Cats are known for their cleanliness, but like any other living creature, they are susceptible to health issues. One common ailment that affects cats is urinary disease, otherwise known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). This can cause discomfort and distress to your beloved pet, but with appropriate treatment and management, they can be managed effectively.

In this guide, we’ll explore what FLUTD is, the causes, symptoms and, most importantly, how to treat and prevent this.

What is a FLUTD?

FLUTD occurs as a result of damage or disease of the lower urinary tract (the bladder and urethra, the tube allowing the passage of urine out). This then can lead to inflammation and discomfort, and is similar to cystitis in people.

While they are usually mild and easy to treat with prompt attention, this can be a more serious concern in male cats, where in a small number of cases they can lead to an obstruction which can be potentially fatal if not addressed in good time.

What causes FLUTDs?

Several factors can contribute to the development of FLUTD in cats. Common causes include:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Poor hydration
  • Incorrect diet (dry food only or too alkaline diets)
  • Diabetes or other underlying medical conditions
  • Urinary tract obstructions, such as bladder stones or tumours
  • Bacterial infections, often from bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) are uncommon but can occur

FLUTD symptoms

Like many ailments in cats and dogs, it’s not always obvious there’s something wrong. This means looking out for what can often be subtle changes in their behaviour.

These symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Straining or difficulty urinating
  • Blood or a pinkish colour in the urine
  • Inappropriate urination (outside the litter box)
  • Urinating in small amounts
  • Lethargy
  • Pain or discomfort when urinating
  • Excessive grooming of the genital area

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it’s important to consult your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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How to treat FLUTDs

Treatment typically involves a combination of medication and supportive care. Your vet may prescribe medication to alleviate inflammation, or to help with anxiety and promotion of a healthy bladder lining.

Additionally, they will recommend collecting a urine sample. This may be required to diagnose any underlying issues that might be causing the symptoms and determine the most appropriate treatment. This can be done at the clinic or sometimes at home using special litter or collection kits. Ask about these at reception or during your appointment.

Can you help prevent your cat from getting FLUTD?

There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of your cat developing one:

  • Ensure they have access to fresh, clean water at all times to promote proper hydration
  • Feed your cat a balanced diet that supports urinary tract health, such as one formulated for urinary health or prescription diets recommended by your vet
  • Make sure you properly manage any other conditions that can lead to FLUTD, such as diabetes and kidney disease
  • Keep your cat’s litter box clean and provide enough litter boxes for the number of cats in your household
  • Encourage regular exercise and provide environmental stimulation to reduce stress and anxiety, and to prevent obesity, boredom and stress
  • Schedule regular veterinary check-ups to monitor your cat’s overall health and catch any potential issues early

FLUTDs can be uncomfortable and potentially serious for your cat, but with proper treatment and preventive measures, they can be managed effectively.

If you suspect your cat has FLUTD or other symptoms of urinary disease,  please make an appointment for a consultation so our team can advise on the best treatment options.

You can find out more about FLUTDs here.

Interested in laser therapy for cats? Read our blog.

Published On: April 29th, 2024 / Categories: Latest News /

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