Bladder Problems in Cats
Veterinarian Reviewed on September 6, 2012 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Fall is a time of pumpkins, apple picking and bladder problems in cats. Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is common problem in cats. Symptoms of FLUTD can be varied and range from a cat urinating outside the litter box to a complete urinary obstruction which is an emergency in male cats. Although this condition affects both male and female cats, urinary blockage generally occurs only in male cats.
Common symptoms of this syndrome are: urinating outside the box, bloody urine, straining to urinate, licking the genitals and howling, or complete obstruction. Causes of this syndrome can be urinary stones or crystals, bladder infections, bladder cancer or unknown causes. 50 % of all cases will be idiopathic cystitis–which means that inspite of extensive testing a cause may never be determined. Idiopathic cystitis is speculated to have its roots in stress. In cats over 10 years of age, infection and kidney disease are the most common cause of urinary problems.
Treatment depends on the cause of your cat’s problem. If your cat is having difficulty urinating, you should treat this as an emergency, particularly if your cat is a male. Whatever your cat’s age or sex, if he or she is urinating blood, seek veterinary attention immediately. Your veterinarian will determine if a urinary tract obstruction is present. If it is, that will mean your cat will need an anesthetic to be catheterized, have the obstruction removed and put on IV fluids and other medications. Sometimes these cats need surgery to remove bladder stones. In cats that have urinary stones it is important to get them off of dry food. Canned food or a good natural homemade diet is key to helping your cat recover from this disease.
Since a lot of these cats have idiopathic cystitis there are a few things you can do to help prevent recurrences of this problem. Feed small meals on a frequent basis.
For cats with a history of stone formation, owners should feed diets that promote the formation of urine that is acidic. This can be commercial or homemade diets.Provide clean, fresh water at all times.Provide an adequate number of litter boxes (usually one more than the number of cats in the household).Keep litter boxes in quiet, safe areas of the house.Keep litter boxes clean. Minimize major changes in routine.
Alternative treatments again depend on the cause of the problem. Chinese herbal formulae can be helpful to dissolve stones. If your cat has kidney issues that are causing excess urination you can try Kidney Support Gold. It is a great formula! I have used acupuncture, food therapy, Chinese herbs, nutritional supplements and homeopathy on some of these cats. It can be a very frustrating condition to treat, but don’t give up as there are a lot of options!
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan