How Do Cats Get Urinary Tract Infections
Cats get urinary tract infections when bacteria winds up in their bladder, and a common source of bacteria is an unclean litter box.
Cats normally get UTIs from a dirty litter box, Dr. Bonk said. Bacteria on feces can travel up the urethra when a cat squats to urinate.
While both male and female cats can get UTIs, females are more prone to infection.
UTIs are more common in females than males due to the size of the urethra, Dr. Bonk said.
Certain chronic illnesses can make your cat more susceptible, too.
Cats with diabetes and those prone to urinary crystals and stones are more likely to develop UTIs, Dr. Bonk said.
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Causes Of Feline Urinary Tract Disease
Since there are multiple causes and contributing factors associated with FLUTD it can be a tricky condition to diagnose and treat. Crystals, stones or debris can gradually build up in your cat’s urethra – the tube connecting the bladder to the outside of your cats body – or bladder.
Other causes of lower urinary tract issues in cats include:
- Incontinence due to excessive water consumption or weak bladder
- Spinal cord issues
- 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
Overweight, middle-aged cats who have little to no access to outdoors, eat a dry food diet or do not get enough physical activity are more susceptible to urinary tract issues, although 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.
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 kitty is diagnosed with FLUTD it is essential to determine the underlying cause. FLUTD symptoms can be caused by serious underlying health issues such as bladder stones, infections, cancer or a blockage.
Antimicrobial Treatment Of Pyelonephritis
If pyelonephritis is suspected ,4), and empirical treatment is needed, antimicrobials with a good efficacy against Gram-negative bacteria are recommended. The treatment must be adjusted according to susceptibility test results. Evidence-based recommendations on treatment duration are lacking, and while treatment durations of 46 weeks previously were considered reasonable, shorter periods of treatment have been reported to be effective in humans,91 and the 2019 ISCAID guidelines recommend 1014 days in veterinary patients.12 Repeated cultures during the treatment period are no longer automatically warranted, but should be considered in cases of incomplete clinical response, while cultures 12 weeks post-treatment are recommended for all cases.12 As for recurrent/complicated cystitis, consideration must be given to the clinical relevance of possible positive cultures post-treatment. Differentiation between sub-clinical bacteriuria and persistent infections may be challenging and reasons for potential persistence must be thoroughly investigated.12
Severe necrosuppurative pyelonephritis. Haematoxylin and eosin stain of a histological section of the renal papilla of the same cat as in Figure 1, showing severe inflammation with multiple neutrophils and bacterial colonies bar = 50 m. Courtesy of Dr Monir Majzoub-Altweck, Institute of Veterinary Pathology, LMU Munich
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A Healthy Diet Goes A Long Way
Believe it or not, your cats diet can increase or decrease their risk for UTIs. Your vet may suggest that you feed your cat a diet with less minerals these minerals are often found in commercial dry cat food. Consider feeding your cat a canned diet instead of a dry diet. If they prefer dry food, make sure your vet approves the quality and try to mix in a little bit of wet food each day.
While your cat may watch you eat dinner, never feed your feline table scraps.
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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.
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Does My Cat Have A Urinary Tract Infection
While urinary tract problems are often seen in cats, your cat is more likely to suffer from a urinary tract disease than an infection.
That said, when urinary tract infections do affect cats it is typically in cats over 10 years of age who are suffering from an underlying endocrine disease such as hyperthyroidism or diabetes mellitus.
The most common symptoms of urinary tract infections in cats include straining to urinate, reduced amounts of urine, not urinating at all, pain or discomfort when urinating, passing urine tinged with blood and urinating around the house or outside of the litter box. Nonetheless, these very same symptoms can be an indication of a feline lower urinary tract disease or FLUTD.
Keeping The Litter Box Clean
Since the main cause of UTIs in cats is a dirty litter box, its crucial that you stay on top of keeping it clean to prevent the likelihood of infection.
Ideally, cat parents should be scooping their cats litter box daily and cleaning the box every two to three weeks.
If you cant always keep up with cleaning your cats litter box, a self-cleaning box might be the way to go.
We tried the Litter-Robot 3 Connect on our own cats and were instantly obsessed, so we awarded it our Paw of Approval.
Theres also PrettyLitter we also tried this ourselves and gave it our Paw of Approval which is litter that changes color based on your cats urinary health.
Basically, when your cat goes to the bathroom, her litter will turn a different color to indicate whether shes healthy, has an infection or is struggling with stones.
Now that you know what causes UTIs in cats, you can effectively prevent them and keep your BFF nice and healthy.
And if for some reason she still winds up with an infection, take your cat to the vet to get it cleared up ASAP, before it gets serious.
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How Are Cat Utis Diagnosed
If you suspect your feline friend might be suffering from a UTI, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible. While there, your vet will collect a urine sample, usually by inserting a needle into the bladder and removing urine with a syringe . Thankfully, this is a quick and relatively painless process, so it should be easy to keep even the fussiest cats calm during the procedure.
Urine is collected in order to test it, which is called a urinalysis. The veterinary staff will analyze your cats urine under a microscope, looking for blood, bacteria, inflammatory cells, crystals, or any other abnormalities. The urine will also be tested on a strip that can detect any inflammation, sugar, how concentrated the urine is, as well as several other parameters. These tests will often determine if your cat has a UTI or another urinary problem. In some cases, a urine culture and sensitivity, where urine is sent off to a laboratory to see if bacteria grow in it and if so, what antibiotics the bacteria are sensitive to, may be ordered. In other cases, x-rays , bloodwork, and abdominal ultrasound may be recommended.
