How Is Feline Urinary Tract Disease Diagnosed
Feline urinary tract disease can be difficult to diagnose because there are many possible causes and not all cats show the same symptoms.
Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam that includes looking at the cats genitals for inflammation or discharge.
There may also be some tests done to look for signs of kidney damage. Diagnosis typically involves the analysis of a urine sample under a microscope.
A urinalysis can be used to determine whether there are bacteria in the urine and to rule out other potential causes such as a bladder infection.
Additional testing that can be performed by your veterinarian is:
- Urine pH and concentration
- Abdominal ultrasound
What Is Feline Urinary Tract Disease
Urinary tract disease in cats is a collective term for any inflammation or infection of the bladder and urethra.
This condition is also known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease . The most common form of feline lower urinary tract disease is an obstruction in the urethra or cystitis.
FLUTD can be caused by bacterial infections, but this is not always the case. Your veterinarian will need to perform tests to determine the cause of your cats urinary tract disorder depending on the cats health.
Other Types Of Urinary Tract Problems In Cats
If your cat is straining, crying when urinating, urinating outside of the box, or having blood in its urine, it may very well have a condition that is not a UTI. Some of the more common causes include:
Feline Urological Syndrome – Also referred to as sterile cystitis, this is a sterile inflammation of the bladder that is incredibly common in cats. The exact cause for this inflammation is unknown but is likely multi-factorial including stress, genetics, diet, anatomy, and lifestyle. This is a disorder that cannot be cured but requires management in the form of stress reduction, special diets, medications, and sometimes surgery.
Urinary Tract Blockage– More often a problem in male cats, the urethra may become blocked with grit and other debris and the cat will be unable to urinate. This is an emergency! Steps must immediately be taken to unblock the cat to avoid kidney failure and death. Any cat with urinary tract symptoms that is not urinating for more than eight hours or only producing small drops of urine should be seen by a vet right away.
Bladder Stones – Bladder stones may also cause signs that look like a UTI. The cat may strain, urinate frequently, have pain when urinating, and have blood in its urine. Testing with your veterinarian, including a urinalysis and x-rays, is necessary for diagnosis.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infections In Cats
A urinary tract infection or cystitis can have many causes. However, the symptoms of the different urinary tract infections are more or less the same. How do you know if your cat has cystitis? A cats urinary problems manifest themselves in the following way :
- Difficulty in urinating: the cat grinds or meows in pain when he goes to relieve himself in the litter box. It may try to urinate without expelling anything.
- Sudden uncleanliness: the cat is no longer clean and relieves himself anywhere in the house.
- Abnormal behaviour: the cat tends to isolate himself, constantly licks his genitals, is not very active or on the contrary very agitated.
- Worrying urine: blood can sometimes be detected in the urine, and the urine often emits an ammonia smell.
- The cat drinks more.
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Importance Of Pet Insurance
Pet insurance is a great way to protect your animals health. It can be hard to predict when an accident will happen, but with pet insurance, youre covered.
There are a few different types of plans depending on your needs, and it only takes minutes to get coverage for your pet.
Some pet insurance companies will even cover 100% of veterinary expenses. So make sure to choose the best pet insurance plan for your furry friend.
Once you have a plan in place, vet bills will never be too high because theyll already be covered by the policy.
Its important that we all take care of our animals safety and well-being so they can enjoy their lives just as much as we do ours.
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Can Both Male And Female Cats Have Urinary Tract Problems
Male and female cats can both develop urinary tract diseases, although it is more common for male cats to have them. Due to their longer and thinner urethras, male cats are more likely to experience obstructions.
In male cats, a blockage of any kindfrom an enlarged prostate to an infected urinary tractcan put an extra burden on the kidneys. If untreated or undiagnosed for a long time, it can lead to chronic kidney failure.
Females are most commonly affected by Feline idiopathic cystitis. It is possible for the bladder to rupture in female cats with a urinary tract infection.
Cats Can Get Urinary Tract Infections
Your cat has started to display some odd behavior lately. Your previously house-trained cat is now urinating in your bathtub or on your bed. Also, your cat strains as if constipated, just sitting there in the litter box waiting and repeatedly scratching.
Not all owners can recognize these key signs of a urinary tract infection . Having worked at a veterinary hospital, I have come across many cats that were thought by their owners to be constipated, or worse, just simply displaying behavioral issues.
Cats that pee in the bathtub or on the bed are doing so for a very specific reason: their trip to the litter box has turned unpleasant. Your cat has tried to urinate in the litter box, but it turned out to be too painful, and therefore, he has started associating the litter box with something negative. To a cat, avoidance is the best solution, so he will try any other place to see if it will, in any way, ease the discomfort.
