FLUTD in Cats

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a complex of various disease symptoms causing various lower urinary tract signs in both male and female cats.  Symptoms may include bloody urination, increased urgency and frequency, as well as inappropriate urination.  The lower urinary tract inflammation may lead to the development of crystals and mucous plugs, which may cause urinary tract obstruction, especially in male cats.

Primary urinary tract infections rarely are the cause of lower urinary tract disease in cats, and usually are only secondarily involved after urinary catheterization. Risk factors for cats in developing FLUTD include indoor-only overweight cats, and cats on dry food only diets. Environmental stresses often play a big role in cats with feline lower urinary tract disease.

FLUTD is a complex of various disease symptoms causing various lower urinary tract signs in both male and female cats.

I have found that even polyvalent vaccination can also predispose some cats to recurrent episodes of urinary tract inflammation. If your cat is experiencing any urinary tract symptoms, a veterinary exam and urine analysis with possible x rays to asses for bladder stones is recommended.  Treatment of feline lower urinary tract disease usually is palliative with use of anti-spasmodic prescription medications such as Phenoxybenzamine, as well as medications to lessen pain such as Buprenex and Amitryptylline.    I have found the herbal remedy Tinkle Tonic from Animal Essentials also helpful in managing cats with urinary discomfort.

Most cases will spontaneously improve over 5-7 days; however, some cats do need chronic therapy.  I have also found supplements such as Cosequin for cats helpful to soothe the urinary bladder.  Feeding all canned food or a proper homemade diet is also important in reducing symptom relapses. I have not found many of the processed commercial pet foods sold by many veterinarians useful in my experience.  I find that the poorer quality of these foods may lead to other health problems as well.

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  1. Domenica ChmielewskiSeptember 9, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    I recently started feeding my male cat with FLUTD royal canin urinary dry food, how long does it normally take for it to help with the FLUTD? He has started peeing anywhere outside the box and I have wall to wall carpeting. He does not like canned food, only to lick the gravy. Any help is appreciated, thank you.

  2. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 10, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Dry food of any kind is not ideal for cats with this syndrome, but I understand the difficulty in getting a finicky cat to eat that. See book The Natural Cat by Anitra Frazier, for home made diet options which are probably best. Also could try topping the wet food with a flavor enhancer called Dinner party by Halo, which can sometimes get finicky cats to eat new foods. Also consider asking vet about other supportive treatments for cats with this syndrome i.e anxiety/antispasmotic meds like amitryptylline, glucosamine agents like adaquan injections, etc. I would assume that your cat has had urine culture and/or x rays to make sure no rare infection or stones.

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