How Do Cats Get Utis
As mentioned, cats get UTIs from bacterial infections in their bladder or urethra. More rarely, UTIs can be caused by fungal infections. Other causes of cat UTIs include:
- A suppressed immune system in cats with other concurrent illnesses, like diabetes, Cushings syndrome, or cancer
- Loss of urethral tone, ectopic ureters, or conditions where the bladder fails to completely empty
- Recent placement of a urinary catheter for any reason
Signs & Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infection In Cats
To catch a UTI early enough to prevent it from developing into a more serious health condition, its important to be aware of the signs and symptoms. Unlike human urinary tract infections, feline UTIs can be asymptomatic, so the infection may be discovered as a result of another medical issue.
If any of the following signs present themselves, contact your vet immediately:
Difficult / painful urination: If your cat cries out while urinating, or very little urine passes, a UTI may be the cause.
Incontinence: A UTI can cause temporary lack of bladder control.
Blood in the urine
Urinary blockage: This life-threatening condition occurs almost exclusively in males. If you see your cat anxiously going in and out of the litter box without producing much urine, call your veterinarian immediately .
Urinating outside the litter box: In some cases, a cat will urinate in other locations around the house.
Overly thirsty: If your cat begins drinking an excessive amount of water, its cause for concern.
Lethargy or listlessness
Excessive licking at the urethra and abdomen
Cat Food/diet Related To Urinary Tract Infections
If your cat develops recurrent urinary tract infections or if he or she is also diagnosed with bladder stones or crystals, your veterinarian might recommend a diet change and increasing how much water your cat drinks.
Cat food for urinary health addresses the issue in several ways.
There are no diets that treat or prevent urinary tract infections, but your veterinarian may recommend a diet aimed at urinary health based on other findings on the urinalysis. Therapeutic urinary diets are limited in certain minerals to prevent the development of stones and crystals. These diets also address urinary tract health by adjusting your cats urinary pH to help prevent or reverse crystal and stone formation.
The right diet depends on which type of urinary tract disease your cat has.
While they can also help to prevent episodes of bladder inflammation, most diets focus on bladder stones and crystals.
The most common types of bladder stones and crystals found in cats are calcium oxalate and struvite. These crystals can be identified by their shape when viewed under a microscope. The type of bladder stones present can only be identified by sending it to a diagnostic lab after removal.
Luckily, many diets are now formulated to prevent both struvite and calcium oxalate crystals, so its much easier than it used to be to treat appropriately. If bladder stones are present, they will usually have to be removed surgically to prevent a blockage, chronic infections, or discomfort..
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Signs Of Utis In Cats
- Straining to urinate
- Urinating outside of the litter box
- Licking at the urethra
- Increased frequency of urination
Cats that have urinary tract infections are likely to be uncomfortable when they urinate. This discomfort or pain may sometimes cause them to cry or vocalize when they urinate. Straining to urinate and urinating small amounts frequently is also commonly seen.
A cat with a urinary tract infection may also lick at its genitals in an attempt to ease the discomfort and will also often urinate outside of the box. This may occur on the floor right beside the litter box or in other places such as the bathtub or carpet.
Some cats with urinary tract infections will also have blood in their urine and this may be seen in the litter box or on the floor, but can be hard to see in clumping litter.
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Symptoms Of Feline Urinary Tract Disease In Cats
If your cat has FLUTD or a cat urinary tract infection you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Drinking more water than usual
- Loss of bladder control
- Strong ammonia odor in urine
- Avoidance or fear of litter box
- Hard or distended abdomen
- Excessive licking of genital area
- Cloudy or bloody urine
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Preventing Urinary Tract Infections In Cats
Your vet may recommend a diet that helps not only with healing but prevents recurrence as well. Certain stone-dissolving foods can help prevent crystals from forming in your cats urinary tract. There are also commercial foods that promote urinary tract health. Consult your vet on what type of food is right for your cat.
Feeding your cat a canned-food diet or mixing wet food with dry kibble helps provide additional hydration.
Because anxiety may play a part in urinary tract disease, its important to keep your cats stress level as low as possible. Cats do not like change, no matter how subtle it may be, so try to keep changes to your cats routine and/or environment to a minimum.
Why Is It Important To Understand Feline Urinary Tract Disease
It is important to understand the symptoms and treatment of feline urinary tract diseases in order to prevent unnecessary suffering and health complications because it is extremely challenging to treat UTIs in cats due to their anatomy and activities.
