It is not uncommon for cats to have problems with their urinary tract. It is very important to pay attention to them and go to the vet soon because, otherwise, they could affect the renal system , aggravating the condition.
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What is FLUTD?
These acronyms encompass a group of problems that will affect the lower urinary tract of our cats , specifically the bladder and urethra. There are different alterations that can cause the symptoms of FLUTD but, on many occasions, its cause is unknown.
It appears in both males and females, but in males it is easier for urethral obstruction to occur due to its anatomical characteristics. More common in older cats , it will also affect obese, sedentary and those without access to the outside or fed with feed.
FLUTD symptoms in cats
Any of the following symptoms will be indicative that our cat is suffering from a urinary problem that we must pay attention to, or what is the same, go to our veterinarian to obtain the appropriate treatment.
- Difficulty urinating.
- Sometimes the cat meows in pain when it tries to do so. Some sore cats react aggressively.
- Urinate numerous times but in very small amounts.
- Elimination outside the litter box because the cat ends up associating it with a painful stimulus and tries to avoid it.
- Presence of blood in the urine, which is known by the name of hematuria.- Frequent and insistent licking of the genital area. Some cats even self-mutilate.
- Grit can also be seen in the urine. It is called crystalluria.- Anuria, that is, the cat cannot eliminate any urine. This is a veterinary emergency.
- After about 24 hours without being able to urinate, signs of general discomfort will appear and the cat will stop eating. A total obstruction of the urinary tract is fatal.
- Stress from pain .
Causes of FLUTD
The symptoms that we have described may be due to alterations such as the following, which will appear alone or in combination:
- Idiopathic cystitis, that is, of unknown origin, which may or may not cause obstruction.
- Stones in the bladder.
- Anatomical malformations.
- Tumors, the most frequent being squamous cell carcinoma, malignant and with a poor prognosis.
- Bacterial infections, only in a small percentage of cases.
- Urethral plugs. They cause clogging and are usually made up of organic material and minerals.
- Behavior problems To diagnose them before, the physical causes must be ruled out.
What tests diagnose FLUTD?
The symptoms that the cat presents can be due to different causes, so the vet will perform tests to reach the diagnosis. They are as follows:
- General physical examination with palpation of the bladder.
- Urinalysis as complete as possible. This test can detect the presence of crystals, bacteria, or blood. In addition, a urine culture allows the clinician to choose the most effective antibiotic, if applicable. Sometimes a sample will be taken by drawing it directly from the bladder.
- Bladder X-ray with or without contrast.
- Ultrasound Diagnostic imaging allows the presence of stones or tumor masses to be observed.
- Blood tests to know the general state of health of the cat.
Feline idiopathic cystitis
It is the most common cause of FLUTD. It manifests as repeated episodes of urinary tract infections with symptoms such as those we have mentioned. Cystitis are very painful. They can become severe and eventually cause urethral obstruction.
Idiopathic cystitis is believed to be triggered by stress. That is why any treatment must take into account minimizing this factor. In addition, anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications are usually prescribed.
They are also known by the name of uroliths and are formed by mineral deposits, especially struvite and calcium oxalate . The former can be dissolved with a specific diet. In contrast, the oxalate ones are surgically removed.
The smaller ones are eliminated in the urine, causing pain and hematuria. If they get trapped in the urethra they pose a veterinary emergency. Larger stones, on the other hand, may stay inside the bladder. They will also produce pain and hematuria but in a chronic way.
Obstruction of the urethra
When the urethra is obstructed, the bladder feels hard and full of urine that does not get out. It is extremely painful . Cats will be anorexic, in pain, and lethargic. The cause of the obstruction must be located and eliminated. It can be a urethral plug, stones, or a urethral spasm due to pain.
If the obstruction is close to the exit, the vet will be able to remove it. On the other hand, if this is not possible, the area will be massaged until it is removed. If this is not possible, it can be tested by washing with saline solution. If it does not work, it will be necessary to resort to catheterization and, ultimately, to surgical extraction.
The importance of food
The composition of the diet is capable of modifying the characteristics of the urine . That is why it is essential that the FLUTD treatment includes a change in diet. A specific diet for these cases avoids the formation of stones, prevents the growth of existing ones and favors their dilution.
Any changes must take into account hydration. That the cat drinks a sufficient amount of water each day is essential to avoid FLUTD , since it helps to dilute the urine. In this line, a wet feeding can be considered or, at least, soaking the feed.
More drinkers, at least one per cat, renew them several times a day or use fountains so that the water flows constantly, incetivate the cat to increase its water consumption. We can offer broths to the most reluctant cats.
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