What Causes Urinary Tract Disease
FLUTD is a multifactor disease. There is no single cause of feline urinary tract disease. Veterinarians do recognize that there are components that may contribute to the prevalence of the disease. For more detailed information, always contact your veterinarian. Risk factors include the following:
- Cats more than 1 year of age are most susceptible.
- Overweight cats, lack of exercise.
- History of chronic kidney disease or urinary tract procedures.
- Both male and females cats get the disease with equal frequency, but neutered male cats have a greater risk of life-threatening urethral obstruction from the crystals or stones.
Nutritional Risks: You already know that the food you feed your cat is extremely important to her overall health. But feeding the wrong food can contribute to the development of a urinary tract disease . With FLUTD, crystals or stones form within the urinary tract and cause irritation, pain and possibly blockage. In severe cases, this can lead to kidney damage or may even be fatal if not properly treated.
- An abundance of certain minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium — often found in grocery store brand cat food — can cause crystals to form in the urine, which sometimes leads to urinary stones.
- Food influences the pH, or acidity, of urine. Urine should be moderately acidic for a healthy urinary tract because its harder for struvite crystals to grow in an acidic environment
Does Wet Cat Food Help With Uti
Yes, wet food can help the cat UTI treatment.
Increasing your cats water intake is a good way to fight against UTIs, and wet food has a higher moisture content than dry food.
Wet food helps hydrate cats while they eat, and it is often recommended to introduce wet food to them even when the cat is healthy to support hydration.
Causes Of Flutd In Cats
While there are many conditions that can result in signs of feline lower urinary tract disease, more than half of cats exhibiting signs of FLUTD will have no identifiable cause despite extensive diagnostic testing, and when no cause is evident, it is termed idiopathic.
There may be more than one single cause of FLUTD. In young, generally healthy cats, some of the more commonly identified underlying causes include:
- Urethral Obstruction: When a cats urethra becomes partly or totally blocked it becomes a potentially life-threatening condition, as the cat, usually male, is unable to urinate. These blockages are caused by urethral stones or by urethral plugs.
- Urolithiasis : These are collections of minerals that form into crystals or stones in the urinary tract of cats.
- Urethral plugs: These are an accumulation of debris from urine that forms into a soft paste-like material containing minerals, cells, and mucus-like protein.
- Urinary tract infection : A UTI is an infection of the bladder and/or urethra. UTIs can occur in cats of all ages but are more common in those ten years and older. Recurrent urinary tract infections can greatly enhance development of FLUTD. Bacteria, fungi, parasites or even viruses can cause infections of your cats urinary tract.
Although the exact cause of FLUTD may remain unknown, it is a complex condition where a number of factors may contribute to the development of the disease, including:
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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.
How Vets Diagnose Flutd
Diagnosis of FLUTD can be tricky and often relies on a combination of physical exam findings, test results, andmost importantlypatient history. At minimum, your vet will perform a urinalysis to rule out a urinary tract infection. Some cases may require a urine culture if the infection is hard to find or does not respond to initial antibiotics.
You vet may also take a blood sample to look for systemic infection, diabetes, and kidney disease. These conditions may have similar symptoms to FLUTD. Stones in the bladder or urethra can usually be found on x-rays, though doctors with access to ultrasound may prefer using ultrasound to look for kidney changes or bladder abnormalities that wouldnt show up on x-rays. Advanced imaging, such as MRI or CT, is rarely used.
Successful diagnosis and treatment of FLUTD often requires a lot of information about how a cat interacts with their environment at home. Recent behavior changes in your cat are an important part of the diagnosis. You may be asked to complete a detailed questionnaire about how and where your cat eats, sleeps, plays, and interacts with family members. These questionnaires can be just as helpful as regular lab tests because they can help identify stressors in your cats environment.
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What Is The Prognosis For Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
There is no cure for FIC, but the majority of cats can be successfully managed with strategies mentioned above. Some affected cats will experience recurrent LUTS episodes. It is important to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the best treatment and management plans for your cats. The same is true for cats presenting with bladder stones. Your veterinarian can recommend specific diet and environmental therapy that are tailored to help reduce the recurrence of future stone formation.
Helping Your Cat Recover From Flutd/fluts
If your cat has an obstruction, your veterinarian will need to remove it immediately. Most cases of FLUTS are not caused by infection, but if an infection is present, your veterinarian will likely send the urine off for a culture to find out what bacteria is present and which antibiotic is best.
