What Are Urinary Tract Infections In Cats
Urinary tract infections are not common in cats. Only 1-3% of cats with signs of urinary tract disease will have a urinary tract infection.
Because they can resemble so many other conditions, UTIs need to be distinguished from other conditions, such as crystals in the urine. Fortunately, by running some simple tests, your veterinarian will be able to tell the difference.
In most cases, UTIs in cats are usually caused by bacteria. Bacterial urinary tract infections in cats are generally relatively easy to treat and respond well to medications. Chronic infections, or those that do not respond to regular medication, can require more testing to figure out why your cat is at higher risk for urinary tract infections.
Considerations For Laboratory Assessment
If the patient does not have symptoms indicative of UTI, sending a urine culture is not recommended. If a culture is performed on an asymptomatic patient and results in the presence of bacteria that is not attributable to contamination, this is consistent with ASB. Screening for and treatment of ASB is not recommended, unless the patient is pregnant or going to be undergoing an invasive genitourinary procedure, as outlined above.3,12 However, some clinicians have difficulty ignoring a positive urine culture, even when the patient is asymptomatic. One study of hospitalized patients showed that by not routinely reporting urine culture results in noncatheterized patients, the rates of inappropriate treatment of ASB were reduced from 48% to 12%.20 Therefore, one should avoid sending a urine culture in the absence of symptoms to limit the pressure to treat .
Pharmacists who are unable to order urine cultures should advocate for or make recommendations to have them done when they are appropriate and should discourage the sending of urine cultures when they are not indicated.
Blood cultures should be considered if the patient is febrile, hemodynamically unstable, if pyelonephritis is suspected or if the patient is immunocompromised.21,23
What Uti Test Should Pregnant Women Have
Pregnant women are especially susceptible to urinary tract infections, thanks in part to pregnancy hormones, so its recommended that all get screened for UTIs between 12 and 16 weeks of pregnancy or at ones initial prenatal appointment. For this population, a urine culture is considered the most reliable test, especially for asymptomatic bacteriuria , which is a UTI without symptoms. However, since theres a high rate of false positives for pregnant women, a positive result often leads to a second test a week later in order to avoid unnecessary treatment.
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How To Feel Better
If your healthcare professional prescribes you antibiotics:
- Take antibiotics exactly as your healthcare professional tells you.
- Do not share your antibiotics with others.
- Do not save antibiotics for later. Talk to your healthcare professional about safely discarding leftover antibiotics.
Drink plenty of water or other fluids. Your healthcare professional might also recommend medicine to help lessen the pain or discomfort. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your antibiotics.
Diagnosing Uti In Puppies
While a urinary tract infection is painful and uncomfortable for your puppy, it is generally not life-threatening. However, misdiagnosis can interfere with house training and result in accidents that are beyond the puppys control.
In rare cases, a UTI may also be a sign of an underlying problem like Cushings disease in dogs, bladder stones, canine kidney failure, diabetes in dogs, or even bladder cancer. And if left untreated, a UTI can cause permanent damage to your puppys kidneys. So it is important to have a vet examine and properly diagnose you puppy.
To diagnose a UTI, your veterinarian will perform a urinalysis to check for an infection and evaluate kidney function. Further diagnostic tests such as a culture or bloodwork may also be completed in order to determine the type of infection and rule out other health concerns. Your vet may also choose to take x-rays of your puppy to see if there are any stones or abnormalities in the urinary tract or bladder.
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Cultures And The Laboratory Diagnosis Of Utis
Routine bacterial urine cultures. Urine culture may not be necessary as part of the evaluation of outpatients with uncomplicated UTIs . However, urine cultures are necessary for outpatients who have recurrent UTIs, experience treatment failures, or have complicated UTIs. Urine cultures are also necessary for inpatients who develop UTIs. The bacterial culture remains an important test in the diagnosis of UTI, not only because it helps to document infection, but also because it is necessary for determination of the identity of the infecting microorganism and for antimicrobial susceptibility testing. This is particularly true because of the increased incidence of antimicrobial resistance.
Catheterized patients and many patients with infections of the lower urinary tract have colony counts much lower than 105 cfu/mL if the specimens are obtained via suprapubic aspirate or catheterization . Accordingly, the most appropriate diagnostic criterion for urine culture specimens obtained via suprapubic aspirate or catheterization is a bacterial concentration of 102 cfu/mL .
Interpreting culture results for urine specimens yielding common urinary tract pathogens.
Getting Tested For A Uti
Testing for a UTI usually takes place in a doctors office, laboratory, or hospital. Most tests for UTIs involve a urine sample obtained by clean-catch or catheterization. Your doctor can help determine which method is appropriate for you.
- Clean catch urine samples are collected by patients with special precautions to prevent outside germs from getting into the urine sample. Patients are given instructions on obtaining a clean catch sample and avoiding contamination.
- Catheterization involves inserting a thin rubber tube through the urethra into the bladder. When performing this procedure, the urine is collected in a sterile container for testing before removing the catheter.
