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Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease Diet

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It Can Be A Complex Diagnosis And It Requires A Specific Feeding Program That’s Why It’s So Important To Rely On A Veterinary Diagnosis And Advice For Its Treatment

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) – VetVid Episode 008

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Feline lower urinary tract disease is commonly seen in cats, and it has many different causes. FLUTD isnt a specific disease itself, but actually a broad term that describes any physical illness or condition that affects the lower urinary tract the urinary bladder and urethra . There are numerous conditions that cause FLUTD, including infection and the formation of urinary stones or plugs that block the urethra.

Further complicating the diagnosis is feline idiopathic cystitis a condition in which a cat presents with signs of FLUTD but with no identified physical cause. Some experts believe that environmental stress may be a significant element in some cases of FIC .

The signs to look forCommon signs of FLUTD include frequent trips to the litter box, straining to urinate, vocalizing or crying out from painful urination, bloody urine, over-grooming in the genital area and urinating outside of the litter box.

The diverse conditions of FLUTD affect cats of all ages and breeds and both genders, but are most commonly diagnosed in middle-aged, neutered, overweight and under-exercised indoor cats that eat dry food diets.

Because FLUTD is a complex of disease conditions, it also stands to reason that choosing an appropriate FLUTD diet can also be complicated. There are many commercial urinary tract health diets available prescription and over the counter but urinary diets are not a one-size-fits-all solution.

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What Diet To Feed A Cat With Flutd

If you have cats or know people with cats, chances are you have heard of FLUTD, or Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disorder. This term refers to any disorder or disease that affects the bladder or urethra in cats. This can included urinary blockage, stones, crystals, or infections. 50% off all cats diagnosed with FLUTD have an unknown cause for the disorders1. However, there are proven ways to prevent ever having these conditions at all.

The Kibble Conundrum

Cats are designed to get their water intake from their prey. An average feline prey such as a mouse is 70%-80% water while an average bowl of kibble is 6%-10% moisture. Felines are used to receiving their moisture from their prey, and will not drink enough water separately to account for the difference lost in kibble2. Cats have a highly concentrated urine compared to other mammals, and when they eat kibble their urine becomes even more concentrated and is more likely to form crystals. This concentrated urine puts cats at risk for urinary crystals, stones and bladder irritation3.

The Prescription Solution
Canned is Good, Raw is Better
Holistic Supplements and Tips
Fritz & Michael
Footnotes

Change Your Cats Diet

Domesticated cats ancestors were desert-dwellers who adapted to having little available drinking water. However, inadequate hydration, paired with a dry diet that causes an imbalanced pH, can lead to urinary crystal development. If left uncorrected, urinary crystals can form bladder stones that may require surgical removal, cause urinary tract infections, or result in a urethral obstructiona life-threatening condition. A urethral obstruction is generally caused by a mucous plug, urinary crystals, and other debris that forms in the narrow tube that passes urine from the bladder. Once the urethra is blocked, the bodys toxin-filtering system fails, and can cause your cats death within 24 to 48 hours.

Feeding your cat a proper diet that cultivates the correct urinary pH is essential for preventing crystal formation and more serious issues. Some cats require a prescription food to optimize their urinary health, so ask your Southwest Vet veterinarian which diet is best for your cat. Also, ensure your cat always has plenty of clean, fresh water available to prevent dehydration. Boost your cats water intake by purchasing a pet drinking fountain, and adding canned food to their normal diet.

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How Is Flutd Diagnosed

Because FLUTD has many causes, it can be difficult to diagnose. Based on your cat’s symptoms, your veterinarian will do a physical examination and most likely will run a urinalysis assessing urine pH and concentration and presence of crystals, bleeding, inflammation and infection. If the cause is still not identified, tests such as urine culture, x-rays, blood work and additional urine tests may be recommended.

Nutrition Must Match Your Cats Genome

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Modern industrial cat foods have one basic fault: they fail to match the nutritional requirements of your cats genome. One manifestation of this fault is the development of urinary crystals, particularly in cats that eat dry foods only.