If left untreated, the result of urinary tract diseases can be painful urination and severe infection which can be life-threatening.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Problems In Cats
The lower urinary tract includes the bladder and urethra. Urine is formed and stored in the bladder until it flows out of your cat’s body through the urethra.
When those body parts get infected or obstructed, your cat won’t be able to urinate normally. You might notice some of the following symptoms when your cat has a UTI or other urinary tract problem:
- Frequent urination, but only passing a small amount of urine
- Urinating outside the litter box
- Blood in the urine
- Crying out in pain while urinating
- Increased licking of urinary opening
If you notice these symptoms, you should call your vet right away to discuss them. This could be a sign that your cat needs immediate medical attention.
Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infection In Cats
When diagnosing a UTI, your veterinarian will begin by taking a complete medical history. The vet may ask about changes in your cats water consumption, frequency of urination, amount of urination, how the urine looks, and any behavioral changes. Your vet will also perform a physical examination to assess the bladder and kidneys, as well as the genitalia and sometimes the rectum. If there is trouble with urination, a neurological exam may be conducted.
Your cats urine and blood will also be tested. Urinalysis is one of the most important and useful tests for diagnosing a UTI. It will look for the presence of certain chemicals or substances in the urine, like sugar, ketones, bilirubin, blood, and protein. A urinalysis is best conducted on a fresh urine sample to prevent inaccurate results.
Based on the findings, additional testing may need to be conducted. In particular, a urine culture may be performed to confirm the presence of an infection and to determine what type of bacteria are involved. Since it often takes 3 to 5 days to obtain final culture results, your veterinarian will likely start your cat on broad-spectrum antibiotics in the interim. The typical duration of antibiotic therapy is 7 to 14 days.
Antimicrobial Treatment Of Subclinical Bacteriuria
Currently, the clinical relevance of subclinical bacteriuria is uncertain, and its optimal treatment requires clarification.12 In healthy women, and in women and men with comorbidities, asymptomatic bacteriuria is common.92 Several randomised clinical trials and meta-analyses with high numbers of patients have shown that antimicrobial treatment does not benefit asymptomatic individuals but is instead associated with negative effects, such as adverse drug reactions and increased antimicrobial resistance.9395 Therefore, guidelines for antimicrobial use in human medicine contain strong recommendations against screening for and treating asymptomatic bacteriuria. In one study of older cats, subclinical bacteriuria was not adversely associated with survival despite withholding antimicrobial treatment.31
What Causes Feline Urinary Tract Disease
FLUTD is a complex condition to diagnose and treat since there are multiple causes and contributing factors that could be at play. Stones, crystals, or debris can gradually build up in your kitty’s urethra or bladder.
Other potential causes of lower urinary tract issues in cats include:
- Incontinence due to excessive water consumption or weak bladder
- Spinal cord problems
- Urethral plug caused by the accumulation of debris from urine
- Bladder infection, inflammation, urinary tract infection
- Injury or tumor in the urinary tract
- Congenital abnormalities
- Emotional or environmental stressors
Urinary tract disease in cats is typically diagnosed in overweight, middle-aged cats who have little to no access to outdoors, eat a dry diet, or do not get enough physical activity – through cats of any age can get the condition. Male cats are also more prone to urinary diseases since their narrower urethras are more likely to become blocked.
Other factors such as using an indoor litter box, emotional or environmental stress, multi-cat households, or sudden changes to their everyday routine can also leave cats more vulnerable to urinary tract disease.
If your cat is suffering from FLUTD it is essential to determine the underlying cause. FLUTD symptoms can be caused by a number of serious conditions such as bladder stones or infection to cancer or a blockage.
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Causes Of Urinary Tract Infections In Cats
Both sudden and chronic urinary tract infections are caused by bacterial infections. The bacteria involved in UTIs usually come from either the gastrointestinal tract or lower down the urinary/reproductive tract. If your cat is older or has other medical conditions, they are more likely to develop bacterial urinary tract problems.
The Experts Guide To Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease Diet
Feline lower urinary tract disease is a common disease in cats, affecting upwards of 60% of the feline population.
Thats why most vets recommend urinary tract food for cats who have a urinary tract infection.
There are so many diets to choose from and most pet parents dont even realize they have a choice.
They just grab a bag of food at the pet store, hand it over to their cat, and not give it another thought until it is time to buy more cat food.
However, the situation is not that simple. Just like we have different human nutritional needs, so too do our pets.
This can be especially true if your cat has a feline lower urinary tract disease .
In this article, Ill discuss some of the best foods to feed your cat if they are suffering from a feline urinary tract infection.
