marshmallow root basically helps to move things through the system and helps with inflammation and the stones in the urinary tract.
Brooke Sloate (18:00):
So the combination of these ingredients is really, really effective. I mean, I use this stuff all the time because my dogs are prone. I have Shih Tzus and they are prone to urinary tract infections. And this stuff really, it's made my life so much easier. And quite honestly, saves me a lot of money at the vet with testing and food and et cetera.
Brooke Sloate (18:24):
So remember, our goal is to keep the bladder healthy and prevent these infections and Bladder Support Plus is a delicious supplement. It's a natural supplement and it's formulated for both dogs and cats. And when used daily, that can make UTIs a thing of the past. You will not have to worry about them, generally speaking.
Roger Morgan (18:44):
Yeah. That is wonderful. It's amazing to me, I will tell you something. It's amazing to me, as I think about the various pet issues that we all deal with and often think are just part of pet ownership. We think, "Oh, pets get UTIs and we have to take them to the vet. We have to fix these things>" Or the itchy skin or some of these hotspots they get or bad breath or loose stool. I figured we'd get stool into the conversation somehow.
Brooke Sloate (19:15):
Wasn't me this time.
Roger Morgan (19:17):
But no, truly. You think about all these, I put in quotes, issues that we deal with our pets, because so many of them can be addressed through proper nutrition. And what you just said is just amazing to me when I think about how this approach of these various ingredients that all do a different thing. But when you formulate them together and create a natural supplement that a pet can just consume on a daily basis, you give it the various components that it needs so that this, as you mentioned, UTIs can be a thing of the past.
Roger Morgan (19:49):
I mean, it's remarkable to me how important, good nutrition and an awareness of how nutrition can impact the whole body system for our wonderful four legged friends, and truly can impact their lives in such amazing ways. And this is just another example of that.
Roger Morgan (20:08):
And I appreciate you sharing all that, Brooke. As you went through those different ingredients and how they all do a different thing, it also reminded me of this multimodal approach that our veterinarians have counseled us and have encouraged us as we think about formulating products to not just have one ingredient that does one thing, but have multiple ingredients that the combination is greater than their parts. It has that very synergistic approach to solving pet issues. This has been great fun.
Brooke Sloate (20:41):
It's the combination, but it's the amounts. I mean, so it depends, you have to dial in things to make sure. And that's what takes the time with formulation is basically figuring out, okay, these are the right ingredients. These are going to do certain things because they are researched to do different things. Right? So that's how we figure out what to put in.
Brooke Sloate (21:05):
But it's also, okay, so how much cranberry and how much marshmallow root. There's a lot to be considered. So just giving them cranberry, probably not. It's not going to do as well as giving them something that has all of these things that work together.
Roger Morgan (21:22):
That's wonderful. Now, Brooke, I saw a note from Kimberly. She asked, can you show how it's used?
Brooke Sloate (21:28):
And show how it's used?
Roger Morgan (21:31):
Brooke Sloate (21:32):
Oh, that's easy. I want to, I want to.
Roger Morgan (21:36):
Brooke Sloate (21:37):
Okay. So here's the jar. Okay. How it's used. Undo the jar, take out what you need and give it to your pet. It's a chew. So all they have to do is eat the chew. And for my pets, I write on the top of my jar. So I know just at first glance, okay. I would need to give two chews to Cocoa and to Bella twice a day. And that's what they need in order to keep them fine and thriving. So I just give them and they taste like treats. They love them. So that's all there is to it.
Roger Morgan (22:19):
On a variety of our supplements, as I've mentioned, my pets are not prone to UTIs so I have not used that particular product, but on a variety of other supplements, we do one of two things either with those chews. They all taste delicious for the pet. So a lot of times we give them like a treat. I'll have my dogs sit and stay and then I'll give them one of the supplement chews. And they eat them like that.
Roger Morgan (22:40):
Or when my wife feeds the supplements, she'll usually just put them in with the food. So she'll just put them right in the bowl and sprinkle a little bit of the pawPairings Superfood Seasoning on top of all of it. And they eat it as part of their meal. So there's different ways you can feed it. You can certainly also crumble it up if needed.
Brooke Sloate (22:58):
You can crumble them too. So texture is a big thing with cats, right? So if they're not as enamored, they should, they are pretty tasty, but it's hit or miss with cats and some dogs. So you can take the chew and crumble it on their food and do exactly what what Roger was saying to do. Just they'll eat it all up. That's it.
Roger Morgan (23:19):
Brooke Sloate (23:19):
Do you have any other ... ANy other questions?
Roger Morgan (23:24):
No, I think that was it on the questions, just a lot of great shout outs. A lot of people commenting that they have used the product and have had tremendous benefits themselves and a lot of appreciation to you, Brooke, for not only developing these amazing products, but also taking your time on a Friday afternoon to share this wonderful wisdom with all of us.
Roger Morgan (23:48):
There is something about knowledge that equals power, right? And the knowledge that you imparted with on these weekly lunch and learns, they really do empower us as pet parents just to be more educated, more aware, more confident in things that we should be concerned about, more confident in things that we don't need to be concerned about and also confident in solutions, in knowing what we can do if and when we see these issues take place with our own pets or those of our friends and family. So very much appreciated.
Roger Morgan (24:20):
I'm very, very happy that we've had the time to visit and thank you for taking the time and thank you everybody for joining us today on this lunch and learn. I know there will be many who watch it after the fact and as this is shared around. We will be back next week. Next week, we'll be on Instagram. We'll do an Instagram live, same time, 12:30 PM Central.
Brooke Sloate (24:44):
Actually ... No.
Roger Morgan (24:47):
Oh, but next week-
Brooke Sloate (24:47):
Is the 3rd.
Roger Morgan (24:49):
The 3rd. The 4th of July weekend, so I guess-
Brooke Sloate (24:51):
4th of July weekend so we're not going to be on Instagram next week.
Roger Morgan (24:55):
So we'll be back the following week. Thanks for letting me know, Brooke. In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for joining us. And thanks again, Brooke, for taking the time and imparting your wisdom.
Brooke Sloate (25:07):
No, absolutely. And guys, again, July 4th is next week. Don't forget to Chillax your pets. You will be very happy you did. And so will they. That's my shout out.
Roger Morgan (25:17):
Wonderful. Thanks for it. Bye bye everybody.
Brooke Sloate (25:22):