When cats have urinary tract problems, they can be caused by inflammation of the urethra and bladder.
Bacterial infections are less common.
The inflammation can be triggered by, for example, urinary stones or crystals in the urine, but can also occur without a demonstrable cause (idiopathic). Idiopathic inflammation is often seen in connection with stress, for example when moving or if a new cat has arrived in the household or neighborhood.
A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria from the outer parts of the urinary tract (vagina / penis) migrate into the bladder and cause an infection and inflammation in the wall of the bladder. Bacteria can also spread to the urinary tract through the bloodstream, but this is less common.
Cats with a urinary tract infection or inflammation often urinate. It is painful to urinate and there are only small splashes of urine, sometimes with blood. The cat may be impaired in its general condition, have a fever, eat less and show symptoms of abdominal pain.
Diagnosis and treatment
In case of a suspected urinary tract infection, a urine sample from the cat is analyzed.
The urine sample should preferably be taken in as clean a way as possible. The litter box is thoroughly cleaned before sampling and the sand is replaced with unopened popcorn or with pearls in a special sampling kit available from the veterinarian.
When the cat has urinated, the urine is taken care of in a well-cleaned container and stored in the refrigerator.
At the animal hospital, a urine sample can be taken via a catheter or inserted through the abdomen into the bladder (this is done with the help of ultrasound), the sample is then not contaminated by bacteria from the lower urinary tract (penis / vagina) or the environment.
The urine sample is analyzed for density, presence of sugar, proteins, bacteria, inflammatory cells, crystals, etc.
In the event of a suspected infection, a culture is also performed where you can get answers about the type of bacteria that grow in the bladder and the type of antibiotics to be used. .
To rule out the presence of another disease that makes it easier for the cat to get a urinary tract infection, an ultrasound of the bladder and kidneys can be performed. With ultrasound, you can see changes in the kidneys and in the wall of the bladder (polyps, tumors, inflammation).
An ultrasound examination can also show that there is no malformation in the anatomy of the urinary tract.
Sometimes the examination is supplemented with an X-ray of the abdominal cavity.
You can then see the presence of urinary stones in the kidneys, ureters and bladder.
Cats with diseases such as diabetes, kidney failure and hyperthyroidism (hyperthyroidism) are more likely to develop a urinary tract infection.
Inflammation of the bladder is treated with painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs.
If the inflammation is suspected to be stress-triggered, you may need to make changes to the cat’s environment, so that it becomes more stress-free, and perhaps take the help of cat pheromones (available at pharmacies and veterinary clinics, among others).
If the urinary stone is an underlying cause of the inflammation or infection, this may need to be remedied surgically, by removing the urinary stones from the bladder. Some types of urine crystals can also be treated with the help of special lining.
A urinary tract infection is treated with painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs as well as antibiotics. It is important that the cat drinks properly so that inflammatory cells and any bacteria are flushed out with the urine.
Cats that tend to have urinary tract problems can be given glucosamines for prevention and as part of treatment.
Special supplements for different types of urinary tract problems are available.
NOTE – More severe cases of untreated urinary tract infection can lead to the bacteria migrating further along the urinary tract (ureter) and causing infection in the kidneys, which can lead to serious illness.