Apart from being cooked at high temperatures , based on grain, and supplying too much poor quality plant protein, many commercial cat foods contain high levels of crystal-forming material. Additionally, they typically produce alkaline urine, are dehydrating , and do not support the protective function of the bladder wall or the healthy development of your cats immune system. These nutritional problems, when combined with a genetic tendency to produce crystals, can result in major issues, particularly in male cats in whom urinary tract blockages are not uncommon.

In contrast, real, whole raw food is biologically appropriate for cats this is the diet that matches your cats genome, and that he has evolved to eat. A raw diet ensures optimal functioning, including a healthy urinary tract. Even cats with a genetic predisposition to form crystals will rarely do so when fed a properly-constructed diet based on evolutionary principles.

Even cats with a genetic predisposition to form crystals will rarely do so when fed a properly-constructed diet based on evolutionary principles.

Also Check: Urinary Tract Infection Over The Counter

Why Trust The Spruce

This piece was written by Lorraine Wilde who has had at least two cat companions in her home for the past 35 years including some special needs kitties. Two of her cats lived happy and healthily into their early 20s. Her current feline companions have been challenged by digestive and urinary tract health issues. When researching these brands, Lorraine evaluated the type and quality of the ingredients, the companys research and development of the food, and their business ethics.

Because she has only the highest of standards for what she feeds her pets, Lorraine recently switched to Evangers EVx Restricted Diet Urinary Tract and Evanger Organics Turkey and Butternut Squash canned food to help improve her older cats’ health issues. Lorraines family will consider adding the supplement Under the Weather Urinary Support Soft Chews for the benefits imparted by D-mannose.

Dr. Danielle Bernal is a Global Veterinarian with Wellness Natural Pet Food. She holds a Bachelors of Veterinary Science from University of Sydney and is a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the U.K. She has more than 15 years experience in veterinary care, animal nutrition and related communications. She travels across the United States and other countries to educate pet parents on the role that premium, natural nutrition plays in pets health and longevity.

Chapter 46 Part : Nutritional Factors For Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases

S. Dru Forrester, DVM, MS, DACVIM , Hill’s Pet Nutrition

John M. Kruger, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, Michigan State University

This content was published originally in the Small Animal Clinical Nutrition textbook. It has been updated and provided to readers of Clinician’s Brief courtesy of the Mark Morris Institute.

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Small Animal Clinical Nutrition,

Key Nutritional Factors

Table 46-12. Key nutritional factors and recommended levels for managing cats with common lower urinary tract diseases.*

Combined FIC, struvite and calcium oxalate prevention
Water
0.35 to 1.0

Key: FIC = feline idiopathic cystitis, Total omega 3 = total omega-3 fatty acids.*Nutrients expressed on a dry matter basis unless otherwise stated.

Table 46-13. Key nutritional factors for preventing uncommon feline uroliths

Key: DM = dry matter.

Also Check: Does Urinary Tract Infection Cause Pain

Idiopathic Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

In young to middle-aged cats presenting with signs of FLUTD, idiopathic disease is the most likely differential. Studies have highlighted several predisposing factors for this condition. The cats are:

  • male, neutered, and overweight
  • have limited exercise and
  • typically live in a multi-cat household .

In addition, black and white cats, as well as Persians, demonstrate an increased incidence of disease . Bladder signs are typically self-limiting, and unless obstruction occurs, usually resolve without treatment in three to five days. However, our understanding of this condition has evolved in recent years. Current belief is that this is in fact a systemic condition, with clinical signs attributed to the urinary bladder and abnormalities identified within the brain, spinal cord, and adrenal glands in addition to the bladder wall . Cats with idiopathic cystitis demonstrate alterations within the glycosaminoglycan layer. Although a generalized decrease in the GAG layer and a reduction in the GAG GP-51 have both been reported in cats, studies attempting to replenish the former have failed to demonstrate a benefit above that seen with placebo medications . In addition, the urothelium, which normally forms a tight barrier to ion and solute flux, is more permeable in cats with idiopathic cystitis on electron microscopy, a denuded urothelium has been identified .

