Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, also known as FLUTD, is a common cat health problem that can affect both male and female felines. In fact, FLUTD is responsible for sending a large handful of cats to the vet each year.
If you’re concerned your furry friend may have a lower urinary tract disease, it’s important to identify the symptoms, seek the right treatment and take the necessary precautions to prevent future occurrences.
Signs and Symptoms
Most cats with this disease will exhibit the following symptoms:
- Blood in the urine
- “Crying out” or whining while urinating
- Frequent urination
- Frequently licking the affected area
- Painful urination
- Urination outside the litter box (typically on cool surfaces, like tile)
What Causes Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease?
A wide variety of things may initially cause FLUTD. Infections, obstructions or even lifestyle changes may contribute to the disease. According to Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, three of the most common causes include Idiopathic Cystitis, Urolithiasis and Urethral Obstruction.
Idiopathic cystitis is a fancy way of saying all other tests came back clear, and there is no obvious cause of the urinary tract disease. Symptoms may include frequent urination and blood in the urine.
It is suggested that stress, in particular lifestyle and environmental changes, may contribute to the disease’s development. Bringing home a new pet, moving to a new home or changing kitty’s feeding habits are all sources of stress that can affect the urinary tract. Providing a safe environment for kitty, a comfortable litter box and mind stimulation toys, such as climbing posts and toys she can chase, may aid in keeping further FLUTDs from developing.
In short, urolithiasis refers to urinary stones. Males are typically more prone to developing urinary stones due to their anatomy, but it can occur in both male and female felines. Generally, X-rays or ultrasounds are used to locate and diagnose the stones.
There are two different types of stones: struvite and calcium oxalate. Depending on which one your cat has, different types of treatment are used. In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe a diet specifically designed to dissolve the stones. In other cases, surgery is required, or vets may flush the bladder to help remove the stones.
Of all the diagnoses, this is the most dangerous. In this instance, the urethra is partially or completely blocked, and kitty is unable to pass any urine. Therefore, the kidneys are unable to efficiently get rid of toxins in the body. This requires immediate medical attention, and kitty should be taken to the vet as soon as possible, as obstruction may result in death.
Similarly, males are more prone to this type of disease than female cats. You may notice kitty trying to frequently urinate with nothing coming out. If she starts whining or crying out while trying to relieve herself, there is no time to waste; she should be taken to the vet right away.
A catheter and antibiotics, along with hospitalization and a replacement of lost fluids, are used to treat urethral obstructions.
What Can You Do?
First and foremost, it is important to seek immediate professional, veterinary attention. Once the FLUTD has been taken care of, there are things you can do at home to promote healthy living:
- Feed kitty regularly, and provide small meals
- Always have fresh water available
- Keep litter boxes in a safe, quiet location
- Make sure to have one more litter box than the number of cats in your house
- Keep a regular routine to reduce stress
Taking small steps at home can make a big difference in the long run. However, if you suspect something is wrong with kitty’s health, it is always best to get it checked out by her veterinarian.
Thanks for stopping by! We’re glad you’re here. We hope you found helpful information about FLUTD. We’d love to hear from you! Has your kitten ever suffered from Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease? What did you do to help and keep it from recurring?