FLUTD, Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease is a collective name for problems that affect the urinary tract in cats.
Problems can be caused by inflammation of the bladder, urinary stones, anatomical defects, cancer, behavioral problems or infections.
Frequent urination, which is usually shown by the cat urinating frequently, has blood in the urine, urinates in unusual places instead of in the box and licks itself on the penis. The cat may seem anxious and sometimes aggressive. If the cat is sitting on the box and there is no urine at all, it may have suffered from urinary retention, which is a life-threatening condition.
Urine samples are analyzed to see signs of inflammation, infection or crystals in the urine. Bacteriological culture of the urine may be performed.
Imaging diagnostics such as X-ray and ultrasound examination are usually performed to make a diagnosis. Stones can usually be seen on X-rays but not all stones are visible with this technique. With the help of ultrasound, especially small stones and changes in the mucous membrane can be detected.
The pet owner can be asked about what the home looks like, where the litter box is, what type of cat litter is used. Is the cat an outdoor or indoor cat, can there have been recent changes in the home such as a new cat, new dog or new partner? Stress of various kinds can cause symptoms from the urinary tract.
If the veterinarian finds no cause, a so-called idiopathic inflammation is suspected, which means inflammation without a known cause, and unfortunately this is the most common cause of urinary incontinence in cats.
The treatments differ depending on the cause found. If stones are detected, these can sometimes be dissolved with medical lining, but surgery is often required by removing the stones from the bladder. The stones can be analyzed to be able to initiate preventive treatment to avoid relapse. Infections are treated with antibiotics, inflammations are treated with anti-inflammatory medication.
Idiopathic inflammation is treated in several ways. Medications can be tried, but their effect can be difficult to assess as the symptoms often come and go and often self-heal anyway.
Sometimes more litter boxes, with soft odorless sand, may be needed, which are cleaned regularly. In a household with more cats, there should be at least one box per cat.
Stress can be reduced by removing suspicious factors that stress the cat. It is good to enrich the cat’s environment. Give it more space and more opportunities for play. Spending more time with your cat can also have a positive effect. An overweight cat should be slimmed down.
When should a veterinarian be consulted?
If the cat urinates in inappropriate places or has difficulty urinating, a veterinarian should always be contacted for advice.
If the cat cannot urinate at all, consult a veterinarian immediately.