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Feline Urinary Tract Infection

Feline lower urinary tract disease, generally termed as FLUTD is a complex disease condition and not a single disease. FLUTD is a group of condition with common symptoms. FLUTD is very common among the cats. This condition is very challenging for the vet to diagnose and treat. This condition will cause anguish and frustration to the cat. The person who had lived with a cat with FLUTD will be aware of this. There will be severe pain for the cat. The reason for the pain is inflamed bladder, which is known as cystitis. There can be also so many other problems such as increased frequency of urination, difficulty or pain during urination, blood in the urine, vocalizing while urinating, excessive licking in the genital area etc. 

The young and the middle aged cats are more prone for this FLUTD and both male and females cats suffer equally. But the life threatening urinary obstruction is more common in male cats. The cats that are living indoors, the cat that is on dry food, and the cats that are over weight and the cats that lead a sedentary life style are more affected than the other cats. The change in the house hold routine and the social conflict among the cats can also result in FLUTD.  Anything that results in inflammation or irritation to the urinary bladder can result in lower urinary tract disease. There are top four factors. Here they are:- Feline idiopathic cystitis, Urinary crystals, Stress, Diet, etc.,

 

Feline idiopathic cystitis- The meaning of the idiopathic is nothing but problem arising from unknown cause. The cause for the feline idiopathic cystitis is yet to be ascertained. Though the cause is not known, this disease is the most common problem of the cat. FIC is very peculiar as it will disappear on its own for some time and will relapse after some time without any warning. The cats affected with FIC will have difficulty in urinating as the urinary bladder will be swollen and inflamed. The cat will cry due to pain while urinating and there may be blood in the urine.

Urinary crystals- for long time urinary crystals are thought to be the culprit in FLUTD. This belief was dispelled by current research. The facts are here. The crystals are formed in the urine of the cat, if the urine is highly concentrated and the PH is favorable. There are two types of crystals that are common. They are calcium oxalate and struvite. The presence of crystals does not necessarily mean the presence of bladed stones. If the urine is stored for longer period for urine analysis, there can be formation crystals and there is a chance for wrong diagnosis. The crystals present may or may not harm the urinary bladder. The presence of urinary plug need not indicate the presence of crystals in the urine. The sticky and soft matrix present in the urine is responsible for the blockage and the crystals are the reason.

Stress- as per the recent research, it is believed that the FIC and the disorders of bladder that are noticed in the women, known as interstitial cystitis are mostly due to stress. The cats do suffer from FLUTD due to stress. When the cats are under stress, the stress hormones are released which activate the inflammatory cells and the pain receptors present in the urinary bladder of the cat. The change in the feeding schedule, social discard in the house, absence of the beloved person, change in the diet etc can trigger stress in cats. Feline idiopathic cystitis is a rule condition in inappropriate urination in cat.

Diet- the cats that are fed with dry foods tend produce urine that is highly concentrate. As a matter of fact the highly concentrated urine will irritate the bladder wall. Increased bladder wall permeability- many chemicals and infectious agents erode the lining which is water tight that shields the bladed wall. Once the bladder wall is damaged, the bladder contents damage the sensitive tissue located underneath.

FLUTD treatment

The treatment option of FLUTD depends totally on the cause. If the cystitis is due to bacterial infection then antibiotics are used for the treatment. If the cystitis is due to the presence of bladder stones then the stones are removed surgically. The bladder stones can be treated with special diet also now days. If there is urinary obstruction and those are removed surgically.

The FIC treatment is very much controversial and the treatment is based on the previous reports most of the time than the hard science. As discussed earlier most of the flare up of the FLUTD disappear on its own in a week or two, people tend to believe that the treatment they were following is producing the miracle. As of now, there is hardly any treatment option that had completely cured the cat without possible recurrence. In most cases antibiotics and anti inflammatory drugs are used with success. In few cats certain anti –anxiety drugs bring about desired results faster but in few other cats they are complete failure. The best thing is to take the cat to the vet, who will advise you properly.

Prevention and Control

Few cats are fortunate enough to have few bouts of FLUTD and the problem subsides on its own. But few other cats suffer for longer period of time and there is relapse every now and then. There few things one needs to follow to decrease the frequency of the attack and the severity of the symptom. The cat should be on high quality diet. Approach the vet for help who will guide you properly. Many of the high quality diets that are available in the market provide healthy PH in the urine and minimizing the waste products that are likely to trouble the cat. The cat should be provided canned food as much as possible. The moisture content of the canned food will dilute the urine which is good for the cat. The cat should be encouraged to drink more water. There should be multiple water bowls and the water should be changed periodically.

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