What is cat urinary tract disease?
Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a common term used to describe several possible conditions or diseases that affect your pet’s bladder or urethra. FLUTD can be caused by:
- Stones or debris that accumulate in the bladder or urethra,
- Urethral plug,
- Infection or inflammation of the bladder,
- Incontinence provoked by excessive water drinking or weak bladder,
- Injury of the urinary tract, tumor or cancer,
- Stress and anxiety,
- Spinal cord problems,
- Congenital abnormality
Signs that there is a problem
Urinary tract problems are quite common in cats. Because of them, a cat has trouble emptying the bladder and sometimes they can cause a fatal blockage of the urethra. Cat owners tend to be very familiar with their pets’ bathroom habits. Cleaning the box isn’t anyone’s favorite activity but it can be an excellent way to track your pet’s urinary tract health. If your cat’s bathroom habits change, it might be a sign that they have a urinary tract problem. For example, your furry friend may stop using the litter box.
To see that something is wrong with your feline friend, you have to pay attention to its behavior. Most probably the cat will change its urinating routine or will give more obvious signs. It may experience:
- Inability or reduced ability to urinate, loss of bladder control, dribbling urine. It may lead to an increased frequency of urination or visits to the litter box,
- Bloody or cloudy urine, sometimes constant leaking from the urinary opening,
- Crying out in pain when trying to pass urine, vomiting,
- Prolonged squatting in a litter box,
- Avoidance of the litter box, urinating in inappropriate places,
- A strong odor of ammonia in urine,
- Increased water consumption,
- Hard, distended abdomen,
- Some cats with FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease) also tend to lick themselves excessively.
As problems caused by FLUTD are so diverse and may be serious, it is better to get immediate veterinary help in case of any of these symptoms. The treatment recommendations will depend on the diagnosis.
What is urinary blockage
Urinary blockage or Urethral Obstruction (UO) is unfortunately one of the most common FLUTD problems in cats. It is a life-threatening condition that prevents an animal from being able to urinate. It may occur in any cat, however young and middle-aged male cats are at risk. Male cats are more vulnerable because their urethra is longer and narrower than that of females. Obese cats and the ones that consume more dry food have more risk to get UO as well.
The complete obstruction may force the urine to back up. It may cause damage to the lower urinary tract and lead to kidney failure. Because of accumulated toxins in the bloodstream, it may lead to fatal consequences. The deterioration of the condition of cats may happen over a short period of time. That is why it is important to observe animal behavior and recognize such disorders early. The first symptoms are very common and similar to FLUTD. They may lead the owner to think that the situation is not urgent.
The difference with other FLUTD is that the cat may get worse in the next 24 hours. Cats will begin to show other signs of illness like vomiting, lethargy, dull mentation, or inability to stand up. Such pets have to receive medical help urgently. Because of the seriousness of blockage and its fast progression, it is better to take to veterinarian any cat that is straining in the litterbox.
What are treatment options for flutd
It may be antibiotics or other types of medications, expelling small stones through the urethra, or surgery to remove bladder stones. In lighter cases, the specialist may recommend giving the cat more water or fluids and introducing dietary changes.
In the case of UO the cat is at a higher risk and first of all, needs to be stabilized with intravenous fluids and, in some cases, may also need additional medications to help correct life-threatening electrolyte imbalances. To relieve the blockage normally the urinary catheter is placed. In some cases, it is not enough and perineal urethrostomy (PU) surgery may be needed to widen the outflow tract of the cat more permanently.
Such cats stay at the clinics for 24-72 hours and are monitored by veterinarians. It is important to understand the underlying problems of the blockage and get adequate treatment of the main issue. For example, if an inflammation caused the UO, a specific medication is prescribed.
RANKEL Smart Vet Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) device may accelerate the treatment process along with medication or other methods. It is an LLLT device designed to be applied in veterinary practice. The following pulsed radiations & laser lights of different wavelength with continuous magnetic field are applied to achieve desired results:
– pulsed infrared radiation
– pulsed infrared laser radiation
– pulsed visible red light
– pulsed visible blue light
– continuous magnetic field
It is easy to apply and may be used at home.