FELINE URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS - an overview
At Pet NutriSystems we encourage a proactive approach to pet health. It is the best way to protect our pets and keep them healthy. If your cat has recurring symptoms of urinary tract infections, we offer well-researched products and information that give much needed support when your friend needs it most. By following the proper guidelines to urinary tract health today you give your cat the best advantage for the future.
More About UTIs
Urinary tract infections (UTI) in cats are commonly referred to as bladder infections, cystitis, feline urological syndrome (FUS), feline lower urinary tract disorders (FLUTD), etc. UTIs break down into 3 basic categories: bladder infection/inflammation, bladder stones/crystals and urinary tract blockages.
The most common symptoms include:
Although UTIs usually occur in younger cats (average age is 4), very young and very old cats may also develop the condition. Symptoms that occur for the first time in cats over age 10 are viewed differently because it is less likely they have stones or blockages and more likely they have a true infection. It is also important to note that cats with conditions like diabetes and chronic kidney disease are more susceptible to urinary tract infections. Following a urinary health protocol can be especially beneficial for them.
- Frequent trips to the litter box and only producing a small amount of urine
- Prolonged squatting or straining (often confused with constipation)
- Blood in the urine
- Increased licking of genital area
- Painful urination (cat may howl or meow)
- Urination in inappropriate places. Cats may associate the litter box with their pain and look for a safe place to go. This is a cry for help so be sure not to scold.
Let's look a little closer at each of the basic categories:
There are a number of natural approaches that are very effective in assisting cats with UTI. Proper diet and supplementation can help reduce or eliminate recurrences. With proper diagnosis from your veterinarian, natural products may also be used to shorten recovery time when symptoms are present.
- Bladder infection and inflammation - In younger cats approximately 60% of UTI cases are diagnosed as “idiopathic cystitis” which means the inflammation is of unknown cause and no bacteriological infection was found. With or without signs of bacteria, the standard treatment is usually antibiotics. Some antibiotics have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties so they are used even if there are no bacteria to kill. Since some antibiotics can have negative side effects and the over-use of antibiotics can be problematic, many holistic veterinarians and pet owners choose alternative treatments that are often just as effective in treating bouts of idiopathic cystitis. Stress is frequently cited as a possible trigger so certain lifestyle changes can also be helpful in reducing the number of occurrences.
- Bladder stones and crystals - Crystals are mineral deposits that are typically expelled during urination. When your cat's Ph level is out of balance more crystals form than can be adequately flushed out and they may attach to each other and form stones. Stones and crystals have an irritating effect on the bladder and in turn cause inflammation. Struvite stones are caused when the urine Ph is too alkaline and calcium oxalate stones are formed when the urine Ph is too acidic. It is thought that the major cause of stones and crystals is diet and/or lack of proper hydration.
- Urinary tract blockages - This is the most dangerous category of UTI. Crystals combined with mucus from the inflamed bladder lining is most often the culprit. The build up of toxins can result in kidney failure and death in as little as 24 hours. If you suspect your cat has a blockage, seek medical help immediately.
A comprehensive approach for achieving improved urinary tract function is a multi-step process.