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iFLUTD

Idiopathic Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Causes

Diet – cats that are fed solely on dry diets can exhibit more clinical signs of LUTD, as their water intake is generally lower than that of cats fed on a wet diet.

LUTD is more common in young to middle-aged neutered cats. Many young cats that are affected will improve as they get older. Older cats and immature cats that develop LUTD signs warrant early investigation.

Stress is a significant contributing factor in many cases.

Other predisposing factors include obesity, ad-lib feeding, low water consumption, a sedentary lifestyle, an indoor lifestyle and living in a state of tension with at least one other cat.

Diagnosis

On investigation, the vet will often find:

  • Pyuria (infection present in the urine)
  • Haematuria (blood in the urine)
  • Proteinuria (protein in the urine)
  • Generalised bladder-wall thickening
  • Possible Crystalluria (crystals in the urine which can from bladder stones if left untreated)

Management

Increased water intake is important in all cases and is frequently all that is required to reduce the signs of LUTD. Feed canned food, offer palatable fluids (chicken/fish stock - low salt only, water - not brine - from tinned fish etc.) add additional water to food, experiment with different types of water bowl, and with pet water fountains.

Diet affects urine volume, concentration, pH and mineral content. Prescription diets for long-term use encourage increased water intake and normalise urine pH. However, these diets can be contra-indicated in cats with kidney problems, so blood tests may need to be performed.

Stress reduction: All efforts to modify the environment should be made, especially stress factors associated with urination. Introduce extra litter trays, experiment with different types of litter and provide a safe, clean area around the litter tray.

Medical treatment: The vet may decide to prescribe some medication for your cat depending on the cause and severity of the LUTD.

If at any time you are concerned that your cat is not able to pass urine, phone the surgery immediately as this may indicate a blockage in the bladder or urethra, which requires emergency treatment.