Feeding Plan For Struvite Urolith Dissolution

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

Treatment options for cats with struvite uroliths include dissolution by nutritional management and physical removal of uroliths . Treatment selection depends on clinician experience, expertise and preference, availability of necessary equipment, patient factors and client preferences. Considering all factors, it is generally preferred to select the least invasive treatment that has the most evidence for effectiveness.

Despite evidence for effectiveness of nutritional management for dissolving struvite uroliths, many veterinarians still prefer to surgically remove uroliths because of perceptions that surgical management is more effective, is less expensive overall when considering monitoring and aftercare, controls clinical signs quicker and will not be associated with urethral obstruction as uroliths decrease in size, especially in male cats. Although surgical removal of uroliths has not been critically evaluated in cats, a retrospective study of 37 dogs and 29 cats with urinary bladder uroliths revealed that four cats and eight dogs had incomplete removal of uroliths by cystotomy in a veterinary teaching hospital .

Assess and Select the Food

Table 46-24. Comparison of key nutritional factors in selected commercial veterinary therapeutic foods for dissolution of struvite uroliths in cats.*

P
Assess and Determine the Feeding Method
Reassessment

Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of A Male Urinary Tract Infection

Signs Causes And Investigation

Feline lower urinary tract disease is not a specific disease, but rather is the term used to describe conditions that can affect the urinary bladder and/or urethra of cats.

Clinical signs for these disorders are all very similar so it is often difficult or impossible to determine the underlying cause without doing further investigations. Although many different diseases can affect the lower urinary tract, frustratingly, a number of cats develop a disease without any obvious underlying cause so called feline idiopathic cystitis or FIC. This form of disease appears to bear many similarities to a disease in humans called interstitial cystitis, but in both cats and humans it can be difficult to manage.

Does Manipulating Urine Ph Have A Role In Managing Or Preventing Any Of The Lower Urinary Tract Diseases Seen In Cats In The 1990s

Dietary manipulation has been a mainstay of the management and prevention of struvite urolithiasis in cats for some years, primarily because of the influence of dietary ingredients on urine pH. Urine pH is a much more important determinant of struvite formation than is the magnesium content of the diet . Changing pH has a proportionately much greater effect on changing struvite activity product than changing the concentration of one or more of the crystalloid components of struvite. Reduction of urinary pH through dietary manipulation is thus the most reliable means of creating urine that is undersaturated with struvite under these circumstances, crystallization and crystal growth will not occur, and preformed material will dissolve . Acidification of the urine may not be appropriate, however, in the management of other types of urolith. It has been suggested, for example, from epidemiologic data that acidifying diets, and in particular those that result in a urine pH < 6.29, may increase the risk of calcium oxalate formation . Given this background, the ability to predict the likely urinary pH resulting from consumption of a particular diet from its analysis would be of considerable value.

Effect of changing activity product on saturation and its effect on crystallization and crystal growth. Modified from with permission.

Results from regression of mean urine pH values on dietary base excess in cats fed canned foods1

Base excess calculation .

Recommended Reading: Best Supplement For Urinary Incontinence

How Your Cats Diet Affects Their Urinary Health

One of the most common conditions affecting cats is problems with their urinary system. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease is a group of diseases affecting about 1 in 25 cats. It comprises many different conditions such as cystitis and urinary stones.

As with many diseases, urinary tract disease can be affected by diet. In this article well explore how your cats diet and feeding habits can impact on their urinary health.

  • 3.2 Extracts and Supplements
  • Diagnostic Vs Therapeutic Urine Cultures

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    What are diagnostic urine cultures?

