How To Treat Urinary Tract Infection In Cats
Almost all urinary tract infections can be treated on an outpatient basis. In addition to antibiotics, your veterinarian may recommend an injection of subcutaneous fluids to help rehydrate your cat, as well as a short course of pain medications . Occasionally, if a cat is debilitated or if the UTI has spread to the kidneys , hospitalization may be recommended.
Diet plays a part in treatment and can help prevent additional UTIs. Drinking plenty of water will help flush out the bladder, and get rid of crystals and cellular debris that can lead to the creation of urinary tract stones. If there are excess crystals in the urine, a special diet will be necessary for a few weeks to change the pH of the urine, which will help dissolve the crystals. Once the crystals are gone, talk to your vet about a preventative diet that will prevent the crystals from reforming.
Cystitis And Lower Urinary Tract Disease In Cats
Cystitis is a general term referring to inflammation in the urinary bladder. The term cystitis does not imply a specific underlying cause. In cats, diseases of the lower urinary tract are often grouped under the term feline lower urinary tract disease . The initial diagnosis of FLUTD is based on the identification of signs of lower urinary tract inflammation.
Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infection In Cats
When diagnosing a UTI, your veterinarian will begin by taking a complete medical history. The vet may ask about changes in your cats water consumption, frequency of urination, amount of urination, how the urine looks, and any behavioral changes. Your vet will also perform a physical examination to assess the bladder and kidneys, as well as the genitalia and sometimes the rectum. If there is trouble with urination, a neurological exam may be conducted.
Your cats urine and blood will also be tested. Urinalysis is one of the most important and useful tests for diagnosing a UTI. It will look for the presence of certain chemicals or substances in the urine, like sugar, ketones, bilirubin, blood, and protein. A urinalysis is best conducted on a fresh urine sample to prevent inaccurate results.
Based on the findings, additional testing may need to be conducted. In particular, a urine culture may be performed to confirm the presence of an infection and to determine what type of bacteria are involved. Since it often takes 3 to 5 days to obtain final culture results, your veterinarian will likely start your cat on broad-spectrum antibiotics in the interim. The typical duration of antibiotic therapy is 7 to 14 days.
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Which Cats Are Most At Risk For Utis
While any cat can get a UTI, some cats are more susceptible to infection than others. For example, older cats and cats with bladder stones and diabetes mellitus are more at risk for developing a UTI. The cat breeds thought to most commonly suffer from bladder stones include Himalayans, Persians, and Siamese cats.
Whats more, male cats are more likely to suffer from Urethral Obstructions, as their urethras are longer and thinner than those of female cats. Due to a more narrow passage, the male urethra is more likely to be blocked.
Noninfectious Diseases Of The Urinary System Of Cats
, VMD, PhD, DACVIM, Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia
Not every disease is caused by infection with bacteria, viruses, or other outside agents. There are a variety of noninfectious disorders that can impair the urinary system. All of these diseases and conditions can be serious threats to the health of your cat.
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What Is Feline Cystitis
When cats have cystitis it means that their bladders are inflamed. Feline idiopathic cystitis or FIC describes cystitis which has an unexplained medical cause. It is a really common condition and is not normally a serious health concern, but can be very uncomfortable for your cat. FIC is more common in younger felines and episodes tend to reduce with age. FIC is different from a bladder infection, bladder stones or more serious urinary tract conditions, but can often present the same symptoms.
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My Veterinarian Sent A Sample Of Urine To A Laboratory For What She Called A Culture And Sensitivity Test What Is This
All urinary tract infections are NOT created equal! Even though the most common organism to cause UTIs in cats is Escherichia coli , there are several other organisms that may be involved. The only way to identify which specific bacteria is causing the UTI, is to grow it in a laboratory. At the same time, the laboratory can also test which antibiotic is best suited to treat the infection.
“The only way to identify which specific bacteria is causing the UTI, is to grow it in a laboratory.”
Often, a veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic that is among the most commonly used for treating UTIs in order to try to provide immediate relief to the cat. They may also prescribe pain medications , and may recommend a diet change.
Once the culture and sensitivity results are received, an appropriate antibiotic will be prescribed. After the course of antibiotics is given, it is important to recheck the urinalysis to confirm that the infection is resolved. If it is not, then it will be important to look for other issues that may contribute to a persistent UTI.
My Cat Suddenly Began Going To The Litterbox Very Frequently A Sample Of Urine Revealed A Bladder Infection How Did This Happen
While urinary tract disorders are fairly common in cats, urinary tract infections are fairly uncommon. Cats with UTIs try to urinate very frequently, they may pass only small amounts of urine, they may strain to urinate, they may cry out or whine when urinating, and there may be blood visible in their urine. Urinating outside of the litterbox is also a red flag that something is wrong in the bladder. Finally, frequent licking around the rear end may signal that a UTI is present.
