Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

What is FLUTD?

FLUTD stands for feline lower urinary tract disease. It is a general term used for a group of common feline urinary conditions that all have the same symptoms.

Signs your cat may show include:

  • Straining to urinate or spending more time in the litter tray
  • Peeing in abnormal places such as the bath or the bed
  • Blood in the urine
  • Licking at the genitalia
  • Vocalising when trying to go to the toilet

These signs occur because the lining of your cats bladder is inflamed – making it painful to go to the toilet.

Unfortunately recurrent bouts of FLUTD are common so if your cat has been diagnosed in the past keep an eye on their toileting habits.

What are the causes of FLUTD?

  • Idiopathic – idiopathic means ‘no known cause’  and the majority of cats fall into this category
  • Stress – often an episode of FLUTD is triggered by stress such as moving house, having the builders in, wet weather or you going away on holiday
  • Stones – sometimes crystals or bladder stones can form in the urine. They cause irritation to the urinary tract and can also cause more serious secondary problems such as urinary blockages, particularly in the male cat.

IF YOU THINK YOUR CAT IS UNABLE TO URINATE THIS IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY – YOU SHOULD VISIT YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY

  • Infection – bacterial infection can sometimes cause FLUTD, normally in older cats.
  • Cancer – this is a very rare cause of FLUTD, seen in only approximately 2% of cases.

How do we diagnose it?

FLUTD is provisionally diagnosed using a combination of the history and clinical signs. Normally a urine sample is needed to help identify the cause of inflammation. We test the urine in the clinic for the presence of blood and other debris to help confirm the diagnosis. Other tests such as urine culture or ultrasound scanning may be needed – particularly if your cat is suffering recurrent bouts of FLUTD.

How do we treat it?

Most cases of FLUTD get better within a week. In the meantime we can make your cat feel better and speed up their recovery by doing the following:

  • Give them pain relief to make them more comfortable and reduce inflammation in the bladder.
  • Providing fresh clean water and encouraging your cat to drink.
  • Feeding wet food to increase water intake.
  • Reducing stress by providing a calm environment and using calming medication where necessary.
  • Feeding prescription food that promotes a healthy bladder environment and helps dissolve urinary stones.
  • Give antibiotics if your cat is diagnosed with a urinary tract infection.