Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is not one particular problem, but rather, it describes a group of clinical symptoms that may have more than one possible cause.
Clinical signs of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease include:
- Frequent urination or visits to the litterbox
- Bloody or cloudy urine
- Straining to urinate, or only passing small amounts of urine at a time
- Crying out (yowling) when trying to pass urine
- Dribbling urine or loss of bladder control
- Urinating in unusual places
- Frequent licking of the urinary opening
- Lethargy or vomiting
- Urinary blockage (considered an emergency and can be fatal if not treated immediately)
A cat that has FLUTD can have one or more of these clinical signs. In order to treat the condition, your veterinarian will try to determine the cause of the symptoms
- Bladder stones, crystals or an accumulation of debris in the bladder or urethra
- Urethral blockage
- Bladder or urinary tract infection infection
- Urinary tract cancer/tumor
Almost half of all cats with symptoms of FLUTD will not have a cause that can be determined despite testing. This is called idiopathic cystitis.
Age can make a difference in the underling cause. The average age of a cat diagnosed with FLUTD is four years. It is rarely diagnosed in cats younger than one year, and in cats ten years and older almost half of the cases are caused by urinary tract infections.
What should I do if I suspect my cat has FLUTD?
Call your veterinarian right away if you are noticing any of the above symptoms. If your cat is straining to urinate or crying out in pain, it is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not treated immediately.
How is FLUTD diagnosed?
Your veterinarian will recommend treatment based on your cat’s age, physical exam and symptoms. Testing might include:
- Urinalysis with a possible urine culture
- Blood work
- Radiographs to rule out bladder stones
- Possible ultrasound
How is FLUTD treated?
Depending on your cat’s prognosis, your veterinarian may recommend:
- Changes in diet
- Increase in water intake or fluid therapy
- Urinary acidifiers
- Surgery to remove bladder stones or tumor
Untreated urinary problems can cause partial or complete obstruction of the urethra. Make sure to call your veterinarian if you are concerned about any symptoms you are noticing, or have any questions.