Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) refers not to a single problem, but to a number of related conditions which affect a cat’s bladder or urethra, or both. FLUTD can be caused by a variety of problems, such as bladder stones or infection, stress, injury to the tract itself,or separate diseases such as diabetes or hypothyroidism. It’s difficult to discern which specific condition your cat is suffering from, but if they display any of the signs below you should take your pet to a vet so they can determine the root cause.
Noticing how your cat uses its litter box is one of the easiest ways to assess if anything is wrong. Cats suffering from FLUTD will typically display signs of discomfort or pain when they urinate; if your cat yowls, licks its genitals or seems to have difficulty urinating then it is clearly indicating a problem. Other signs may be more subtle. Some cats will begin associating the pain of urination with using their litterbox and will abruptly stop using it – this is easier to track if your cat uses separate boxes for defecating and urinating. Cats are often smart enough to drink more water in order to diminish their pain, so monitor their consumption if you’re concerned.
If you find you have cause for worry, keep an eye out for any red tinge to the litter, which could indicate blood in your cat’s urine. Another thing to look out for is a strong odour of ammonia.
Your cat may also demonstrate discomfort when petted. If they refuse to let their stomachs be touched, or seem uncomfortable with excessive handling, this may be due to FLUTD. They may also paw their stomachs, sit in less relaxed positions than normal or be unusually lethargic. Sometimes more dramatic physical warnings may occur, such as vomiting. These symptoms may indicate other conditions, such as internal bleeding or blockages to the digestive tract, but whatever the case, you should book an appointment with the vet.
Vets will normally take blood and urine samples in order to provide a thorough testing. The treatment plan will depend upon the root cause of your cat’s discomfort, and non-obstructive FLUTD usually resolves in five to ten days. However, if left untreated these problems can lead to partial or total obstruct of the urethra, a serious medical condition which can quickly cause kidney failure or rupturing of the bladder – err on the side of caution and get your cat checked if the signs above present themselves.
For more information, contact Irrawang Veterinary Clinic.