Cat urinary tract infection also known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a disorder that affects the lower urinary system. The disorder shows symptoms like painful urination, blood in the urine, frequent passage of urine, which can be very uncomfortable for the cat. Under severe conditions the urethra can get completely blocked and if the condition is not treated immediately, it can result in a very painful death. No cat owner will want to go through this situation.
Some cats suffer from urinary stones or crystals or severe infection, which can lead to FLUTD, but in majority of cases the reasons for contracting this infection, is still not known. Some experts suggest stress as one of the prime reasons for this painful distress in cats, but whatever may be the cause, your feline friend will need prompt medical care and attention. Identifying the symptoms and signs of cat urinary tract infection beforehand will prevent these symptoms from elevating and recurring.
Symptoms for Cat Urinary Tract Infection
In mild infections the cat usually makes several visits to the litter box for passing a very small amount of urine. You might even notice a miniscule amount of blood in the urine. Due to the infection, some cats prefer urinating outside the litter box. The litter box can instill fear in the minds of your feline friend as they may associate the litter box with pain. Majority of cats try to hide these symptoms and these symptoms will vary according to the severity of the ailment.
Inflammation of the urinary tract is one of the prime reasons for all the symptoms. If there is no inflammation, the cat may not show any symptoms. Some cats do not suffer from fever or lose their appetite, under such circumstances it is ideal to get your cat checked by a vet.
Usually the infections are different for male and female cats. The females will have infection caused due to bacteria, which can result in severe inflammation. In case of male cats, the symptoms are different as their urethra will get blocked with stones, crystals or plugged with cells and mucus. This will result in very painful urination and in some cases the cat may not be able to urinate completely causing a lot of distress and pain. These severe symptoms needs to be diagnosed and immediate medical care should be provided or else you will find your cat getting depressed, staying less active and finally lead to death.
The severe pain while urinating will prevent your cat from using the litter box. The cat may even stop urinating before it is finished due to the pain it experiences. Some cats constantly meow to indicate pain. Some other symptoms include licking of the genital area and urinating outside the litter box if it associates pain with the litter box. Severe bacterial infection can lead to blood in the urine, which is difficult to identify unless your cat urinates on a light surface. Inflamed urethra can result in diminished flow of urine resulting in dribbling as urine cannot flow out due to obstruction. This may result in loss of control while urinating.
Cause of Urinary tract infection
The cat urinary tract infection can happen unexpectedly with no real reason. Some well-known identifiable causes include painful bladder syndrome, viruses like Calcivirus or the gamma herpes virus, which are some of the main causes for the infection. These bacteria’s can descend from the anal region leading to infection in cats. Female cats are more prone to infection due to the shorter urethra. Some cats try to hold on to their urine due to various reasons, which includes weather conditions, dirty litter boxes, different litter boxes or unfavorable position of the box. Cats who suffer from diabetes have a weak immune system making their body susceptible to bacterial infections.
Diagnosis of Cat Urinary Tract Infection
A veterinarian will conduct a few tests initially to diagnose the condition. Some diagnostic tests will have to be conducted including an x-ray or ultrasound test to check the urinary tract. Urinanalysis may be conducted in certain cases to identify any bacteria that may be present, white blood cells, red blood cells, and the urinary crystals. A fine needle is inserted through the abdominal lining into the bladder preventing any contamination that may be caused due to bacteria.
A bacterial check is also done to determine the type of bacteria that has affected your cat. This will help your vet to prescribe the correct antibiotic.
Treatment for Cat Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary infections in cats can be mild to sometimes very severe. As soon as you detect a problem, take your cat to the vet for further diagnosis and prompt treatment. Depending on the diagnosis and its severity the line of treatment is charted by the veterinarian. Antibiotics are usually prescribed for any bacterial infection.
Your vet may suggest a few dietary changes, which includes switching your cat from dry diet to wet diet for increasing the amount of water, which in turn results in less concentrated urine. Cats with bladder stones are put on a special diet that will help in dissolving the stones, but large stones need to be removed surgically.
An infected cat needs to be provided with clean drinking water to aid frequent urination. A pet owner needs to encourage frequent urination by providing clean and hygienic litter trays. A dirty and unclean litter tray will discourage cats to use them frequently. Surgery may have to be performed on male cats to remove urethral blockage.
Dangers of not treating urinary infections in cats
Any delay in treatment can lead to complete blockage of the urethra preventing your feline friend from urinating. A pet owner should consider this as a real medical emergency or else the infection may lead to kidney damage, bladder rupture and will lead to death.
What are the difficulties in indentifying the symptoms of urinary tract infection?
Cats are experts at tricking their owners and they do it by excessive rubbing against you, purring or just by lying on your lap. A cat owner has to observe any typical behavioral changes so that they don’t trick you. If not identified quickly the mild symptoms can lead to a severe health scare. To understand any change in your cats behavior you have to spend quality time with them so that it becomes obvious if there are any tricks being played on you. Some very evident and visible changes include loss of appetite, excessive or change in meowing, her reluctance to use the litter box and constant attention seeking.
Once the diagnosis is made and the reason identified it is expected from you to make those changes and make the environment healthy for your feline friend.
Cat urinary tract infection can be very stressful for both the cat as well as the cat owner. With proper care, good diet and attention you can prevent the infection from occurring again.