Cats can be affected by various urinary tract conditions that can lead to discomfort and other concerns. Today, our Wisconsin Dells vets discuss the causes, signs, and treatment of urinary tract infections in cats.
Cat Urinary Tract Infection
Cats often encounter Urinary tract issues, but feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is usually the cause rather than a genuine urinary tract infection. However, cats with UTIs frequently have an endocrine disease like hyperthyroidism or diabetes.
Furthermore, cats over the age of 10 are more likely to develop UTIs. The most common symptoms of UTIs in cats are straining to urinate, less urine production, no urination, painful or uncomfortable urination, urine that is tinged with blood, and urinating outside of the litter box.
If your cat displays any of these symptoms, it may be a sign of UTI or FLUTD, and it is critical to seek veterinary care for your beloved feline.
Feline Urinary Tract Disease - FLUTD
Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a broad term used to describe various clinical symptoms that can affect your cat's bladder and urethra. If left untreated, FLUTD can cause blockages in the urethra or hinder proper bladder emptying, posing serious or life-threatening risks.
Urinating can be difficult, painful, or impossible for cats suffering from FLUTD. They may also urinate more frequently or in inappropriate areas outside their litter box (occasionally on surfaces that are cool to the touch, such as a tile floor or bathtub).
Causes of Urinary Tract Disease in Cats
Diagnosing and treating FLUTD can be challenging due to the various causes and contributing factors involved in this complex condition. Your cat's urethra, which connects the bladder to the outside of the body, can accumulate crystals, stones, or debris over time, leading to potential blockages.
There are several other common causes of lower urinary tract problems in cats, such as:
- 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 (UTI)
- Injury or tumor in the urinary tract
- Congenital abnormalities
- Emotional or environmental stressors
Urinary tract disease in cats is most often diagnosed in overweight, middle-aged cats who have little to no access to the outdoors, eat a dry food diet, or do not get enough physical activity. However, cats of any age can suffer from FLUTD. Male cats are also more prone to urinary diseases since they have a narrower urethra that is more likely to become blocked.
If your kitty is diagnosed with FLUTD, it is essential to determine the underlying cause. A range of serious underlying health issues from bladder stones or infection to cancer or a blockage, can cause FLUTD symptoms.
If your vet is unable to determine the cause of your cat's FLUTD, your kitty may be diagnosed with a urinary tract infection called cystitis, which is inflammation of the bladder. If this is the case, your vet will prescribe your cat an antibiotic to help fight off the UTI.
Signs of a Feline Urinary Tract Infection
If your cat has FLUTD or a cat urinary tract infection, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Inability to urinate
- Loss of bladder control
- Urinating small amounts
- Urinating more than usual or in inappropriate settings
- Avoidance or fear of litter box
- Strong ammonia odor in urine
- Hard or distended abdomen
- Cloudy or bloody urine
- Drinking more water than usual
- Excessive licking of the genital area
It is of utmost importance to address any bladder or urinary issues in your cat as soon as possible. Ignoring the condition could result in a completely blocked urethra, which can lead to an emergency where your cat cannot urinate at all. Such a situation could cause kidney failure or a ruptured bladder, and FLUTD can become fatal quickly if there is an obstruction that is not removed promptly.
Diagnosis of Feline Urinary Tract Disease
Urinary tract infections in cats require veterinary care, as do cats suffering from FLUTD. If your cat is showing any of the symptoms above, it's time to visit the vet. If your cat is straining to urinate or crying out in pain, contact your vet or the nearest emergency vet as soon as possible - your cat may be experiencing a veterinary emergency.
Your vet will perform a complete physical exam to help assess your cat's symptoms and perform a urinalysis to get further insight into your kitty's condition. They may also do additional diagnostic testing, such as an X-ray or bloodwork, to help them diagnose your cat's condition.
Cat Urinary Tract Infection Recovery
Urinary issues in cats can be complex and serious, so the first step should be to make an appointment with your veterinarian for immediate care. The underlying cause of your cat's urinary symptoms will dictate which treatment is prescribed, but may include:
- Increasing your kitty's water consumption
- Antibiotics or medication to relieve symptoms
- Modified diet
- Expelling of small stones through the urethra
- Urinary acidifiers
- Fluid therapy
- Urinary catheter or surgery for male cats to remove urethral blocks
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.