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Who Can Get A Urinary Tract Infection
Anyone can get a UTI, including children. However, theyre most common in women who are sexually active or post-menopausal. In fact, women get them about 30 times more often than men as a result of the female anatomy.
Pregnant and postmenopausal women are also at high risk because hormonal changes allow bacteria to grow more easily. Other groups at high risk of getting a UTI include:
- People with poorly controlled diabetes.
- Anyone with a compromised immune system.
- Those who use a catheter.
- People who have a urinary tract abnormality.
- Those who fail to empty their bladder often enough or incompletely.
What Uti Test Should Children Have
A UTI diagnosis in a child requires both a urinalysis and a urine culture, according to the most recent clinical practice guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics. In order to gather a proper urinary sample from a very young child, catheterization or a suprapubic aspirate is often recommended. Alternatively, your healthcare provider may simply leave the child diaper-free in order to obtain a sample when the child urinates. Some physicians collect urine using a bag. Samples obtained in this way, however, have a high rate of contamination, making results unreliable.
For children who are potty trained, a midstream urine sample should be collected. Its often recommended that girls sit backward on the toilet, in order to widen the labia and prevent contamination.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Utis In Cats
Cats with UTIs are uncomfortable! You may notice:
- More frequent visits to the litterbox
- Smaller amounts of urine in the litterbox
- Urine in places other than the litterbox
- Bloody, cloudy, or foul-smelling urine
- Straining to urinate and/or vocalizing during urination
- Licking the genital area more than usual
- Hiding, acting irritable, or other behavior changes
Symptoms of UTI are very similar to those seen in other forms of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease , including urethral obstruction, which is a life-threatening emergency! Cats should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible if any of the above signs are observed.
Simple Uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infection
Simple uncomplicated UTI is a sporadic bacterial infection of the bladder in an otherwise healthy individual with normal urinary tract anatomy and function. The presence of relevant comorbidities or 3 or more episodes per year indicates complicated or recurrent UTI, respectively, as are discussed below.
Clinically significant infection implies the presence of a clinical abnormality and is characterized by dysuria, pollakiuria, and/or increased urgency of urination along with the presence of bacteria in urine . These clinical signs are not pathognomonic for infection and can also be caused by noninfectious conditions. Additionally, bacteria can be present in the urine in the absence of clinical signs . Therefore, the clinician must interpret the clinical evaluation, gross and cytological appearance of the urine, and bacterial culture results in parallel to determine the likelihood of a clinically significant UTI.
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How Do You Test For A Urinary Tract Infection
Diagnosis of a urinary tract infection usually includes evaluating your symptoms and testing your urine.
- The most common UTI test is a urinalysis. This is a urine sample that is checked for abnormalities.
- A urinalysis can be done in your doctors office. It checks your urine sample for bacteria that cause UTIs and white blood cells caused by the infection.
- While it should not be used for diagnosis, a different type of urinalysis can be done at home with an over-the-counter test kit. It can help you identify possible signs of infection to share with your doctor.
Diagnosing Uti: Tests And Screenings Early Diagnosis And Your Doctors
There is more than one way to diagnose a urinary tract infection . Knowing which test you need will help ensure you get the treatment you require quickly. When UTIs are treated properly in a timely fashion, they rarely lead to complications. However, UTIs can result in serious consequences, including kidney damage, if left undiagnosed and untreated.
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Assess For Presence Of Complicating Factors
Once it has been determined that the patient has symptoms consistent with UTI, evaluation for complicating factors is essential. UTIs are considered complicated when they are associated with structural, functional or metabolic conditions that promote UTI. These patients have an increased likelihood of resistant pathogens and may be more likely to experience treatment failure.2,11 Examples of complicating factors include UTIs in males, chronic obstruction, nephrolithiasis, poorly controlled diabetes, indwelling urinary catheter, chronic renal insufficiency, pregnancy and immunosuppression .
How Are You Tested And Screened For A Uti
If you are experiencing symptoms like painful urination or a frequent urge to use the bathroom, you might be headed toward a UTI diagnosis. To find out for sure, youll need to have a healthcare professional, like your general practitioner, test your urine for both bacteria and other components that could indicate a urinary tract infection. When diagnosing a UTI, a urine test should be standard protocol. That, however, is not always the case. In fact, less than one in five patients treated for a UTI actually has a laboratory urine test to diagnose their problem, according to 2019 study in the journal E Clinical Medicine.30120-8/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> 2)
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Pennys Story: The Worst
Every veterinary hospital has a few frequent flyer patients who seem to be at the office constantly. Penny, a 4-year-old Westie, was one of ours. She was usually on the appointment schedule for her chronic skin issues.
But one Friday morning, Penny presented for blood in her urine. She had a low-grade fever but no other obvious symptoms. After running some tests, she was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and sent home with oral antibiotics.
