Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease in Cats

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What is Feline Urinary Tract Disease?

Feline lower urinary tract disease, commonly referred to as FLUTD, does not describe only one condition but rather a plethora of conditions. Causes include cystitis, urinary stones and/or urethral obstruction.

Are There Any Breeds Particularly Affected?

No, there are no breeds particularly affected. Any cat breed can develop feline lower urinary tract disease.

Symptoms

Symptoms of feline lower urinary tract disease include the following:

  • Straining and/or crying while urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive licking of genital area
  • Blood in the urine
  • Not using the litterbox

Causes of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

As mentioned, there are multiple potential causes of feline lower urinary tract disease including the following:

Feline Idiopathic Cystitis: This is the most common cause of feline lower urinary tract disease. Cats with FIC attempt to urinate frequently due to bladder pain and often have blood in their urine.

Urinary Stones:
Urinary stones are rock-like formations within the urinary tract of a cat.

Urethral Obstruction:
This is the most serious cause of feline lower urinary tract disease. If your cat has a urethral obstruction, this means the urethra is partially blocked which may be life-threatening if not treated immediately. Male cats are at greater risk of developing a urethral obstruction.

Treatment

The treatment varies based upon the cause of the disease. The treatment for each is as follows:

Feline Idiopathic Cystitis: Symptoms of feline lower urinary tract disease generally resolve on their own after several weeks without treatment. If this is the cause, your veterinarian may recommend your cat be placed on a urinary tract health diet.

Urinary Stones:
In order to determine if your cat has urinary stones, X-rays and ultrasounds are generally conducted. The treatment of the urinary stones, if found, depends upon the severity of the stones. Surgical removal is often required.

Urethral Obstruction:
A urethral obstruction must be considered an emergency situation as this is life-threatening. If the urethra becomes fully blocked, the kidneys are no longer able to function. Death may occur within 24-48 hours so the need for immediate treatment is critical. Treatment generally involves catheterization and the administration of IV fluids. Dependent upon the severity of the obstruction and your cat’s reaction, the hospital stay can range from several days to several weeks.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

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