Michael Goldberg, DVM, CHom
Dr Goldberg:Our cat has been diagnosed with a urinary tract infectio.
Dr Goldberg:Our cat has been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. I hear that Columbrina is a good homeopathic remedy for this condition, should I use it?
I would like to begin this answer by giving what I hope is a piece of useful advice to my readers: urinary tract disease in cats and dogs can be quite serious. If there is any concern, please see a veterinarian who can help to determine the seriousness of this problem.
Many different problems can contribute to urinary tract disease. These include bacterial involvement, crystals in the urine, stones in the bladder, idiopathic cystitis (in which there is no apparent cause but there is periodic bleeding into the bladder which causes discomfort), as well as other less common reasons such as cancers, anatomical abnormalities, kidney disease, uterine abnormalities and behavioural problems.
Columbrina, otherwise known as Nux vomica, is a very useful remedy for urinary tract problems in both dogs and cats. The typical cat that needs Nux vomica is one which may be irritable (hisses and spits when you attempt to comfort it) and thirsty for large volumes of water. As for the urinary symptoms, it's good for those cats that are straining to urinate along with an increased frequency in urination.
Cantharis is another useful remedy. The patient needing this remedy has sudden frequent urges to urinate--seen by the pet frequently running to the litter box. After much straining, the urine passes in small amounts, such as drops. There is a frantic, almost violent restlessness accompanying the symptoms. The cat runs around frantically to and from the box, perhaps mewing loudly at the discomfort when he or she urinates. There may be blood in the drops of urine as well.
Sasaparilla is a remedy to use when there is pain after urination. The cat may actually raise its back end slightly higher, such as a standing position, to facilitate urination. There may be some blood in the urine, as well as crystals, which appears as grit after the urine is passed.
Pulsatilla is another remedy which is useful in these cases. The cat is clingy, timid and whiny when sick. They tend to be thirstless and generally like to be in the open air though they are slightly chilly (shivery). Urine may pass in dribbles and there is intense pain. There may be yellowish-green discharge as well.
Aconite is used for extreme fearfulness and anxious behaviour such as hiding and staying away from the owner. Often the symptoms come on very quickly and the remedy is best used at the early stages of this behaviour.
Use Belladonna if the pet looks wild-eyed and there is a tendency to bite with urinary symptoms.
All these homeopathic remedies can be used in acute situations every three hours for three to four doses until there is improvement, at which time the remedy is discontinued.
Supplements Relieve Infection
Useful supplements, depending on the case, may be vitamin C and methionine (amino acid) in cats and dogs that have an alkaline pH in their urine. These may acidify the urine somewhat and lessen the ability of crystals to form. This is not recommended if the urine is acidic. This will worsen the problem.
A raw food diet can make urine more acidic and provide more moisture to the diet. If you choose a commercial food buy moist food. It's better because it provides more moisture to the system, causing more urination and passage of any potentially harmful crystals. With bacterial problems, cranberry extract has been shown to decrease the ability of bacteria to adhere to the bladder lining.
This disease can be a nuisance--periodically flaring up and irritating your pet. At other times there may be a potential for the cat or dog to become obstructed (blocked), which may be a life-threatening situation. Urinary tract disease is a chronic disease in which constitutional homeopathic treatment may be the best route to go for a long-term cure. This should be done with an experienced practitioner.
Address letters to The Pet Vet, 7436 Fraser Park Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5J 5B9.