Feline lower urinary tract disease, also known as FLUTD, is a common condition among cats. FLUTD is a term that describes the following clinical signs:
- Irritability and restlessness
- Frequent trips to the litter box
- Constant licking around the penis
- Straining while in a squatting position (often mistaken for constipation)
- Urinating in unusual places about the house
- Bloody urine
If untreated or unnoticed, the condition may progress to urinary obstruction. Obstruction occurs because of sand-like crystals or mucous plugs in the urinary canal, making them unable to pass urine. Males are predisposed because their urinary passage (urethra) is narrower than that of females. It is one of the most serious and distressing cat diseases confronting cat owners and veterinarians. If the obstruction is not relieved promptly, affected cats rapidly become very sick and die.
With the kidneys unable to excrete urine, poisonous waste products build up. Cats with more advanced signs may emit deep cries of pain, strain constantly, have an enlarged and tender abdomen, or vomit and drool. They may also appear very quiet and unresponsive.
- RELIEF OF BLOCKAGE – This usually requires anaesthesia (unless the cat is already unconscious). Although anaesthesia may pose some risk if the cat is in a poor condition, there is no alternative. Most of these blockages yield to flushing by passing a fine tube through the urethra and into the bladder. The urinary catheter may be sutured into place for a few days and a restraint collar put on the cat to prevent removal of the catheter.
- INTRAVENOUS FLUID THERAPY – This is indicated when the cat is dehydrated or toxic and may be initiated even before the blockage is relieved in a very critical animal.
- ANTIBIOTICS – May be used to treat and/or prevent infections in the bladder.
- ANALYSIS OF URINE – To identify bacteria, cell types and urinary crystals present.
Cats can die from this condition even after the best treatment – the deaths are usually due to shock or kidney failure. The success of treatment is directly proportional to how quickly the cat is brought in for treatment. Unfortunately, this condition can recur, but there are medical and surgical methods that can help prevent recurrences in the long term.
Your cat will go home with strict instructions for regular supervision of toilet activities. Depending on the severity of the condition and what the vet has found on examination under general anaesthesia and on analysis of a sample of urine, your cat may go home on a special diet to dissolve crystals and control urine pH, as well as with other specific medication. The use of these will be fully explained to you.
If you see your cat crying or straining, please phone us immediately on 38991495.