While there are a number of conditions that could interfere with your cat's ability to urinate some of the most common include UTIs and FLUTD. Here, our Oceanside vets offer some information about the dangers of urinary tract infections in cats, the signs to watch for and what can be done to help treat your feline friend.
Veterinary Internal Medicine: Cat UTIs
While UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) are a potential concern for cats, your feline friend is more likely to experience other conditions such as Urinary Tract Disease.
If your cat does experience a UTI the underlying cause may be an endocrine disease such as hyperthyroidism or diabetes mellitus. Another factor that makes UTIs more likely is if your cat is over the age of 10 years old.
If you notice that your cat is showing concerning symptoms and seemingly in pain or discomfort when attempting to urinate you should bring them to your nearest internal medicine vet for a diagnosis.
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.
Feline Urinary Tract Disease - FLUTD
FLUTD, Feline lower urinary tract disease covers a broad spectrum of conditions affecting your cat's urinary system. FLUTD can cause issues in your cat’s urethra and bladder, often leading the urethra to become obstructed, or preventing your cat's bladder from emptying properly. If your cat is displaying symptoms associated with FLUTD you should bring them to your nearest internal medicine veterinarian in Oceanside.
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 causes urinary tract infections in cats?
FLUTD is a complex condition to diagnose and treat since there are multiple causes and contributing factors to this disease. Crystals, stones or debris can gradually build up in your cat's urethra - the tube connecting the bladder to the outside of your cat’s body - or bladder.
Some of the other signs of urinary tract infections can include:
- Incontinence due to excessive water consumption or weak bladder
- Spinal cord issues
- Urethral plug caused by the accumulation of debris from urine
- Bladder infection, inflammation, urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Injury or tumor in the urinary tract
- Congenital abnormalities
- Emotional or environmental stressors
While cats of any age can be affected by urinary tract infections, it is most prevalent in cats that are middle-aged, don't get any outdoor exercise and eat a dry food diet. Male cats are also more prone to urinary diseases since their narrower urethras are more likely to become blocked.
If you expose your cat to any sudden life changes such as moving or new people it can also cause them issues when it comes to using the litterbox which may also lead to UTIs.
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 is unable to determine the cause of your cat's FLUTD, your kitty may be diagnosed with a urinary tract infection called cystitis which is inflammation of the bladder.
How do I know if my cat has a urinary tract infection?
The most commonly seen signs of UTIs or FLUTD in cats include:
- Inability to urinate
- Loss of bladder control
- Urinating small amounts
- Urinating more than usual or in inappropriate settings
- Avoidance or fear of litter box
- Strong ammonia odor in urine
- Hard or distended abdomen
- Cloudy or bloody urine
- Drinking more water than usual
- Excessive licking of the genital area
If you do not bring your cat to an internal medicine vet in Oceanside they could refrain from urinating which will lead to their condition worsening.
The symptoms above indicate a serious medical issue that could quickly lead to kidney failure or rupture of the bladder. FLUTD can quickly be fatal if there is an obstruction that is not eliminated immediately.
Diagnosis of Feline Urinary Tract Disease
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. If your cat is straining to urinate or crying out in pain contact your vet, or the nearest emergency vet as soon as possible - your cat may be experiencing a veterinary emergency.
Your vet will perform a complete physical exam to help assess your cat's symptoms and perform a urinalysis to get further insight into your kitty's condition. Radiographs, blood work and a urine culture may also need to be done.
What can you give a cat for a urinary tract infection?
Urinary issues in cats can be complex and serious, so the first step should be to make an appointment with your veterinarian for immediate vet internal medicine in Oceanside. While the treatment that your cat will need depends on the underlying cause of their UTI, some of the most commonly used options include:
- Increasing your kitty's water consumption
- Antibiotics or medication to relieve symptoms
- Modified diet
- Expelling of small stones through the urethra
- Urinary acidifiers
- Fluid therapy
- 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.