Urinary Tract Infection, commonly called a UTI is one of the most common illnesses that we see in our clinic. It can also be called FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease) so if you see either term they are interchangeable. Common causes of UTIs include crystals (we will get to that later), or stones in the bladder, bladder infections, urethral obstruction, inflammation in the urinary bladder, and other abnormalities in the urinary tract.
Common symptoms of a UTI you want to look out for in your cat:
1. Difficult urination
2. Painful urination
3. Blood in the urine
4. Frequent trips to the litterbox / frequent squatting
5. Smaller volume of urine / more spots in litterbox
6. Inability to urinate
7. Vocalization while urinating
Once diagnosed by your veterinarian, the treatment of a UTI depends heavily on the cause.
It can be as simple as a course of antibiotics, or may require surgery if there are bladder stones or a urethral blockage, or can require a life long change of diet if there is evidence of urinary stones.
With male cats, intact or neutered, any urinary changes can be more dangerous since males are more likely to become blocked. This means that their urethra becomes blocked, usually by a urinary stone, and they no longer have the ability to urinate on their own. This can quickly become a life threatening situation as their bladder can continue to fill & may rupture if filled beyond capacity. Females also have the ability to become blocked due to urinary stones, but due to the larger diameter of the female cat urethra, it is less common in veterinary medicine.
If you see any of the signs mentioned above, we strongly encourage you to seek veterinary care
One of the causes of a UTI or FLUTD mentioned above is urinary crystals. Crystals can form in the urinary bladder due to a change in the pH balance in the urinary bladder due to diet but can also be a result of stress, a new environment, liver or kidney disease, or ingestion of poisonous substances like antifreeze. The three most common urinary crystals that form in cats are struvite, oxalate, & urate crystals.
Please keep in mind, these are only 3 of the most common urinary crystals that are found in cats, so if crystals do present in your cat's urinalysis, your veterinary staff will discuss the diagnosis, treatment, & prognosis with you. The main reason crystals need to be addressed quickly in the urine once diagnosed is that create urinary stones in the bladder if not treated, which then requires surgery to remove those stones.
These articles are not meant for self diagnosis. If you are concerned about your pet's health, or have further questions, please contact our clinic to discuss questions with our staff and we can make an appointment for you if necessary.
This article concludes our Cat Health month on the Blog. Stay tuned next month for Poison Prevention Awareness. Articles as always will be up every Monday. Don't forget to stay in touch through our website & also on our Facebook page. Click the Facebook icon to be directed to our page.