FELINE URINARY SYSTEM DISORDERS

by Joelle Steele

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Disorders and diseases of the urinary tract are common in cats but that does not mean they are not serious. If your cat appears to be drinking or urinating more than usual, if his urine is bloody or cloudy, if he has a fever, or if he moves in a stiff manner and has a tender mid-back area, chances are he may have something wrong with his kidneys. If he demonstrates obvious pain or distress during urination, if he squats and strains without passing urine, if he dribbles or passes mucus or bloody urine, if he has sudden urges to urinate with or without passing urine, if he has pain and/or swelling in the lower abdomen, or if he is incontinent, his problem is probably in the bladder or urethra.

URINE TESTING

Lab tests are necessary to determine the exact cause of your cat's symptoms, so a visit to the veterinarian is in order. In most cases, that visit should be made immediately upon first noticing the symptoms since something as seemingly simple as a bladder infection could spread to the kidneys where it could become life-threatening. Since cats are so good at hiding their illnesses, a single instance of a symptom should be taken very seriously; it may be the only time you witness such a symptom but it is not necessarily the only time the cat has manifested it.

FELINE UROLOGIC SYNDROME

Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS) is the most common recurrent disorder of the male urinary tract. It seems to be more common in winter and among young, inactive male cats. With repeated bouts of FUS, the urethra may become narrow from scarring and this can lead to further attacks and to bacterial infections (cystitis). By the time a cat cannot urinate because he is obstructed, catheterization is usually required. The best treatment for lower urinary tract disorders such as FUS are preventative measures: keeping the litter box clean, keeping fresh water available at all times, preventing obesity, and, if your cat is at risk and if it is recommended and prescribed by your veterinarian, a low magnesium diet and the use of salt and urinary acidifiers.

KIDNEY DISEASE

Kidney disease is often chronic and most commonly seen in elderly cats. Veterinarians may recommend adding some salt to your cat's water bowl to stimulate thirst and may also recommend a low protein diet. Since large amounts of the B-Complex vitamins are lost in the urine, B vitamin supplements may be necessary. In addition, sodium bicarbonate tablets may be recommended to maintain proper acidity. Again, consult your veterinarian first.

TREATMENTS

Homeopathic remedies, which can be administered as pills or liquids, include such common treatments for urinary system disorders as Aconitum, Arsen Alb, Berberis Vul, Calc Phosph, Phosphorus, and Uva Ursi. Veterinarian George Macleod's book, "Cats: Homeopathic Remedies," offers a detailed look at the available treatments, describing the symptoms treated and the correct dosages. As with any other form of medication, consult your veterinarian first to insure that you have a proper diagnosis and that any emergency treatments are administered before you attempt holistic remedies.

This article last updated: 12/09/2013.

The articles on this Web site are informational only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice or treatment. Cats are not "one size fits all." They are different in terms of breed, age, health, lifestyle, and tolerance for different foods and other substances.