What is FLUTD?
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is the general name for a group of conditions that affect the lower urinary tract of cats (including bladder stones, urethral plugs, infections, cystitis, etc.).
If your cat is affected, she may make frequent, straining attempts to urinate, often with blood in the urine. She may also urinate in inappropriate places outside or around the litter box.
FLUTD can be a recurrent problem in cats of any age or sex. It is particularly troublesome and obvious in male cats because it may result in the blockage of the urinary tract, preventing normal passing of urine.
There are many causes of this painful condition
1. Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC): The most common cause of FLUTD in cats. It is a kind of sterile inflammation of the bladder wall. The cause is unknown, but FIC can be triggered by stressful situations, producing symptoms similar to those seen in people with cystitis.
2. Urethral plugs: Mucous and minute struvite crystals can build up to form a plug. A plug can move down into the urethra of your cat causing a very serious blockage.
3. Struvite and Oxalate crystals: Nutrition can influence the formation of crystals in sensitive cats.
4. Struvite and Oxalate stones: Crystals can clump together to form stones, causing discomfort and possibly urinary obstruction or blockage.
Food: As stones are made up of minerals, too many of these minerals in your cat's food can increase the risk of developing struvite and oxalate crystals and stones.
Other risk factors: Being overweight, not having enough activity, not drinking enough and stress can all contribute to urinary problems.
Look for the signs
Common signs of FLUTD are:
- Blood in urine
- Excessive straining when urinating
- Frequent trips to the litter tray
- Urinating indoors or in inappropriate places
- Restlessness, hiding away, refusal to eat
Important: If your cat is not urinating freely, a urinary blockage may be the cause. Contact your vet immediately as this condition is urgent and could be fatal if not treated.
Normal Posture to Urinate
- Head slightly inclined downwards
- May cry out
- Hunched-up posture
- Front legs vertical
- Hind legs more vertical
- Arched back
- Tense muscles
- Stifle joint further forward
Your vet may prescribe drugs and may also recommend feeding your cat special nutrition because the right food can help your cat regain full health more quickly.