Failure to urinate or passing little urine can be a sign of a urethral obstruction and is a veterinary emergency.
FLUTD refers to a range of disorders that lead to difficulty in urinating. FLUTD is more commonly seen in cats older than 4 years of age and rarely diagnosed in young cats. Cats with chronic kidney disease or diabetes seem to be more predisposed to the condition.
Risk factors for FLUTD:
Common signs of FLUTD:
Common causes of FLUTD:
Age seems to play a role in the cause of FLUTD in cats with cats greater than 10 years of age often having more straightforward cases than younger cats.
|Top causes of FLUTD in older cats||Top causes of FLUTD in younger cats|
As there are many different causes for lower urinary tract disease, we need to determine the cause to be able to treat appropriately. Some of the causes are:
Cystitis & FIC
Cystitis often occurs on and off resolving without treatment within 3-5 days. It is estimated that over 50% of cats that suffer from FLUTD have cystitis with feline idiopathic cystitis thought to be the most common cause of FLUTD in cats.
Bladder crystals or stones
Bladder crystals and stones are also commonly occurring in approximately 20% of cases. The most common types are struvite or calcium oxalate and can cause blockage of the urethra, especially in male cats. This is an emergency situation and needs veterinary attention a.s.a.p.
Urinary tract cancer
Only 1-5% of cats will have urinary tract cancer.
Only 1-5% of cats will have problems relating to trauma such as being hit by a car.
A full workup is required to determine the cause of the urinary system problem. We will usually start with checking your cat's urine in our clinic, but other urine tests may also be needed, including microscopic cytology and culture and sensitivity testing. Depending on the findings we may also need to run a blood panel, and imaging such as radiographs or ultrasound to determine the cause.
Bringing in a fresh urine sample can be very helpful for your veterinarian.
Tips on how to collect a urine sample at home:
Sometimes, we will need to keep your cat in hospital to collect a sterile urine sample.
The goal of treatment, depending on the findings, is to increase water consumption, reduce stress, manage the infection and crystals, and reduce pain.
Management of FLUTD:
Unfortunately, some cats will experience frequent recurrences of FLUTD. Careful, long-term monitoring is required in these cases.
Tips to help prevent FLUTD:
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Longstaff L, Gruffydd-Jones TJ, Buffington CT, et al. Owner-reported lower urinary tract signs in a cohort of young cats. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 2017; 19:609-618.
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