But heres the horrible part that plagues me to this day: Penny died that weekend. Her death was a shock to everyone on our staffthe doctor who saw her, certainly me, and most of all, her family. It was heartbreaking on so many levels.
Because of this unexpected outcome, I asked Pennys mom if she would consent to a necropsy . She agreed, and I drove the deceased dog to a specialist to have the autopsy performed. Pennys parents wanted closure and I wanted answers, but the final report broke my heart.
How To Prevent A Dog Uti
You can prevent a dog UTI once the cause of a dogs urinary infection is known, and your veterinary surgeon can make a long term plan to prevent cystitis from returning. There are also some more simple steps you can follow and build into your dogs daily routine. These include:
- Regularly providing fresh drinking water is essential for all causes. It helps to flush away any bacteria and dilute the urine.
- Urinary tract supplements can help prevent inflammation and improve resilience to infection. Talk to your veterinary surgeon about options available, they include Cystopro, Cystaid.
- Keeping your dog groomed and clean around their back end will help to avoid ascending UTIs due to soiling.
- Allow your dog plenty of opportunities to go to the toilet regularly. Regular voiding of the bladder helps to prevent inflammation.
- Feeding any prescription diets as advised by your veterinary surgeon to help prevent further bouts of stones/crystals.
If you have a concern about your dog or identify any of the common signs of a urinary tract infection, contact your localAnimal Trust surgeryorbook a free consultation with one of our vets.
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Prognosis For Uti In Children
Properly managed children rarely progress to renal failure unless they have uncorrectable urinary tract abnormalities. However, repeated infection, particularly in the presence of VUR, is thought to cause renal scarring, which may lead to hypertension and end-stage renal disease. In children with high-grade VUR, long-term scarring is detected at a 4- to 6-fold greater rate than in children with low-grade VUR and at an 8- to 10-fold greater rate than in children without VUR. The risk of scarring after recurrent UTI is as high as 25%, or 10- to 15-fold greater than that in children with only 1 febrile UTI however, few children will have recurrent febrile UTI.
The Role Of Uti Testing
UTI testing may be performed if a doctor suspects a UTI based on a patients symptoms and a physical examination. Laboratory tests can diagnose or rule out UTIs. UTI testing can also identify the bacteria or other microbes that are causing the infection, which helps doctors decide how to best treat the infection.
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Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infections In Cats
Most cats with urinary tract infections will make frequent trips to the litter box and seem restless. They may go into the box and strain to pee but produce either a small amount of urine or no urine at all. Occasionally, their urine may appear bloody.
Some cats will avoid the litter box because they have associated it with the discomfort caused by the UTI. Instead, they may urinate in other places in your home. Sinks, bathtubs, and clean laundry are popular spots. Your cat also may vomit and seem lethargic as the problem progressesespecially male cats.
In most cases, acute and chronic urinary tract infections will cause very similar symptoms. However, some cats with the chronic form show no signs of disease.
Female Cat Uti Treatment
There are a few different ways to treat a female cat with a UTI. The most common way is to give the cat antibiotics. This will usually clear up the infection within a week or two. Sometimes a cat may need to be hospitalized and given IV antibiotics if the infection is severe.
Urinary tract infections are more common in cats than infections, but our cats are more prone to urinary tract disease. In cats, a urinary tract infection can cause reduced urine output, increased pain, or discomfort while urinating. The most common cause of urinary tract infection in cats is overweight, middle-aged cats. FLUTD symptoms can be caused by serious underlying health issues such as infection or bladder stones. If left untreated, urinary problems in cats can cause the urethra to become partially or completely obstructed. Failure to eliminate an obstruction within a short period of time can result in death.
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Recovery And Management Of Utis In Cats
Most cats will fully recover within 7-10 days of developing a urinary tract infection, but they may need to remain on a canned diet for longer. Your vet may check a urine sample after treatment to determine if all the bacteria are gone.
Occasionally, cats will develop repeated urinary tract infections. Cats with recurring UTIs often require more testing to determine the underlying cause.
Specimen Collection Transportation And Processing
Specimen collection. Suprapubic aspiration is the best method to avoid contamination of specimens with bacteria in the distal urethra. This collection method is used infrequently because it is not indicated clinically , it is invasive and uncomfortable, and it requires too much time and too many resources to be practical. Collection of urine by use of a single catheter is the next-best technique for obtaining urine specimens with minimal contamination, but, again, it is not indicated clinically for most patients because it is too labor intensive and costly for routine use and it is invasive. It has added disadvantages, because the process of inserting a catheter through the urethra can introduce bacteria into the bladder , and rare complications have been reported.
As discussed below, correct processing and handling of urine specimens, as well as correct interpretation of test results, is dependent on the method used to collect the specimen. It is, therefore, of obvious importance for clinicians to specify the method of collection on the test requisition slip. Other information that should be included on the test requisition slip includes the date and time of specimen collection, patient demographic information, and any clinically relevant information .
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