Another common sign of UTI in a cat is insistently licking the genital area. Cats tend to lick their wounds, so licking their genital area is the way they try to âhealâ the burning sensation they are feeling.
If you have happened to find some occult blood around the home, it is very likely coming from the cat. Blood may appear as normal red drops, or it may have a pinkish tint if it is mixed with the urine.
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How Are Utis Treated
UTIs are treated with antibiotics. After several days of antibiotics, your doctor may repeat the urine tests to be sure that the infection is gone. Its important to make sure of this because an incompletely treated UTI can come back or spread.
If someone has a lot of pain from a UTI, the doctor may recommend a medicine to help relieve the spasm and pain in the bladder. This will turn pee a bright orange color, but its harmless and will usually make a person much more comfortable within hours. In the case of a kidney infection, a doctor may prescribe pain medicine.
If youve finished all the medicine or if your symptoms arent much better after 2 to 3 days of treatment, contact your doctor.
Drink lots of water during and after treatment because each time you pee, the bladder cleanses itself a little bit more. Cranberry juice may also be helpful. Skip drinks that containe caffeine , such as soda and iced tea.
People who get a doctors help for a UTI right away should be clear of symptoms within a week. Someone with a more severe infection may need treatment in a hospital so they can get antibiotics by injection or IV .
A doctor may tell people with UTIs to avoid sex for a week or so, which lets the inflammation clear up completely.
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Give Your Cat More Water
Cats can suffer from urinary tract infections because they dont drink enough water. Several things can cause cats not to drink enough water such as age, diabetes, kidney disease, parasites, and some other medical conditions.
Drinking plenty of fluids will help prevent urinary tract infections as well as increase their overall health by reducing the risk for many diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
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Urinary Tract Disease In Cats: Causes Symptoms & Treatment
If your cat has stopped using the litter box or is facing difficulty in urination, its important to have her examined by your veterinarian as soon as possible to rule out urinary tract disease or infection, which are common health issues in cats.
Urinary tract disease in cats often results from low-grade infections that dont cause enough signs to be noticed by the owner but can easily be treated when identified and can be serious if left untreated.
In this guide, well discuss the causes and symptoms of these diseases and infections, as well as treatment and prevention that can help your cat feel better more quickly.
Recovery And Management Of Illness
If a medical cause for the issue is identified, many feline lower urinary tract diseases can be managed with the help of your veterinarian. This underlines how important it is to see your vet as soon as an issue is noticed.After the initial consultation, your vet may advise you to change some aspects of your catâs lifestyle to help maintain their urinary health. Overweight cats are more at risk of stones as they drink and urinate less frequently, so your vet may suggest that you help them lose weight and increase the amount of activity they do.Supporting your catâs urinary health through diet
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What Does A Urinalysis Look At
If your cat presents to your veterinarian with urinary signs, your veterinarian will first perform a urinalysis. The urinalysis can reveal so much important information about the urine when a UTI is suspected. Your veterinarian will look for the following:
- urine-specific gravity
Once these levels are measured, the urine specimen is placed into a centrifuge and spun down to allow cells and other debris to accumulate at the bottom of the sample tube. That debris can then be evaluated, revealing the presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, bacteria, and crystals.
Why Is My Cat Lying In The Litter Box
If your cat has been lying in the litter box a lot lately, it might point to stress or illness, but its not always a sign of urinary tract issues. In addition to lying in the litter box, cats with UTIs or other urinary problems will strain, lick at their genitals, hide, meow in the box, and look restless.
If your cat is lying in the litter box and also exhibiting these behaviors, theres a good chance that a UTI or other urinary tract issue is to blame.
Among cats with urinary tract problems, this behavior appears to result from a mix of stress and, perhaps, a need to stay in the box just in case something changes. Imagine feeling like you had to urinate for hours but couldnt get everything outwouldnt you stay near the toilet?
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Cat Urinary Tract Infections
True urinary tract infections in cats are very rare. Instead, in cats, we see a range of conditions which can cause cystitis, referred to as feline lower urinary tract disease .
FLUTD is any disorder affecting the bladder or urethra of cats. It is common, affecting approximately 1-3% of cats each year. Both male and female cats can be affected. Male cats are more prone to obstructions by crystals or plugs, due to their long narrow urethra.
