Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Urine produced in a healthy urinary tract contains a great deal of dissolved minerals. In cats with feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), mineral crystals collect in the urinary tract, especially the bladder and its outflow tract (urethra). The accumulating crystals irritate the lining of the urinary tract and may clump together to form "stones" in the bladder or obstruct the outflow or urine. Obstructions are relatively common in male cats and may be fatal if not treated promptly.
Signs of FLUTD include excessive licking of the genitalia, frequent voiding of small amounts of urine, urinating in unusual locations, blood in the urine, straining or evidence of pain during urination and unproductive attempts to urinate. Total urinary obstruction results in depression, lack of appetite, vomiting and eventually coma and death.
Despite intense study, no single cause for FLUTD has been discovered. We are, however, aware of several factors that may lead to FLUTD. These factors include bacterial and viral infections, diet, obesity, reduced physical activity, low water consumption and prolonged urine retention. Surgical neutering does not cause FLUTD.
Important Points in Treatment
FLUTD is an emergency and prompt treatment is essential. Many cats require hospitalization for treatment. Treatment is designed to relieve the obstruction, flush the crystalline material from the urinary tract, treat any infections, correct any fluid imbalances and institute preventive dietary therapy. Despite treatment, some cats die from irreversible kidney damage.
Dietary control is essential to treatment and prevention of FLUTD. Veterinary prescription diets designed to treat or prevent FLUTD contain minimum magnesium levels and cause increased water consumption and production of acidic urine. Neither ash content nor magnesium levels alone are responsible for this disorder. Grocery or pet store "Low Ash" diets may not have sufficiently low magnesium levels to help prevent FLUTD. Urine pH is the most relevant factor in the management of FLUTD. Acidic urine tends to prevent formation of mineral crystals. An excellent prescription diet for preventing FLUTD is MediCal Urinary S/O diet, when ideally feeding half canned S/O and half dry S/O. Since this diet creates acidic urine, it is only available as a prescription diet through your veterinary clinic. Please ask us about them.
Notify the Veterinarian if Any of the Following Occur:
Your cat strains and/or cries when urinating
Your cat frequently passes small volumes of urine
Your cat has blood in the urine or urinates in odd places
Your cat refuses to eat, seems depressed or vomits
These special preventative diets must be fed as the only diet for the life of your cat (unless otherwise recommended by this veterinary clinic).