FLUTD - Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
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What is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is not a specific disease but a term used to describe a group of conditions affecting the bladder and the lower urinary tract of cats.
This condition is more serious in males than females as they have a narrower urethra, making them more prone to becoming blocked. Urethral obstruction is a medical emergency.
What are the symptoms?
* Straining to urinate or only passing a small amount of urine. This can sometimes lead the owner to believe that the cat is constipated.
* Blood in urine (haematuria)
* Frequent visits to the litter tray
* Excessive genital licking
* Crying in or around the litter tray
* Urinating in places other than the litter tray, such as the bath tub or floor.
How is it diagnosed?
Your veterinarian can give a tentative diagnosis based on history, physical examination and palpation of the bladder. Further investigation such as urine and blood tests, ultrasound and x-ray may be required.
What are the causes?
* Idiopathic: or unknown cause, however stress if often a major factor.
* Stress: Any stress or changes to the normal routine.
* Urinary Calculi (Crystals or bladder stones)
* Urethral Plugs: the Urethra becomes blocked with plugs formed from blood, tissue, crystals or stones.
How is FLUTD treated?
Urinary catheterisation: If your cat is completely blocked then he must be unblocked as soon as possible by passing a urinary catheter into his urethra. This is done under general anaesthesia. The catheter will often remain in place for 24-48 hours to ensure patency.
Fluid therapy: Intravenous fluids are administered to help with rehydration and flushing the bladder.
Surgery: A perineal urethrostomy can be performed on male cats who become repeatedly blocked. This involves partial amputation of the penis to create a larger urethral opening. This will help reduce the risks of blocking, however cats may be more prone to urinary related infections.
Medication: Pain relief and other medications as required.
How can I prevent FLUTD recurring?
It is impossible to completely prevent FLUTD but the following points are beneficial:
Stress: minimising stressful events.
Diet: A special veterinary urinary diet is recommended and will involve feeding an increased amount of wet food.
Water intake: Encourage increased water intake by adding water to the food and providing extra water bowls and water fountains if your cat likes drinking running water. This will help “flush” out the bladder.
Litter trays: Providing extra litter trays and ensuring they are cleaned regularly. Provide 1 litter tray per cat plus one extra. Eg. 2 cats = 3 litter trays.