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Cats, particularly older or male felines, can be susceptible to various urinary tract conditions. Our veterinarians in Anaheim discuss cat urinary tract infections, including the causes, signs, and treatment options.

Feline Urinary Tract Infection

Cats can often suffer from urinary tract issues, but in most cases, feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is the cause rather than a genuine urinary tract infection.

However, cats with UTIs commonly have an endocrine disease such as hyperthyroidism or diabetes. Additionally, cats over the age of 10 are more prone to developing UTIs.

The most common symptoms of UTIs in cats include difficulty in urinating, reduced urine production, urinating outside of the litter box, painful or uncomfortable urination, and urine that is tinged with blood.

If you observe any of these symptoms in your cat, it could be a sign of UTI or FLUTD, and it is crucial to seek veterinary care for your beloved feline.

Feline Urinary Tract Disease - FLUTD

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a term used to describe several clinical symptoms that can affect your cat's bladder and urethra. If left untreated, FLUTD can cause blockages in the urethra or hinder proper bladder emptying, which can lead to serious or even life-threatening risks. 

Cats suffering from FLUTD may find it difficult, painful, or impossible to urinate. They may also urinate more frequently or in inappropriate areas outside their litter box, sometimes on cool surfaces, such as a bathtub or tile floor.

Causes of Feline Urinary Tract Disease

Diagnosing and treating Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) can be challenging due to the multiple causes and contributing factors involved in this complex condition. The urethra of your cat, which connects the bladder to the outside of their body, can accumulate crystals, stones, or debris over time, leading to potential blockages.

There are several other common causes of lower urinary tract problems in cats, such as:

  • Incontinence due to excessive water consumption or weak bladder
  • Spinal cord issues
  • Urethral plug caused by the accumulation of debris from urine
  • Bladder infection, inflammation, urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Injury or tumor in the urinary tract
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Emotional or environmental stressors

Urinary tract disease is a common issue found in cats, especially in middle-aged, overweight cats who do not have access to the outdoors and do not get enough physical activity. It can also affect cats of any age. Male cats are more prone to urinary diseases due to their narrow urethra, which can easily become blocked. 

If your cat is diagnosed with FLUTD, it's crucial to determine the underlying cause. Various health issues, including bladder infection, bladder stones, cancer, or blockages can cause FLUTD symptoms. 

If your vet is unable to identify the cause of your cat's FLUTD, your cat may be diagnosed with cystitis, which is inflammation of the bladder caused by a urinary tract infection. In such cases, your vet may prescribe antibiotics to help fight off the UTI.

Signs of Feline Urinary Tract Disease

If your cat has FLUTD or a cat urinary tract infection, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Inability to urinate
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Urinating small amounts
  • Urinating more than usual or in inappropriate settings
  • Avoidance or fear of litter box
  • Strong ammonia odor in urine
  • Hard or distended abdomen
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Drinking more water than usual
  • Excessive licking of the genital area
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting

Addressing any bladder or urinary issues in your cat as soon as possible is of utmost importance. Ignoring the condition could result in a completely blocked urethra, which can lead to an emergency where your cat cannot urinate at all. Such a situation could cause kidney failure or a ruptured bladder, and FLUTD can become fatal quickly if there is an obstruction that is not removed promptly.

Diagnosing Feline Urinary Tract Disease

Urinary tract infections and feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) are serious conditions that require immediate veterinary care in cats. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above in your cat, it's crucial to take your cat to the vet as soon as possible. In case your cat is experiencing pain while urinating or crying out, it could be a veterinary emergency, and you must contact your vet or the nearest emergency vet immediately.

During your cat's visit to the vet, the vet will conduct a comprehensive physical exam to assess your cat's symptoms and conduct a urinalysis to gain further insight into your cat's condition. Additionally, they may suggest additional diagnostic testing, such as X-rays or bloodwork, to diagnose your cat's condition accurately and provide the best possible treatment.

Cat Urinary Tract Infection Recovery

Urinary issues in cats can be severe and complex, so the first step should be to make an appointment with your veterinarian for immediate care. The underlying cause of your cat's urinary symptoms will dictate which treatment is prescribed, but may include:

  • Increasing your kitty's water consumption
  • Antibiotics or medication to relieve symptoms
  • Modified diet
  • Expelling of small stones through the urethra
  • Urinary acidifiers
  • Fluid therapy
  • Urinary catheter or surgery for male cats to remove urethral blocks

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat showing signs of a urinary tract infection? Contact our Anaheim vets to have your kitty cared for.

New Patients Welcome

Anaheim Animal Care & Pet Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Anaheim companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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