Tuesday, February 26, 2008

FLUTD

What is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease?
Source: Cornell Feline Health Center

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) describes a collection of conditions that can affect the bladder and urethra of cats. This syndrome can have many possible causes, but cats generally exhibit similar, recognizable signs. Cats with FLUTD usually show signs of difficulty and pain when urinating, increased frequency of urination, and blood in the urine. Affected cats tend to lick their genital area excessively, and sometimes they will urinate outside the litter box, often preferring cool, smooth surfaces like a tile floor or a bathtub.

While the condition can be seen in cats of any age, it is most frequently seen in middle-aged, over-weight cats that get little exercise, use an indoor litter box, have restricted access outside, and eat a dry diet. Environmental factors, such as interactions with owners, multi-cat households, and changes in routine may also increase the risk that a cat will develop FLUTD.

Steps to Reduce Occurences and Signs of Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Feed small meals on a frequent basis.

For cats with a history of struvite formation, owners should feed diets that promote the formation of urine that is acidic. Avoid supplementing such diets with additional urinary acidifiers, because over-acidification can cause metabolic acidosis, impaired kidney function, and mineral imbalance.

Provide clean, fresh water at all times.
Provide an adequate number of litter boxes (usually one more than the number of cats in the household).
Keep litter boxes in quiet, safe areas of the house.
Keep litter boxes clean.
Minimize major changes in routine.

Signs of Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Straining to urinate.
Frequent and/or prolonged attempts to urinate.
Crying out while urinating.
Excessive licking of the genital area.
Urinating outside the litter box.
Blood in the urine.

***Cats with a urethral obstruction will show the above signs but will pass little or no urine and will become increasingly distressed. A urethral obstruction is an absolute emergency, requiring immediate veterinary treatment.***

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