There are an awful lot of cat food brands and types available nowadays, but theres a pound of research backing up the ones were going to mention.
Ill walk you through the most common feline urinary diets.
Any medical condition that affects any of the above organs are usually classified as FLUTD.
Common conditions include:
2. Urinary stones
It involves symptoms such as painful irritation of the urinary bladder to chronic dangerous conditions that require urgent attention.
Because cats with FLUTD experience painful irritation while using the litter box, they associate the pain with using the litter box and abandon the box eventually.
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When To Contact Your Vet
Contact your vet as soon as you notice a change in your cats peeing habits, and if possible, take a urine sample to the appointment. Check out our video below on how to take a urine sample from your cat.
Without treatment, a UTI can lead to serious illness. blocked bladder, which is a life threatening condition.
Treatment given for a UTI depends on its cause, but is likely to include:
- Pain relief. Anti-inflammatory pain relief is excellent at soothing bladder pain and inflammation.
- Bladder supplements. Bladder supplements are designed to soothe the lining of the bladder, although, there is no solid evidence to prove that they work.
- Antibiotics. A short course of antibiotics is usually an effective cure for a UTI. Its very important to follow your vets instructions and complete the full course. If you stop your cats antibiotics early, it could mean some of the remaining strongest remaining bacteria survive and a more severe infection will develop.
Signs And Diagnosis Of Male Cat Urinary Blockage
The most common sign of what veterinarians call a âblocked catâ is going to the litter box to urinate, getting into position and having nothing come out. Your cat may also seem uncomfortable or yowl when trying to urinate. If the blockage continues, your cat will develop an electrolyte imbalance, which can result in a depressed or altered mental state, vomiting and a slow heart rate. They may also hide or avoid human contact.
The veterinarian will diagnose your cat based on their medical history, a physical examination, blood and urine tests and, possibly, an abdominal X-ray or ultrasound. If they suspect that your cat has a bladder infection, the vet may submit a urine sample for culture.
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What To Do If You Suspect A Flutd
If your cat is having trouble urinating and displaying other signs of FLUTD, take her to the vet as soon as possible. Your vet will give her a physical exam and collect urine samples. Blood work, x-rays, and abdominal ultrasound may also be recommended for diagnosis.
Most cases of FLUTD improve without medical treatment, but the symptoms can recur. Though they may not be life-threatening to your cat, they can be uncomfortable, so treatment can improve her overall quality of life. While treatment of FLUTD depends on the underlying cause, it is always beneficial to increase your cats water intake. Maintaining a healthy weight, feeding her canned food and encouraging her to use her litter box can also help. However, certain conditions simply cannot be treated at home. Bacterial cystitis should be treated with antibiotics, while stones must be surgically removed.
Its always best to be safe. A simple phone call to your vet when you first notice any of the above symptoms can help diagnose a problem much sooner and save your cat a longer period of discomfort. Its also important to monitor your cat after being diagnosed with FLUTD during treatment to ensure that the problem doesnt reoccur as cats are good at hiding their pain.
Frequent Trips To The Litter Box
If youve ever experienced a UTI yourself, you can imagine how it can make a cat feel.
When a cat has a urinary tract infection, they will visit the litter box a lot more often than usual. Its because the urinary tract disease is causing inflammation that makes it feel like they constantly have to go to the bathroom.
They have the urge to go often, but that doesnt mean theyll release urine every time. If your cat is trying to pee often but doesnt always leave a wet mark in the litter, it could be a UTI.
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What Are Urinary Tract Infections
Sometimes, urinary tract conditions can be associated with other diseases, including chronic kidney disease and hyperthyroidism. However, in many cases, there doesnt seem to be an underlying cause at all in this case, the technical diagnosis would be feline idiopathic cystitis .
Feline lower urinary tract disease, or FLUTD, is the umbrella term for urinary tract conditions in cats. A feline urinary tract infection is typically characterized by painful and difficult urination. Urinary tract infections in cats can range from mild to fatal, so it is important that you consult a vet right away if you suspect your cat is suffering from a UTI.
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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.
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Reducing Stress For Your Pet
Reducing stress for your pet can help prevent urinary tract infections from coming back or developing into a more serious condition.
Try these tips for reducing stress for your cat:
- Spend more time together.
- Give your feline friend access to windows or more toys.
- Regularly clean litter boxes or increase the number of available litter boxes.
Catching a urinary tract infection early can help ease the stress and discomfort for both you and your cat. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, please contact us.
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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