If there are struvite crystals in your cats urinary tract that arent blocking the flow of urine, a special diet can help dissolve them and reduce future formation. If your cat continues to have lower urinary tract signs after five to seven days of dietary therapy, consult your veterinarian.
Acupuncture, glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate supplements, and other supportive care may be offered depending on your cats individual needs and situation.
Regardless of the type of cat urinary disease, increased water intake is recommended to decrease urine concentration and elevate urine volume. Your veterinarian may recommend a special diet that promotes increased water intake or switching to a wet diet.
Find more about cat health and how to care for them by visiting our Pet Expertisepage and get advice from our pet experts.
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Common Causes Of Lower Urinary Tract Diseases
There are many conditions that can cause your cat to have problems using the litter box to urinate. Here are a few of the most common causes, so you can be well informed. There are other rare diseases that can cause lower urinary signs, and in those cases, your veterinarian may need to refer you to a specialist.
How Can I Treat My Cats Uti At Home
Because cranberries have the acidity of urine, they can lower the pH of the urine and treat UTIs. In most cases, cranberry juices are high in sugar. You can also supplement your cats diet with cranberry supplements, pills, or powders, as opposed to cranberry capsules .
UTIs are more common among female cats than among males. Cystitis crystals can form in male cats as well. An infection in the urinary tract is caused by bacteria growing in the bladder.
If your cat is having difficulty walking or climbing stairs, you might be dealing with a urinary tract problem. Crystals, stones, and debris can form in your cats urethra, or tube connecting the bladder to the outside of the body, over time. If the problem is not addressed, it can lead to a permanent health problem. Excessive water consumption is one of the most common causes of urinary tract problems in cats. When the bladder is always full, the urinary tract can become inflamed and under pressure. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to be effective against urinary tract infections in cats. The product can be used to dissolve bacteria in the urine of your cat to create a proper pH balance and to keep the urine clean. The presence of less bacteria will allow your cats urinary tract to heal naturally and stay healthy. Your veterinarians regular visits to your cats urinary tract are an important part of keeping it healthy.
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Antibiotic Use In Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Feline lower urinary tract disease may be caused by a variety of conditions. Although it can be challenging, it is important to distinguish between these conditions so that appropriate treatment is given and antimicrobial drugs are used judiciously.
Judicious use of antimicrobial drugs involves the dual goals of eradicating infection while avoiding development of antimicrobial resistance.
Judicious use of antimicrobial drugs encompasses:
- Using an antibiotic only when indicated.
- Choosing a cost-effective antibiotic agent that provides appropriate coverage for the diagnosis that is suspected.
- Prescribing the optimal dose and duration of the antibiotic.
Summary Of Urinary Tract Infection In Cats
Urinary Tract Infections in cats are a fairly common condition, but can become serious if left untreated. They can sometimes be asymptomatic, but common symptoms include frequent, difficult or painful urination, or urinating in places outside the litterbox. Usually UTIs can be easily treated with antibiotics, but if theyre caused by bladder stones, these will also need to be treated. To help prevent recurrent UTIs, keep your cat at a healthy weight, ensure they get enough water and speak to your vet about whether dietary changes could help.
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Diagnostic Vs Therapeutic Urine Cultures
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:
What Can I Give A Cat With A Urinary Tract Infection
There are a few things you can give a cat with a urinary tract infection, such as antibiotics, special food, or supplements. Antibiotics are the most common treatment, and they can usually clear up the infection within a few weeks. Special food and supplements can help to prevent future infections and keep the cats urinary tract healthy.
Urinary tract infections are uncommon in cats, but they are quite common in dogs. Its also known as feline idiopathic cystitis, which means its not caused by any known disease. UTIs can be caused by both a fungus and an parasitic infection. Urinary tract issues can be quite painful for your cat. If left untreated, a blockage can become fatal. In general, the treatment of a urinary tract problem will differ depending on the cats specific situation. If you have an ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan, you may be able to recoup your veterinarians fees.
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Treatment For Flutd In Cats
Cats with FLUTD may present with mild symptoms or with extremely serious signs that qualify as a true medical emergency. The vet will assess the degree of discomfort and the seriousness of the situation when deciding which treatment protocols to follow. The goals of treatment are to remove or rule out any obstructions of the urinary tract, relieve pain, restore urine flow, restore fluid and electrolyte balance and reduce stress.
