Earlier this week, I dutifully withheld Cobb’s breakfast by whisking him off to another room while the girls ate. When they were done and Cobb and I came out to the kitchen, he pestered me like always about serving him his meal, however, there would be no breakfast for him today. I was taking him in for his dental cleaning. He certainly gave me an earful about “forgetting” his breakfast though!
For the last several days, I’ve been having a harder time than usual emptying his bladder so I suspected something might be going on. I decided to collect a urine sample and have the vet check it, since I was taking him in anyway. After I dropped him and his specimen off, I went to my class and didn’t expect to see Cobb until later this afternoon.
When we initially started fostering Cobb, he had almost continuous urinary tract infections (UTIs). It was a battle we were constantly fighting and it frustrated me to no end. I KNEW that unless he was fully and completely emptied, every single time, every four to five hours, each and every day, he would always have this risk.
Me, manually emptying his bladder, will never be as effective as if he could urinate himself. So not developing a UTI was quite literally, all in my hands. I grew stubbornly determined that this would NOT be his and my “normal”. I am like a Cobb with a bone (see what I did there?) when I make up my mind to do something, and I was going to find out how to prevent his bladder infections, come hell or high water.
I researched for hours, which turned into days and then days turned into weeks. I purchased urine test strips, formulated a game plan and discussed it all with our vet. She was on board with my plans and added a few other things to our newly formulated “UTI Prevention Toolbox” and we went on our merry way. We have not had not one single UTI for over four years.
The first thing I did after class was check my phone and, to my dismay, there it was: A text from our vet saying that Cobb had a pretty significant UTI and they would not be able to do his dental until his bladder infection was all cleared up, at least a month from now.
Immediately I started questioning myself: How long had this infection been brewing? Did he feel bad and I didn’t know it!? Had I been less diligent than I should have been? Was the arthritis in my hands making me less effective at emptying him efficiently?
Immediately, I felt deflated. Cobb and I had worked SO HARD to prevent this and have been so successful for years and yet here we are again. I take it personally when Cobb gets a UTI because I am his only safety net in that area. I am his primary caregiver and the one who always empties him. If he gets a bladder infection, isn’t it my fault?
As I’m inwardly chastising myself, I quickly realize that those thoughts are ridiculous. It wasn’t my fault at all. In fact, it’s really a miracle that he hasn’t had a bladder infection in all these years. I tell myself that it’s just not worth getting upset over it (but part of me still is, anyway). It’s going to happen from time to time simply because of Cobb’s paralysis and inability to empty his own bladder.
He and I have come a long way since those first few months of almost constant infections- four years, to be exact. I’ve always been faithful to our “UTI Prevention Toolbox” and it’s always served us well. This is just a wrinkle (tinkle?) in time. It’s simply a bladder infection, not a catastrophic, life-limiting illness. He will recover and life will carry on....at least it will once I feed him!