Generally, a UTI occurs when bacteria travel up the urethra and into the bladder. Urine in the bladder is supposed to be sterile, but once bacteria find their way to the bladder, the bacteria can grow and reproduce, causing the UTI. Some cats will develop bladder stones, with or without a UTI, and this opens the door for additional health issues.
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Are Some Cats Predisposed To Utis
Older female cats, and cats with diabetes mellitus , develop UTIs more commonly than the general population. Cats who have bladder stones are prone to recurrent UTIs, pointing out the importance of getting a complete diagnosis whenever there are signs of disease in the urinary tract. Bladder stones must be removed or dissolved in order to restore bladder health .
Cystitis In Cats Top Facts
- Feline idiopathic cystitis in cats is inflammation of the bladder with an unknown medical cause
- Cystitis in cats is very common and easily treated with anti-inflammatory medication, but can recur
- Stress is thought to be the most significant cause of cystitis in cats, so there is lots owners can do to help
- But owners of male cats must look out for warning signs of a blocked bladder which is a serious, life-threatening condition, which can have the same symptoms of cystitis in cats
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Other Types Of Urinary Tract Problems In Cats
UTI’s aren’t the only type of urinary tract problem in cats. More commonly, cats develop inflammation or stones.
- Urine Crystals – Crystals can be problematic because they can develop into troublesome bladder stones. There are several different types of urine crystals.
- Bladder Stones – Multiple different types of bladder stones exist and sometimes bacteria contributes to their formation. Small stones can cause a cat to be obstructed and unable to urinate which is why they are life threatening.
- Urinary Tract Inflammation – Also referred to as cystitis, inflammation can be dangerous in a cat. The urethra may swell and cause a cat to be unable to urinate which can be fatal.
Can My Cat Get A Urinary Infection From Another Cat Can They Pass It To Me
Urinary problems can be very upsetting for owners and cats-but can urinary infections be passed to other animals or people? These painful and stubborn problems can be caused by bladder stones, infections and other sources of inflammation.
Many owners have lots of questions about how urinary infections are transmitted. Can your cat get a urinary infection from another cat? Could they even give one to you?
The answer is no.
Urinary tract infections cannot be spread from cat to cat, or from cat to human. You also cannot give a urinary infection to your cat. The bacteria responsible for infections do not cause disease in both humans and cats. Problems such as kidney and bladder stones are not transmittable at all.
I hope this answers your question on whether cats can spread urinary tract infections.
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The Link Between A Dirty Litter Box And Flutd
Cats find a dirty litter box an affront to their dignity.
Without the cat equivalent of a clean toilet and soft toilet paper, they face a stark choice. Hold on and hope someone finally cleans the tray, use a facility they find repellent, or find their own spot to relieve themselves.
These decisions cause the cat stress.
And stress is a very real thing that causes an increase in hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These have a knock-on physiological effect on the body. For cats, this shows up as inflammation of the nerves supplying the bladder, leading to inflammation of the bladder wall.
An inflamed bladder sends out a similar message to a full bladder. The cat believes they need to pee. Only theres a problem because the tray is dirty.
See where this is going?
Its a vicious circle of stress and more stress that doesnt end well.
But what about infection?
Actually, a true urine infection is relatively uncommon in cats, especially in young ones.
The statistics tell us that for every 100 young cats showing signs of difficulty peeing, only 3 will have an infection. The other 97 are all the result of bladder inflammation.
The problem being, the symptoms of a urinary tract infection are the same as those of a bladder inflammation. So what are these signs?
Cat Urinary Tract Infections: Signs To Look Out For
Olivia is a copywriter and loving aunt to two short-haired cats, Tommy and Benny, and a cockapoo named Teddy.
- Olivia Watson
- Dog Urinary Tract Infections: Signs To Look Out For
Cat urinary tract infections arent very common, but they can affect felines of any age or size. If your cat is peeing outside of their litter box or producing less urine or no urine at all, it could be a sign that your cat is suffering from one. Though sometimes harder to spot in kittens who are still litter training, changes in your cats bathroom habits are one of the biggest indicators something is wrong.
Lets dive into other signs of urinary tract infections in cats, why they happen, and how you can get your kitty feeling better in no time.
