Feline Urinary Tract Disease: What You Should Know

April 4, 2019 Learning Center

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) describes a common collection fo conditions that affect the urinary tract of cats. The symptoms include difficulty and pain when urinating, increased frequency of urination, blood in the urine, urination in inappropriate places and occasionally complete obstruction and inability to pass urine – if your cat is unable to pass urine please contact us immediately as if left untreated this condition can be life threatening.

The condition is most frequently seen in middle aged, overweight cats which take little exercise, use an indoor litter tray, have restricted access to the outside and eat a dry diet. Male and female cats are both affected, however neutered male cats are more susceptible and the risk of obstruction is greatest in males.

Causes of FLUTD include:

  • stress or behavioural problems
  • bladder stones or urethral plugs
  • bacterial infections
  • anatomical defects or neoplasia
  • disease affecting the nerves that control the bladder

However, in 60-70% of cases, it is not possible to establish a cause for the condition – this is known as idiopathic cystitis.

Diagnosis of idiopathic cystitis is made by exclusion of all other causes of FLUTD. A urine sample can be tested (to assess concentration and to look for crystals, protein, blood cells and bacteria) and blood sampled to rule out other disease. Xray and ultrasound will be recommended if warranted.

Treatment is aimed at the underlying cause of the condition, if one can be identified:

  • Bladder stones/crystals: A special diet may be prescribed to help dissolve these. In some cases surgery may be required to remove the stones.
  • Urethral obstruction: This is a severe, very acute, very critical medical emergency. Bring them for immediate veterinary medical evaluation and treatment.
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