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Urinary Problems & Infections in Cats

Urinary Problems & Infections in Cats

While having the ability to affect cats of all ages, urinary issues more frequently affect cats as they get older. Our internal medicine vets in Thornton offer some information about urinary problems in cats and what to expect if your cat suffers from UTIs or FLUTD.

Urinary Issues in Cats

Cats are commonly affected by various urinary concerns. Did you know that these are usually caused by urinary tract diseases and not infections?

Even so, cats that are suffering from another condition or disease affecting their endocrine systems like diabetes mellitus or hyperthyroidism or older cats, especially those over 10, may experience urinary tract infections.

The most common course of action for cat's that are suffering from a UTI (urinary tract infection) is medications prescribed after a visit to their veterinary internist in Thornton.

The most commonly observed symptoms of urinary tract infections in cats include straining to urinate, not urinating at all, a reduced amount of urine, passing during tinged in blood, experiencing pain or discomfort while urinating and urinating outside of their litter box.

If your cat is showing any of the symptoms listed above, they may be suffering from a UTI but these symptoms could also be an indication of a feline lower urinary tract disease or FLUTD. 

What is FLUTD in cats?

FLUTD stands for feline lower urinary tract disease. This condition covers a number of clinical symptoms affecting a cat's urinary tract. FLUTD is capable of causing a number of issues in your cat's bladder and urethra, often leading to the urethra becoming obstructed and stopping your cat from properly emptying their bowels. If your cat experiences this condition they will need to be seen by a veterinary internal medicine specialist as soon as possible. If left untreated, this condition can be deadly.

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).

What are the typical causes of feline urinary tract disease

FLUTD is a complex condition to diagnose and treat since there are a number of causes and contributing factors to this disease. With this disease, crystals and stones build up through the urethra of your cat and into the bladder.

Some other causes that have been identified by our internal medicine veterinarians in Thornton are:

  • Spinal cord issues
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Injury or tumor in the urinary tract
  • Emotional or environmental stressors
  • Incontinence due to excessive water consumption or weak bladder
  • Urethral plug caused by the accumulation of debris from urine
  • Bladder infection, inflammation, urinary tract infection (UTI)

Urinary tract disease in cats is most often diagnosed in overweight, middle-aged cats who have little to no access to outdoors, eat a dry food diet or do not get enough physical activity, 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, environment or emotional distress, multicast households and sudden changes to your kitty's everyday routines can also leave your cat 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 or infection to cancer or a blockage.

If your vet can't determine the cause of your cat's FLUTD, your kitty may be diagnosed with a urinary tract infection like cystitis which is an inflammation of the bladder.

What are the symptoms of FLUTD that my cat may experience?

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
  • Urinating small amounts
  • Strong ammonia odor in urine
  • Avoidance or fear of litter box
  • Hard or distended abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive licking of the genital area
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Inability to urinate
  • Lethargy
  • Urinating more than usual or in inappropriate settings

It’s critical that any bladder or urinary issues be treated as early as possible. Delays in treatment could lead to your cat's urethra becoming partially or completely obstructed, which can prevent your feline friend from urinating.

The symptoms listed above indicate a serious medical issue that may quickly lead to kidney failure or the rupture of the bladder. FLUTD can be fatal if there is an obstruction that isn't eliminated immediately.

How are feline urinary conditions diagnosed?

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 for a veterinary internal medicine appointment. If your cat is straining to urinate or crying out in pain contact your internal medicine vet in Thornton, or the nearest emergency vet as soon as possible - your cat may be experiencing a veterinary emergency.

Your vet will conduct a complete physical exam in order to help assess your cat's symptoms and perform a urinalysis in order to gain further insight into your cat's condition. Radiographs, blood work and a urine culture may also need to be done. 

What can I expect during my cat's recovery from FLUTD or UTIs?

Urinary health issues in our feline friends can be both complex and serious, so the first step in your cat's care should be making an appointment with your vet. The underlying cause of your cat's urinary symptoms will dictate what treatment is prescribed but may include:

  • Fluid therapy
  • Modified diet
  • Increasing your kitty's water consumption
  • Urinary acidifiers
  • Expelling of small stones through the urethra
  • Antibiotics or medication to relieve symptoms
  • 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.

Are you concerned that your cat may have FLUTD or a UTI? Contact our internal medicine vets in Thornton today to book an examination for your cat.

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