In our last post, we discussed Canine UTIs. In this blog, we will address urinary tract diseases in cats, commonly referred to as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD).
What Is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease?
The American Veterinary Medical Association describes FLUTD as a variety of conditions that affect the urinary system of the cat. Specifically, these diseases target the bladder and the urethra. This may include infections, urinary stones or blockages, or crystal formations. A urethral obstruction is more common in male cats because they have a longer, thinner urethra.
Causes of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
- Bladder infection
- Interstitial cystitis (inflammation of the bladder and symptomatic disease linked to stress)
- Urethral obstruction – due to bladder stones or a tumour
- Bladder stones
Symptoms of FLUTD
- Crying out due to painful urination
- Straining to urinate
- Urinating outside of the litter box
- Blood in urine
- Increased frequency of urination
- Licking genital area
If cats show symptoms they need to see a vet as soon as possible. FLUTDs can be extremely painful. Your vet will do an exam and take a sample of urine for analysis. The urine will be cultured to see if there is an infection and checked for crystals or blood. In addition to urinalysis, the vet is likely to do some form of imaging (ultrasound and/or x-rays). An obstruction can be dangerous because the cat is unable to rid itself of toxins that then build up in the cat’s body. In addition, tumours in the urinary tract, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism may cause lower urinary tract disease in cats.
Treatment will vary depending on what type of FLUTD your cat has. Your vet can discuss treatment options with you and may prescribe antibiotics to resolve an infection. If your cat has an obstruction, a catheter may need to be inserted.
Is Your Cat at Risk?
Some behaviours and physical traits put your cat at a higher risk for FLUTDs. These include being an indoor cat, being overweight, eating a diet exclusively of dry foods and being in a stressful situation. Age is also a factor. A cat can develop a FLUTD at any age, but older cats are more susceptible.
Prevent further Feline Lower Urinary Tract Infections
- Feed your cat smaller meals and more frequently
- Use canned food
- Make sure your cat has clean, fresh water available
- Have several litter boxes in quiet, out of the way places
- Clean the litter box frequently
- Reduce stress b y havinga familiar routine
If your cat is stressed, environmental enrichment such as toys, climbing structures and hiding places may alleviate stress. Cats that do not drink much from a water bowl may be encouraged to drink from a fountain or moving water dish. It is recommended that cats eat only moist food if they have a FLUTD because dry foods lack water, making things harder for the cat’s urinary tract system to process. Canned and homemade foods are much better for your cat and contribute to a higher water intake. This results in more urine and a healthier urinary tract system. A cat’s body is evolutionarily designed to take in water as part of its food. Canned food, which is 70% – 80 % water, is much more aligned with cats’ needs.
My Peterinarian is not just about pet sitting when you are out of town. We understand that sometimes you have to put in long days at the office. Not only do we provide exercise and attention for your pet, but we can do a wellness checkup. We recently detected FLUTD in one of our cat clients and recommended that the cat see a vet. The cat tested positive for FLUTD and underwent treatment. It’s success stories like these that make The Pet-agrees your best choice for pet care. The Pet- agrees is owned by a trained veterinarian. Give us a call today and let us help you pamper your pet!