    • Quantitative urine cultures before initiating antibiotic therapy is considered to be the gold standard for diagnosis of bacterial urinary tract infections .
    • Diagnostic urine cultures provide accurate identification of specific bacterial species and aid in the selection of antibiotics. It also facilitates differentiation of recurrent UTIs caused by relapses from recurrent UTIs caused by reinfections.
    • If a patient is currently being treated with an antibiotic, it should be discontinued for three to five days before diagnostic urine culture to minimize inhibition of bacterial growth.

    What are therapeutic urine cultures?

    • Culture of urine at strategic times during antibiotic therapy is an effective method of assessing therapy. Therapeutic cultures are essential for determining why a patient may not be responding to treatment.
    • For patients with a high risk of morbidity and mortality , evaluation of urine culture and urinalysis three to five days after initiating therapy allows for verification of antibiotic effectiveness before the development of irreversible organ damage or systemic spread of disease. The same strategy should be considered when prescribing antibiotics with a high risk of toxicity.

    Benefits of therapeutic urine cultures:

  • Timely test of antibiotic efficacy
  • Verification of proper antibiotic administration
  • Early detection of bacterial resistance to antibiotics
  • Timely detection of persistent infections
  • I. Diagnostic

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    Urinary Disorder Signs In Cats

    Feline urinary conditions can become a vicious cycle of pain and stress, and must be addressed before they progress to severe discomfort or an emergency situation. Urinary discomfort signs in your cat include:

    • Straining to urinate
    • Vocalizing or crying while urinating
    • Frequent trips to the litter box
    • Missing the litter box
    • Licking the urogenital area

    Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease Life Expectancy

    Once your vet has put your cat on a special diet and she remains healthy for about nine months, the vet will examine the cat and take her off this special diet.

    Every 6 months, your cat should be checked to monitor her treatment progress.

    Cats can live a normal life with proper treatment and enjoy high-quality life.

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    Diagnosing And Managing Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

    To take the CE quiz, .This quiz is open until November 2022.

    Johanna Heseltine

    DVM, MS, DACVIM

    Dr. Heseltine is a clinical assistant professor at Texas A& M University. She received her DVM from the University of Saskatchewan and then completed a rotating small animal internship at the University of Prince Edward Island. She completed her masters degree and small animal internal medicine residency at Virginia Tech and is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Medicine . Dr. Heseltine has held faculty and teaching positions and worked in private specialty practice. She is interested in a broad range of internal medicine disorders of small animals.

    Feline lower urinary tract disease is a general term used to describe conditions affecting the bladder or urethra of cats 1 it is not a syndrome or specific diagnosis. It has been reported that between 4.5% and 8% of cats presenting to veterinary practices or teaching hospitals have FLUTD.2,3 Causes of FLUTD include physical conditions and behavioral disorders resulting in inappropriate urination . Because FLUTD encompasses a set of diseases manifesting similar clinical signs, an individualized, thorough diagnostic approach is required to determine the cause and optimize therapy .

    • Feline idiopathic cystitis
    • Congenital anatomical defects
    • Neurologic disorders
    • Behavioral disorders

    Protein And Phosphorus Content And Urinary Disease

    FLUTD – Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

    Although high levels of protein themselves arent a concern for urinary disease, very high levels of protein in a cat that also has renal disease is thought to be a big no-no, as this puts excess strain on the kidneys. The same goes for phosphate levels in cats with renal disease the kidneys become less capable of controlling phosphate levels, so high levels of phosphorus can cause damage.

    Recommended Reading: Purina Pro Plan For Urinary Tract

    How Is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease Treated

    Treatment for FLUTD depends on the underlying cause. Since the majority of younger to middle aged cats with LUTS will be diagnosed with FIC, implementing a tailored environmental enrichment plan is recommended as stressful events can exacerbate clinical signs in cats with FIC. Analgesics are also recommended as needed. Dietary therapy for cats with urolithiasis, including increased water intake, is essential. Other therapies will depend on the underlying cause for the LUTS and any other diseases your cat might have .

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