Cat Urinary Tract Infections: Signs To Look Out For
Cat urinary tract infections can affect felines of any age or size. If your cat is peeing outside of their litter box such as less urine or no urine at all, or theyre straining to urinate it could be a sign that your cat is suffering from a urinary issue. Though sometimes harder to spot in kittens who are still litter training, changes in your cats bathroom habits are one of the biggest indicators something is wrong.
Lets dive into other signs of urinary tract infections in cats, why they happen, and how you can get your kitty feeling better in no time.
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Can A Uti Or Kidney Infection Cause Vaginal Bleeding
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Uti Infections In Cats
It’s not often that our Windsor vets see urinary tract infections in cats, but when we do it is typically in either senior cats or cats that are suffering from another urinary tract issue or disease. Today we look at the symptoms, causes, and treatments for urinary tract infections and diseases in cats.
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S To Prevent Urinary Tract Disease
Maintaining your cats urinary health is not an easy task. Urinary tract infections are one of the leading causes of feline death and they can happen to any cat. The following steps will help you prevent UTIs.
- Give Your Cat More Water
- Change Your Cats Diet
- Reduce Environmental Stress
- Use Advanced and Quality Litter Box
Causes Of Utis In Cats
UTIs are caused by bacteria in the bladder. Typically, bacteria enter the bladder through the cat’s urethra, which is the path urine takes from the bladder to exit the body. There is most often something amiss that prohibits the bodys natural defenses from being able to avoid and eliminate the bacteria. This may be stress, another illness, certain medications, abnormalities in their urinary tract anatomy or function, or an immune system disorder.
Once in the bladder, if the bacteria evade the cats natural defenses, they grow and reproduce to create more bacteria. This overgrowth of bacteria and the toxins they release affect the bladder wall, as well as the urethra, and results in pain and inflammation.
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Diagnosis Of Urinary Tract Infections In Cats
Your vet may collect a sample of your cats urine , called cystocentesis. This process will involve inserting a needle directly into the bladder to collect an uncontaminated sample of urine. In order to reach an accurate diagnosis, the urine must be free from contaminants found in the environment.
The urine may be sent to a lab to allow for cultures to grow. This way, the vet can see the specific type of bacteria present in your cats urine, which will aid with diagnosis and treatment.
The urinalysis will reveal the amount of blood present in the urine, as well as the urines pH balance, glucose, and protein levels. The vet will then analyze the urine using a microscope, looking for bacteria and uroliths, or stones in the urinary tract.
Your vet may perform an X-Ray on your cat in addition to the urine culture and urinalysis. Any crystals or stones in the bladder will show up on an X-Ray.
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.
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Reducing Other Risk Factors
Why Is Lysine So Important For Your Pet
Protect your pets immunity!
Have you noticed that your cat is coughing, sneezing, and having rapid breathing? Or maybe he/she has been scratching more than usual?
These are all signs of a weakened immune system. One way to prevent this from happening is by using lysine supplements.
Lysine plays a key role in your pets immunity because it helps to regulate the immune system.
Without enough lysine, your pets will be more susceptible to illness because their immune system cant fight off infections as efficiently.
When they are sick, they will also be less able to absorb nutrients and make use of other supplements that can help them feel better.
Give your pet the support they need. Our Lysine supplement provides essential amino acids to help support a strong immune system.
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Preventing Future Utis In Your Cat
Following your vet visit, you can make other changes to your cats life to decrease the likelihood for FLUTD to come back. Environmental recurrence has shown to reduce the recurrence rate by 80 percent, and can also help your cat use her litter box. This includes spending more time with your cat, giving her access to windows, and giving her more toys. You can also increase the number of litter boxes in your home and make sure theyre properly cleaned.
How Much Does It Cost To Treat Cat Utis
If your cat is diagnosed with a simple UTI, youll only have to cover the cost of the vet visit, laboratory tests, and the antibiotics which could be around $150-$200. However, if your cat has a complicated UTI that requires additional treatment, you might be looking at costs well into the thousands.
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Obsessive Licking Of Genitals
When your cat is in pain, they attempt to soothe themselves and make the pain go away. Licking is the best way they know how to do that.
All cats lick their genitals occasionally. But thats not a a sign of a urinary tract infection. The red flag comes up when a cat starts licking with an urgent obsession. Distractions wont last for long, and your cat might choose to lick themselves instead of play with their favorite toy.
Are There Home Remedies For Cat Urinary Tract Infections
Home remedies for cat urinary tract infections do exist, but these are more for treating symptoms and irritation, not the infection itself.
There are some home remedies to treat lower urinary tract irritation, but actual urinary tract infections typically require antibiotics, Dr. Bonk said.
Home remedies are super helpful but should be paired with antibiotics , since thats the only thing that will treat the infection.
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How Veterinarians Diagnose Urinary Tract Infections In Cats
To determine if your cat might have a UTI, your veterinarian will begin by examining your cat and asking you some questions.
During the thorough physical examination, your veterinarian may be looking for the following in your cat:
- Enlarged or small bladder
- Bladder and/or kidney pain
- Blood around their genitals
Your veterinarian might ask you some of the following questions. Give some thought to these questions in advance to make the most of your visit.
- How long has your cat been exhibiting these signs?
- Have you noticed any change in your cats appetite and/or thirst?
- How many litter boxes do you have available for your cat?
- How often do you scoop your cats litter boxes?
- What food does your cat eat?
To make their diagnosis, and depending on what they find on their examination and the answers you provide to their questions, your veterinarian might recommend any or all of the following tests:
Your veterinarian may ask you to bring a urine sample with you, but its more likely they will want to collect a fresh, sterile sample directly from your cats bladder at the visit. This is to ensure that a high-quality sample can be gathered. So, try not to let your cat pee for a few hours prior to their visit.
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
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