PROBLEMS with urination are one of the more common reasons we see cats brought into the clinic.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a collection of conditions which show up with the same set of symptoms:
Blood in the urine Straining to pass urination Painful urination Urinating small amounts frequently Urinating in odd places If these symptoms occurred in a human (or a dog), we would be highly suspicious of a urinary tract infection. However, things are rarely so simple in cats.
In cats, these symptoms may be due to:
Feline idiopathic cystitis - 50 -60 per cent of cases
Bladder stories - about 20 percent of cases
Urethal blockage ( a poten-tially life threatening condition seen in male cats) – about 20 per cent of cases
Urinary tract infection - only 1-5 per cent of cases, although infection is more common in elderly cats
Cancer of the urinary tract - 1-5 per cent of cases
Trauma to urinary tract ( eg hit by car ) – 1-5 per cent of cases
Testing of the urine and sometimes x-rays or ultrasound may be used to work out which category a patient falls into.
Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), the most common diagnosis, is inflammation of the lining of the bladder due to an unknown cause. There appears to be a strong link between FIC and stress/anxiety. Cats who are overweight or confined exclusively indoors also seem to be more prone.
Treatment for FIC is generally limited to providing pain relief while waiting for the episode to pass (generally 3-5 days) and attempting to increase the cat’s water intake.
This can be easier said than done, and involves placing multiple water bowls all around the home, and changing food from dry to wet.
There are also prescription diets available which may help to decrease the incidence of FIC. Taking steps to decrease anxiety in cats is also be very helpful in reducing recurrence.
Signs of urinary tract disease in male cats should always be taken especially seriously, as they have a much thinner urethra which is prone to becoming blocked when there is inflammation of the urinary tract.