Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Signs of lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) include: frequent and painful urination, urinating small amounts and in inappropriate locations, and blood tinged urine. Although there are underlying diseases that can cause these symptoms many cases are found to be sterile (having no infectious agent) and idiopathic (no obvious cause). Although most episodes of FLUTD are self limiting and last 3-5 days there are some steps that can be taken to decrease the frequency and severity of the episodes. There are also some tests that can be done to make sure there is not an underlying cause.
Diagnostic testing: The following tests are recommended to determine if there are obvious reasons for your pet to be having lower urinary tract symptoms:
- Urine Culture
- Abdominal Radiographs
- Complete Blood Count
- Chemistry Panel
- Abdominal Ultrasound
Therapy: Treatment for this syndrome can be very frustrating as there is no specific medication or management change that works for every cat, every time. The following suggestions are the current recommendations of feline specialists.
Feeding: Increasing water content of the food in attempt to produce more dilute urine is one of the more effective treatments for this disease. For this reason a high quality canned food and even canned food with water added to it is the diet of choice for FLUTD patients. Hills prescription diet c/d may also be recommended if your cat has had urinary crystals, stones, or an elevated pH. Hill's c/d also has anti-inflammatory fatty acids added that are thought to help decrease bladder inflammation.
Water: As stated above, increasing intake is a key factor in treating FLUTD cats. Always keep a bowl of fresh cool water available for your cat. In addition to this you may add a bowl of water flavored with tuna juice or other enticing flavors. You may also try adding a fountain or leaving a sink dripping to entice your cat to drink more water.
Glycosaminoglycans: These are part of the protective layer of the bladder lining and supplementation may help alleviate symptoms of cats with FLUTD. We are currently offering Seraquin-a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement that can be crushed and added to your pet's food.
Environmental changes: Many episodes of FLUTD can be brought on by stress in the household. Some of these stresses may not be obvious to you but can be a big problem for your cat, as follows:
- Additional litter boxes (one for every cat plus one more)
- Multiple litter types including clumping (many cats prefer clumping litter)
- Covered and uncovered litter boxes
- Scoop litter boxes every day at a minimum or twice a day if possible
- Keep stress/changes in household to a minimum
Subcutaneous fluids: Administration of fluids under the skin can help flush the bladder and reduce inflammation to help your pet feel better sooner if he or she has a FLUTD flare-up. This can be done as an outpatient procedure and we can also teach you how to do this at home.