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Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (flutd)

Nov 4, 2011 · Updated May 14, 2017 · ·
  1. Anne

    What is FLUTD?

    Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is the name given to a complex of urologic medical conditions in cats including Cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), urinary stones and urinary obstruction. It is sometimes referred to as FUS (Feline Urologic Syndrome).

    A full blockage of the urinary tract is a life threatening condition. The cat can go into coma and die within 24-72 hours! Therefore, if your cat stops urinating you should get it to a veterinarian ASAP. It is a medical emergency which can result in agonizing death.

    Who's at Risk?

    It is estimated that FLUTD occurs in 1% of all cats, affecting both males and females alike. Due to their narrow urethra, males are more susceptible to blockage of the urinary tract.

    Why some cats develop FLUTD and others do not, is still unknown, although there are indications that certain types of cat food may trigger the formation of crystals and stones in some cats. A low intake of water may also be a cause of FLUTD.

    After the first time a cat has FLUTD, he or she is more likely to experience it again in the future.

    Symptoms of FLUTD

    Symptoms of FLUTD include pain during urination, which is often signaled by crying during urination. One of the first signs of FLUTD may be urination outside the litter box. Dribbles of urine can be found around the home as the cat tries to avoid the pain associated with the litter box. Therefore, any cat that urinates outside the litter box must be checked by a vet to rule out FLUTD. Only then can the problem can be addressed as a behavioral problem.

    Other symptoms may include excessive licking of the genitals, frequent visits to the litter box with little or no result, squatting and straining during urination and blood in the urine.

    Some cats develop a form of FLUTD called Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC) and suffer from recurrent flare-ups of the disease. If you think your cat has FIC, read more here -
    Feline Idiopathic Cystitis How To Improve Your Cats Life Quality

    Treatment of FLUTD

    As FLUTD can quickly develop into an emergency, especially in male cats, you should get your cat to the vet without delay. The vet will treat the problem according to the specific medical condition. If there is a blockage, a catheter is likely to be used to release the obstruction.

    Treatment depends on the cause of FLUTD. Your vet will perform a urinalysis checking for presence of bacteria. An ultrasound or x-ray may also be performed to check for bladder stones or tumors. In case of bacterial infection, your vet will prescribe a course of antibiotics. Otherwise, a change of diet and addressing stress are key features of treatment.

    Prevention of FLUTD

    It is hard to prevent FLUTD as no one knows for sure what causes it. A good rule is to keep the litter box clean and to provide your cat with fresh water at all times.

    Some kinds of recurrent episodes can be avoided by following a specially prescribed diet, which controls the level of acidity in the cat's urine. Although these diets are expensive, it is important to follow them for as long as your vet prescribes them. They are usually adapted to the type of crystals forming in the cat's urinary tract. Many veterinarians believe wet diet is preferable to make sure your cat's water intake is high enough and helps dilute the urine even further. Consult with your vet as to the best course of treatment and prevention that are preferable in your case.


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  1. my buddies
    I've had my male cat Alex on the C/D Hill's Prescription and the Royal Canin SO diet for about a year after he recovered from a serious bout of FLUTD.  I add water to his canned food.  His appetite & peeing have been great.  Lately, though, he's been licking his feet a lot more than usual and often burps and swallows after eating.  He just threw up after a nap.  I don't know if I should be concerned yet.    I have some Hounds & Gatos canned cat food.  I don't know if it's too acid for him.  Does anyone know if cats on a FLUTD diet can safely eat Hounds & Gatos food?
  2. lunariris
    Our one indoor-only spayed female started having problems after she started getting older. After having her since just a few weeks old, at around 6-7 years old she began to pee out of the box and dig the floor before she would go and make circles. She would also meow when being picked up, something she'd never done before. She had problems with bladder stones and has had FLUTD problems on and off since. She's also been partially blind since she was a kitten and lost more sight with age, so sometimes it's hard to tell if she misses the box because of her vision or urinary problems. That's when we usually look at the color of her urine and I do the "pick-her-up-and-if-she-meows" test, and if it seems uncomfortable for her to be picked up, we know we have to run to the vets. She's now almost 12 years old, but since we got 2 water fountains for our cats in addition to leaving some regular water dishes out, and putting her on a C/D chicken canned diet via our vet, she's been doing much better, and drinking much more water with the fountains. With her sight, I also think the noise from the fountains running also helps her find her way around a little easier, and reminds her to drink more, and staying hydrated helps keep urinary issues at bay too.
      kommunity kats purraised this.
  3. AbbysMom
    Hello! I've also sent you a PM. Please consider starting a thread in the Health area of our forums: http://www.thecatsite.com/f/4/cat-health

    Many more of our members will see it. I hope you and your cat can get the answers you need.
  4. nonie2v
    I have a 13 year old male kitty names, Zeke. Three weeks ago he could not pee, he had licked his penis so much it was irritated,  and wasn't eating or drinking any water. I took him to the E.R. vet and they wanted an outlandish amount to help him so I took him to our normal vet. She said he probably has blockage, which after 3 weeks they have yet to figure out the problem. Next week he's going to have an ultrasound, and he will not eat, drink or pee without being hydrated. Does anyone have any ideas what's wrong with him?
    I would appreciate any help.
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