Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a term used to describe any disorder affecting the urinary bladder or urethra of cats and is a very common reason for hospital visits of our feline pets here at Caledon Mountain. The presenting complaint is very commonly inappropriate urination. A few considerations will be made when you bring your feline friend to us:
- Have there been any environmental changes in the house (ie. New family member, new pet, new furniture, renovations)
- Any discomfort trying to urinate, vocalization, frequent trips to the litter box.
- How many litter boxes are accessible to the cat?
Once the information is collected we can then preform some tests to get a final diagnosis of your cats symptoms. Once all the tests have been preformed, there are a few possibilities that can be the cause of your cat’s urinary symptoms, to name a couple:
The most dangerous: urinary blockage – The urethra, the tube leading from the bladder to the outside world, becomes clogged with grit, protein and mucus, or sometimes with a small stone itself. This is overwhelmingly more common in male cats due to the narrow diameter of the urethra. If not addressed in 24 hours, the cat becomes very sick. By 48 hours, this becomes very life threatening and requires emergent intervention!
The most common: cystitis – This is an overall term for inflammation in the bladder. Actual infections, like with bacteria, are very uncommon in cats. In fact, since we don’t really associate any particular bacteria or other organisms with cystitis, we call this “idiopathic cystitis,” or FIC, Idiopathic meaning unknown cause.
All of the physical conditions associated with urinary symptoms can appear very similar. This is why it is very important to see a veterinarian to address the issue as soon as possible.
Once we have control of the condition by using medical intervention we can then maintain your cat’s urinary health by using specialized urinary diets that are meant to target your cat’s symptoms and decrease the chances of them happening again.
What Can We Do Now?
There are dietary options that will be prescribed to your feline friend after diagnosis of FLUTD. Whether it be bladder stones, or feline idiopathic cystitis, there is always a diet that could decrease the signs and symptoms of these urinary conditions and help from preventing any problems in the future.
Many patients can benefit from reduced minerals in the urine (minerals are the building blocks for stone formation inside the body such as phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, etc.) Specialized diets contain a very specific amount of these minerals to help
decrease future formation of certain stones that could develop. By controlling these minerals we are also controlling how acidic or alkaline the cats urine is. Stones need an alkaline environment to produce, therefore creating a more acidic environment will play a roll in the dissolution or continued production of the stones depending on the type. There are diets that are clinically proven to dissolve Struvite stones, and prevent continued production of Calcium Oxalate stones.
There are also diets that in combination with urinary health, some have ingredients such as L-tryptophan and hydrolyzed casein that help manage stress and stress related behaviors that are related to FIC. Omega 3 fatty acids are added in therapeutic levels to break the inflammation cycle associated with stones and FIC. Diets with these beneficial ingredients targeting these urinary conditions are clinically proven to decrease signs and symptoms of FLUTD by 89%!
Speak to someone from our veterinary team if you have questions or concerns regarding your feline friend urinating outside of the box, we can come up with the most appropriate plan that will benefit your kitty in the most effective way possible!
– Becky Hunt, Registered Veterinary Technician & Nutrition Coach