Select a Topic
- What is a Urinary Tract Infection
- Causes of Urinary Tract Infections
- Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infections
- Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection
- Help for Urinary Tract Infections
What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
Urinary tract infections in cats cause urination to be extremely painful and uncomfortable. These infections are caused by bacteria that enter the urethra (the tube connecting the bladder to the exterior of the body through which urine flows), bladder or any part of the urinary tract. This infection can cause incomplete emptying of the bladder and, in some cases, blockages which can become fatal.
Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a term used to describe the collection of common symptoms that are seen in urinary tract infections. These symptoms include blood in the urine, frequent urination, painful urination and licking at the urinary opening.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?
Bladder stones, accumulations of debris, inflammation, bladder tumors or abnormalities of the structure of the urinary tract can cause and increase the risk of urinary tract infections.
Male cats at an average age of 4 years old are more prone to urinary tract disease. If left untreated, urinary tract infections can lead to more serious health complications such as kidney infections.
Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infections
The diagnosis of urinary tract infections is based on the symptoms, medical history and a physical examination. A urine test will be performed to check for a high pH balance, the presence of bacteria, crystals and red and white blood cells. Additional tests such as a urine culture, blood tests, x-rays and an ultrasound may be performed if there are recurring infections or a need to determine the cause of underlying diseases or abnormalities.
Symptoms and signs
The common symptoms and signs of urinary tract infections include:
- Straining to urinate
- Licking of the genitals
- Cloudy or bloody urine
- Urinating without passing much urine – only drops
- Urinating outside of the litter box
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in litter box habits
- Strong smell of ammonia in the urine
- Frequent urination
- Prolonged squatting or crying while trying to urinate
Help for Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections are usually treated with a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics, however, do not address the cause of the infections and frequent treatment of antibiotics can weaken the immune system and cause recurring infections. In more severe cases or with persistent urinary tract infections, surgery or catheterization may be recommended by your vet.
Herbal and homeopathic remedies have proven to be highly effective in relieving the symptoms as well as removing the causes of urinary tract and bladder infections in both humans and pets.
Herbs such as Cleavers, Burdock and Dandelion support the health of the urinary tract and aid in breaking the cycle of recurrent urinary tract infections. Homeopathic ingredients such as Cantharis and Staphysagria provide symptomatic relief for a variety of urinary problems such as cystitis and acute infections.
It is also important to support the immune system to help the body heal and prevent further infections. Herbs such as Echinacea, Milk thistle, Dandelion and Ashwaganda have been shown to have this effect.