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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