This beautiful girl is Echo. We’ve been together for more than a decade. I adopted her as a kitten from the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. Right from the start, she’s been an affectionate and curious cat.

I remember the first morning Echo saw me brushing my teeth. She couldn’t quite see what I was doing, so she jumped up on the toilet seat to get a better look. Well, that morning she learned the difference between a toilet lid and a toilet seat. Yup. She fell in. The squinty-eyed look on her little, wet face was priceless!Early in 2020, Echo had a cystotomy – the medical term for opening the bladder to remove stones. The surgery was a success! (Credit: Sarah Gilliam)

Today, when I’m:
• reading a book or magazine, she’ll throw her body across it to get my attention.
• working on my computer, she’ll sit down between me and my computer screen.
• watching TV, she’ll lay on my lap and fall asleep (and most times put my legs to sleep!).

I had to go out of town for a work conference in 2010. The minute I got back home, the pet sitter said she found blood in the litter box. I immediately called the vet. A thorough exam and urinalysis revealed Echo had a severe urinary tract infection (UTI).

We left with a prescription for antibiotics. After Echo finished the initial course, and then a second course, she showed little improvement – the infection kept returning. The vet thought the problem could be stones, and an X-ray confirmed it. My love ball with legs was put on a prescription diet specifically designed to dissolve bladder stones, and it worked like a charm. Her stones disappeared. Echo was soon back to full health, and many years passed without any major issues. (ALSO READ CLEO’S STORY: One Pup’s Tale of Love and Second Chances)

Fast forward to December 2019 when I watched Echo go to her litter box six times in a row with little to nothing coming out. I knew right then she had another UTI at minimum and maybe something even more serious. I took her to the vet as fast as I could.

The vet found crystals in Echo’s urine, so she did an X-ray. Echo’s bladder was loaded with stones – way more than the first time. (Credit: Sarah Gilliam)The vet found crystals in Echo’s urine, so she did an X-ray. Echo’s bladder was loaded with stones – way more than the first time. Hoping to avoid surgery because of her advancing age, we agreed to try the prescription diet again. But this time we weren’t so lucky. The diet didn’t work.

Early in 2020, Echo had a cystotomy – the medical term for opening the bladder to remove stones. The surgery was a success! The vet put her on a lifelong prescription diet to prevent the stones from ever coming back. Today I’m happy to report the kitty with a purr that can brighten anyone’s day is happy and healthy once again.

About Echo and her story, the single most important thing I want everyone to remember is that bladder blockage (both in animals and in people) can cause deadly toxins to build up, and it can be fatal if untreated. Without animal research, today’s advanced treatment options simply wouldn’t exist!

E P I L O G U E

Animal research has enabled humans and animals alike to live happier, healthier lives. Do you have a story to tell? Work with one of FBR’s digital specialists to share it with the world. Contact staff at info@FBResearch.org.

You can also help beloved animals like Echo live longer by making a donation to FBR. With a generous gift from you, we can reach more people more often and increase public understanding and support for humane biomedical research.

FBR’s staff loves the adorable photos Sarah sent to use in this FBR Real Pet Stories™ post. Isn’t Echo a sweetie for cooperating for a selfie?

Are you a cat person or a dog person? Sponsor a pet story of your choice. Remember: donations to FBR are tax deductible. Set yourself up for success under President Biden’s proposed tax increase and invest in FBR’s future today.
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