What is Feline Urinary Tract Disease?
Feline lower urinary tract disease, commonly referred to as FLUTD, does not describe only one condition but rather a plethora of conditions. Causes include cystitis, urinary stones and/or urethral obstruction.
Are There Any Breeds Particularly Affected?
No, there are no breeds particularly affected. Any cat breed can develop feline lower urinary tract disease.
Symptoms of feline lower urinary tract disease include the following:
- Straining and/or crying while urinating
- Frequent urination
- Excessive licking of genital area
- Blood in the urine
- Not using the litterbox
Causes of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
As mentioned, there are multiple potential causes of feline lower urinary tract disease including the following:
- Feline Idiopathic Cystitis: This is the most common cause of feline lower urinary tract disease. Cats with FIC attempt to urinate frequently due to bladder pain and often have blood in their urine.
- Urinary Stones: Urinary stones are rock-like formations within the urinary tract of a cat.
- Urethral Obstruction: This is the most serious cause of feline lower urinary tract disease. If your cat has a urethral obstruction, this means the urethra is partially blocked which may be life-threatening if not treated immediately. Male cats are at greater risk of developing a urethral obstruction.
The treatment varies based upon the cause of the disease. The treatment for each is as follows:
- Feline Idiopathic Cystitis: Symptoms of feline lower urinary tract disease generally resolve on their own after several weeks without treatment. If this is the cause, your veterinarian may recommend your cat be placed on a urinary tract health diet.
- Urinary Stones: In order to determine if your cat has urinary stones, X-rays and ultrasounds are generally conducted. The treatment of the urinary stones, if found, depends upon the severity of the stones. Surgical removal is often required.
- Urethral Obstruction: A urethral obstruction must be considered an emergency situation as this is life-threatening. If the urethra becomes fully blocked, the kidneys are no longer able to function. Death may occur within 24-48 hours so the need for immediate treatment is critical. Treatment generally involves catheterization and the administration of IV fluids. Dependent upon the severity of the obstruction and your cat’s reaction, the hospital stay can range from several days to several weeks.