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Urinary Infection

Feline Urinary Tract Infection

The terms “feline urologic syndrome” and “FUS” are being less commonly used by the veterinary profession as diagnostic terms to describe disorders of cats characterized by blood in the urine, difficulty urinating and a partial or complete obstruction, because various combinations of these signs can be associated with any cause of lower urinary tract disease in cats. Owners typically notice their pet straining to urinate, blood in the urine, urinating in inappropriate locations and a complete lack of urination if the cat is blocked.

There does not appear to be a genetic predisposition to this disease, but there can be several pathogens that can cause FUS. Clinical studies have implicated several viruses (calicivirus, feline syncytia-forming virus, and a herpesvirus) as potential causes in some cats. Often these infections happen without the presence of bacteria.

The most common causes of feline urinary tract disease are metabolic disorders, viral infection, bacterial infections, fungal infections, trauma, neurologic disorders, bladder stones and tumors.

Signs of lower urinary tract disease in cats can be confused with constipation and straining to poop, which can be ruled out by abdominal palpation of a thickened, firm and contracted bladder wall on the physical examination. A complete urinalysis including examination of the sediment is the most commonly used laboratory test to diagnosis FUS, though a urine culture to determine the type of bacteria and/or an immunofluorescent antibody test may be used to diagnose herpesvirus in some cats. If bladder stones or tumors are suspected, x-rays or ultrasound may be necessary.

Cats with non-obstructive lower urinary tract diseases are typically managed as outpatients. However, patients with obstructive lower urinary tract disease usually require hospitalization for diagnosis and treatment.  These patients typically require the penis to be catheterized to flush debris, plugs and stones back into the bladder for medical management or removal. These patients are generally treated with IV fluids and antibiotics. In rare cases, surgical intervention to remove bladder stones or to perform a perineal urethrostomy (removal of the penis and opening of the urethra) may be necessary to prevent further blockage and life-threatening conditions.

If you think your cat may have a bladder infection or feline urologic syndrome…

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