by Soojin Um
Feline lower urinary tract disease, or FLUTD, is a common ailment among adult cats. It is often seen in older, male cats, though it can be diagnosed in female cats as well. FLUTD is usually detected in cats that have problems while urinating, such as experiencing pain (your cat may cry out when going to the bathroom), blood in urine, going outside the litter box, and excessive licking in the irritated area.
So what causes FLUTD? Unfortunately there are many potential causes, and diagnosing them on your own may not be easy. One way to find out if your cat has FLUTD is to visit your veterinarian. They can do tests to see if your cat’s urine has low acidity or show signs of infection or urinary stones. Urinary stones can develop from a buildup of calcium or magnesium in the body, usually through diet. If the case is severe enough, or a special diet doesn’t solve the problem, surgery may be required to remove the stones.
If FLUTD is caused by an infection, the veterinarian can prescribe antibiotics and other medications to relieve the condition. Other treatments can vary depending on the symptoms and severity. Fluid therapy, for example, can help the bladder to rid it of some types of urinary stones. Acidifying supplements could also help treat FLUTD.
How does acidity help? The acidity in urine is your cat’s first line of defense from FLUTD from forming. If the acidity is high, it can prevent or break up urinary stones. To facilitate this, the food you give your cat should be low in magnesium and high in animal protein. Protein will cause your cat’s urine to become more acidic, while carbohydrates tend to make it more alkaline. Acidic urine makes the urinary tract less susceptible to infections and can prevent calcium and magnesium buildup.
Proper hydration is also very important in preventing FLUTD in your cat. Access to plenty of clean water is essential. Water will flush and clean the urinary tract, preventing harmful substances from building up in the body. Feeding your cat canned wet food is also a good way to get your cat to take in more water. Considering that cats in the wild get a majority of their water from their prey, wet food is a natural way for your cat to get its water needs. More water means more consistent urination, and that’s a sign of a healthy urinary tract.
FLUTD can be a serious and painful medical issue for your cat. You can, however, play a part in helping to prevent this from happening. If you see signs of difficulty in your cat’s bathroom routine, the first thing you should do is take your cat to the vet. They can prescribe treatment, or give recommendations on prevention. And that could mean peace of mind for you and your cat.
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