The key to successful treatment of FLUTD lies in the vets ability to accurately determine any underlying cause. Where a cat urinary tract infection is the underlying cause, often little more than antibiotics are required resolve the problem. In cases of identified bladder obstructions, surgery may be required. Dietary changes may also be implemented to prevent future episodes of stone formation.
Unfortunately, more than half of cats with symptoms such as frequent urination and bloody urine will have no identifiable cause despite extensive diagnostic testing. Since optimal treatment of these diseases is specific to the underlying cause, idiopathic cases can be a challenge to treat.
Emergency Management Of Unobstructed Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disorder
For patients that present with signs of FLUTD but do not have a urinary obstruction, outpatient treatment with anti-spasmodics and analgesics is recommended. Urinalysis is recommended however, it is often challenging due to the small size of the bladder at presentation. If not possible, clients should be instructed on how to obtain a sample at home for evaluation. If patients are having recurring episodes, implementation of the long-term management strategies listed below should be initiated.
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Cat Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
A cat urinary tract infection can cause a number of different symptoms. The most common symptom is frequent urination, which may be accompanied by a strong urge to urinate. Other symptoms can include bloody or cloudy urine, straining to urinate, or pain during urination. In some cases, a cat with a UTI may also have a fever. If your cat is showing any of these symptoms, it is important to take them to the vet for an examination and possible treatment.
How Do You Tell If A Cat Has A Uti
The most common symptoms of urinary tract infections in cats include excessive urine flow, decreased urine volume, pain or discomfort during urination, passing blood- tinged urine, and urinating around the house outside of the litter box.
In the same way that humans do, cats can become ill. The most common way that cats become ill is through a weakened urinary tract . Although an FLUTD can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, antibiotics are frequently used to treat it. If your cat has a urinary tract infection or a lower urinary tract disease , it is critical that you consult a veterinarian. A UTI can lead to severe kidney problems in the long run, necessitating costly medical bills. Points can be earned by taking litter, coupons, and playing with toys.
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Treatment: The Importance Of Nutrition
The food your cat eats plays an important role in her overall health and well-being. Cat foods high in magnesium, phosphorus, protein and calcium have been linked to stone formation. Veterinarians believe feeding a bladder health cat food with restricted amounts of these minerals can assist in the dissolution of some types of stones that have formed in a cats urinary tract.
Balanced nutrition is an essential part of an active, healthy lifestyle. If your cat has been diagnosed with a urinary tract problem, its important to feed her the right cat food. The right nutrition can help control mineral levels, maintain a healthy urine pH, and help reduce inflammation to safely resolve urinary issues. For accurate diagnosis and treatment options, always consult your veterinarian and ask them to recommend the best food for your cats urinary tract health.
Additional ways to manage FLUTD include the following:
- Make sure water is clean, fresh and available at all times
- Feeding moist or canned cat food also helps increase water consumption
How Is Fic Diagnosed
FIC is diagnosed by performing tests to eliminate the known causes of abnormal urination. These tests include any or all of the following:
- thorough medical history and physical examination – especially paying attention to any changes in environment, feeding, stress, etc.
- blood tests – complete blood cell count and serum chemistries
- complete urinalysis
- urine culture and antibiotic sensitivity tests
- abdominal radiographs, which may include contrast radiographic studies to see if the bladder appears abnormal or contains bladder stones
- abdominal ultrasound to look at the structure of the bladder and presence of bladder crystals or bladder stones
- cystoscopy or endoscopic examination of the urethra and bladder
Your veterinarian will formulate a diagnostic plan based on your cat’s specific clinical symptoms.
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Recognizing The Symptoms Of Cat Urinary Problems
Accurate observations about changes in your cats appearance or behavior can assist your veterinarian in diagnosing feline urinary tract disease. For example, urinating can be painful for a cat with lower urinary tract disease. Urine may be bloody, have a reddish tinge, or a strong ammonia-like odor. A cat with FLUTS may:
- Make frequent trips to the litter box
- Strain to urinate or cry when urinating
- Urinate outside the litter box
- Lick their genital area excessively
Occasionally, mucous plugs or crystals caused by cat urinary tract disease can block the urethra, making it difficult or impossible for your cat to urinate. These cats will:
- Strain to urinate with little success
- Display signs of anxiety, such as pacing or hiding
Consult your veterinarian immediately if your cat shows any of these behaviors. If an obstruction is not relieved, it can lead to vomiting, loss of appetite, dehydration, collapse and even death.