Antimicrobial Treatment Of Recurrent/complicated Cystitis
In cases of complicated UTIs, identifying and addressing the primary reason for bacterial colonisation is critical to avoid treatment failure or recurrent infection. While the previous version of the ISCAID guidelines recommended long-duration treatment for all cases of recurrent cystitis,8 the 2019 guidelines acknowledge the broad range of conditions encompassed in this category and state that long-term therapy is no longer automatically warranted.12 Depending on the severity of clinical signs, analgesics could be considered for these patients as well, while awaiting culture results.12
If empirical treatment of recurrent cystitis is necessary, the same drugs are recommended as for sporadic/uncomplicated UTIs. A treatment period of 35 days should be considered in cases of reinfection, while 714 days may be reasonable when treating persistent or potentially relapsing infections.12 When longer treatment periods are applied, the benefit of urine cultures during treatment is unclear as the clinical outcome is of greater importance than the culture results per se.12 Urine cultures 57 days post-treatment in animals where clinical cure is documented may, if positive, help to differentiate between relapse, reinfection and persistent infection, but do not necessarily indicate the need to continue treatment .12
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How Common Are Urinary Tract Infections In Cats
Urinary problems are often seen in cats, however, cats are more prone to urinary tract disease than infection. Cats that do develop urinary tract infections often suffer from endocrine diseases, such as hyperthyroidism, and diabetes mellitus, and are typically 10 years of age or older.
If your cat is having symptoms of a urinary tract infection and is diagnosed with an infection such as cystitis your vet may prescribe an antibacterial to fight the infection.
Symptoms of urinary tract infections in cats include straining to urinate, reduced amounts of urine, not urinating at all, pain or discomfort when urinating, or passing urine tinged with blood
That said, there are a number of feline lower urinary tract diseases that could cause your cat to display the urinary tract infection symptoms listed above.
The Following Graphic Pictures Show The Unblocking Of An Obstructed Cat
These pets also need anesthesia for us to be able to pass the urinary catheter into the urethra and start the flow of urine again. Without this sedative it can be hard to pass a urinary catheter.
An intravenous catheter is placed in the cephalic vein located in the front leg. It is thoroughly wrapped and will be a crucial part of the treatment. It allows us to give precise amounts of injectable anesthetic in a cat with compromised kidneys.
We use this vein because it is accessible and more comfortable than other areas
This large mucous plug is at the tip
In most cases, a sterile small gauge IV catheter or lacrimal canula is used to gently flush out the crystals that are lodged in the urethra. This part of the procedure can take the most time because the flushing has to be gentle, yet the crystals can be almost solid in nature and difficult to flush out.
A special gentle and flexible catheter is place in the urethra once we flush out the mucous plug
When the plug is completely flushed out of the urethra the urine will immediately flow from the distended bladder
To make sure the bladder is empty will pull any remaining urine out with a syringe
After we remove the bloody urine we might flush the bladder to remove crystals and mucous that can cause future urethral plugs.
This collection system lets us quantify how much urine is being produced
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The Causes Of Urinary Issues In Cats
A cats urinary system can have inflammation, or suffer from a build-up of minerals in the bladder. These minerals can eventually crystallize and then build and join to form stones, which can irritate the urinary system and block the passage of urine. Older cats with frequent urination can also suffer from chronic kidney disease or other systemic illnesses.
Recovery And Management Of Urinary Tract Infection In Cats
The recovery period depends on the severity of the UTI and how quickly the cat was treated. If the infection is caught early on, and there are no other developments as a result, a full recovery should be expected within a few days or so of beginning antibiotic therapy. Some cats seem markedly improved after even one dose of antibiotics. However, ALWAYS complete the full course of medications exactly as directed by your veterinarian.
Occasionally, cats will develop frequent, recurrent urinary tract infections. In these cases, a longer course of antibiotics and repeat urine cultures may be necessary.
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How To Prevent Utis In Cats
It is important to note that UTIs are less common in cats. It is often more likely that another urinary issue is affecting your cat. UTIs most often occur when something else is affecting the cats natural defenses such as an autoimmune issue, bladder stones, or diabetes mellitus. These conditions will need to be addressed along with the UTI.
To encourage urinary tract health, all cats should be offered fresh water at all times and encouraged to drink. Canned or moist food is ideal for cats because it has more water content, and for cats with recurrent urinary issues, it may be recommended to add additional water to their canned food as well.
What Kind Of Antibiotics Can I Give My Cat For Uti
If a cat has never had a urinary infection before, then it is acceptable to put him on a course of broad spectrum antibiotics that kill a wide range of bacteria commonly found in urine. Typically, these antibiotics are penicillins, such as amoxicillin, clavulanic acid, cephalosporins, or sulphonamides.
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What Are Cat Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
Symptoms of urinary tract infections in cats can be similar whether they have sterile cystitis or they have a bacterial infection.
Common signs of a cat bladder infection or cystitis include:
- Frequently urinating
If youre seeing any of these signs in your cat, you need to take them to your veterinarian for an examination and additional diagnostics.