Idiopathic Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

It has been estimated that up to 1.5% of all cats in the United States suffer from a lower urinary tract disorder. One survey showed that up to 9% of cats taken to veterinarians in Japan also suffer from these problems. Cats can develop a number of problems related to the bladder and urethra. Commonly used terms are FUS (feline urologic syndrome) and FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease). The confusion over names reflects the confusing and changing nature of these problems in cats. As long as 70 years ago, signs of lower urinary tract disease in cats were commonly seen by veterinarians. Today, these remain some of the most challenging and frustrating problems in feline medicine.

A common term used in describing some of these conditions is cystitis, which means inflammation of the bladder. Urethritis means inflammation of the urethra, the tube leading from the bladder to void urine outside the body. There are several sub-types of identifiable problems associated with lower urinary tract disease in cats. They include: idiopathic cystitis (also sometimes called interstitial cystitis), bladder stones (uroliths), anatomical defects, behavioral abnormalities, urethritis, bacterial infections (bacterial cystitis), neoplasia (tumors of the bladder), and crystalluria (presence of crystals in the urine).

Regardless of the cause, there are common symptoms that may be seen in cats with any lower urinary tract disease. They include: hematuria (blood in the urine), dysuria (difficulty passing urine), pollakiuria (increased frequency of urination), and urinating out of the litter box. While many of the conditions discussed in this article can also lead to partial or total urethral obstruction, the typical patient is presented without an obstruction. When a cat is presented to the veterinarian for possible lower urinary tract disease, the vet will first determine if a urinary obstruction exists by palpating the bladder. This article deals with non-obstructive cases, which are the most common type.   ..... [Read complete article]


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  • July 2006: Steps to prevent feline lower urinary tract disease
Urinary Tract Disease in Cats
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