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What Are The Clinical Signs Of Fic
Clinical signs of FIC are similar to other cases of FLUTD, the most common being:
- Dysuria difficulty or painful urination
- Pollakiuria increased frequency of urination
- Haematuria blood in the urine
- Periuria urinating outside the litter-box
- Overgrooming especially around the perineum
- Stranguria this is the term used to describe a blockage to the urethra cats will strain to urinate and try to pass urine but will be unable to. Cats with inflammation due to FIC may have functional blockage due to muscle spasm or from urethral plug. This is seen mainly in male cats, as their urethras are longer and narrower than in female cats, and so more likely to become blocked. Although not common, if this occurs it should be treated as an emergency and your cat should be taken to a vet immediately.
These signs are discussed in more detail in FLUTD signs, causes and investigation. As mentioned in some male cats with FIC, urethral blockage may also occur as a result of severe inflammation and spasm of the muscles surrounding the urethra, these cats may intermittently produce small volumes of urine so we would advise any cat with persistent signs of dysuria or stranguria is assessed by their veterinarian promptly.
What Is Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection is an infection that occurs anywhere along the urinary tract, for example, the bladder, kidneys, ureters, urethra and/or prostate gland . Typically, a UTI results when bacteria from the skin or the gastrointestinal tract find their way up the urethra and lodge in the bladder. Urine in the bladder is sterile, but if bacteria manage to lodge there, they can grow and reproduce, causing an infection.
Although UTIs are fairly uncommon in young cats, the incidence is much higher in older cats, particularly those over the age of 10 years. UTIs in male cats are far more dangerous because male cats have a narrower urethra than female cats. When a UTI occurs, the bacteria can cause a change urine pH . High pH, meaning that the urine is too alkaline, can lead to the formation of crystals in the urine, which can become lodged in the narrow urethra of a male cat, causing a blockage. A blocked urethra is deadly and should be treated immediately by a veterinarian.
Infection of the bladder by bacteria is also known as bacterial cystitis. Sometimes the bacteria migrate from the bladder to lodge in the kidneys, causing a kidney infection called pyelonephritis. Some cats will develop bladder stones with or without a UTI, which creates additional health issues. Recurrent urinary tract infections can contribute to the development of feline lower urinary tract disease .
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Keeping The Litter Box Clean
Since the main cause of UTIs in cats is a dirty litter box, its crucial that you stay on top of keeping it clean to prevent the likelihood of infection.
Ideally, cat parents should be scooping their cats litter box daily and cleaning the box every two to three weeks.
If you cant always keep up with cleaning your cats litter box, a self-cleaning box might be the way to go.
We tried the Litter-Robot 3 Connect on our own cats and were instantly obsessed, so we awarded it our Paw of Approval.
Theres also PrettyLitter we also tried this ourselves and gave it our Paw of Approval which is litter that changes color based on your cats urinary health.
Basically, when your cat goes to the bathroom, her litter will turn a different color to indicate whether shes healthy, has an infection or is struggling with stones.
Now that you know what causes UTIs in cats, you can effectively prevent them and keep your BFF nice and healthy.
And if for some reason she still winds up with an infection, take your cat to the vet to get it cleared up ASAP, before it gets serious.
How Is Flutd Diagnosed
Because FLUTD has many causes, it can be difficult to diagnose. Based on your cat’s symptoms, your veterinarian will do a physical examination and most likely will run a urinalysis assessing urine pH and concentration and presence of crystals, bleeding, inflammation and infection. If the cause is still not identified, tests such as urine culture, x-rays, blood work and additional urine tests may be recommended.
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What Can I Do At Home To Prevent Future Occurrences Of Flutd
Depending on the underlying cause for FLUTD, the clinical signs may never, or only occasionally, reoccur. However, recurrence is more common with FIC. To help reduce the chances of recurrence:
- Feed small meals on a frequent basis.
- Consult with your veterinarian about the best diet for your cat. Many commercial diets are acceptable, but some urinary conditions respond better to specialized diets. Canned food may be preferred.
- Provide clean, fresh water at all times.
- Provide an adequate number of litter boxes with the type of litter that the cat prefer
- Keep litter boxes in quiet, safe areas of the house.
- Keep litter boxes clean they should be scooped twice a day and the litter changed weekly .
- Minimize major changes in routine.
- Reduce stress.
How Vets Diagnose Cat Fungal Infections
Due to the vast number fungi found in North America, and because many types of fungal infections are more regional or rare, these infections can be challenging to diagnose.
At Veterinary Medical And Surgical Group in Orange County, our veterinarians can utilize our state of the art lab and diagnostic technology when in diagnosing and treating cats with internal conditions such as fungal infections.
If your cat is showing symptoms of a fungal infection your vet will run through your cat’s medical history with you then perform a thorough physical examination. If a fungal infection is suspected your vet may recommend one or more of the following in order to determine the type of fungus causing the infection, and the best treatment for your cat:
- Complete blood count
- Urinalysis to check kidney function and look for other signs of an internal fungal infection
- Tissue samples taken for analysis
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