Petcare for Cats

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a broad term that is used to cover a number of conditions associated with the cat’s lower urinary tract. This may present as a variety of problems. A common condition involves an obstruction in the urethra. This is commonly known as plugged-penis syndrome or blocked cat syndrome. Complete urethral obstruction is fatal if left untreated. Male cats  tend to be more susceptible to the disease due to their anatomical differences from a female. This condition has a high rate of recurrence and some cats are more susceptible to urinary problems than others.

The blockage in the urethra is commonly formed by cyrstal precipitates or mucus or a combination of both. Renal failure will follow in 3-4days of complete obstruction. Veterinary attention is crucial as this condition can be life-threatening.

Risk Factors

  • Age: Uncommon in cats younger than 1 year of age. Most commonly occurs in cats within the 2 to 5 age group.
  • Sex: Male and neutered male cats are at greater risk for urethral obstruction than females because their urethra is longer and narrower. Non-obstructive FLUTD occur equally in males and females.
  • Neutering: as abov
  • Dehydration
  • Diet: Dry food
  • Obesity

A common set of symptoms, which includes frequent trips to the litter box, prolonged squatting and straining during attempts to urinate, small amounts of urine voided in each attempt, blood in the urine and urinating outside of the litter box. Owners with outdoor cats may not be able to observe the symptoms associated with litter box use and should watch for unusual behavioral changes.

A cat experiencing a urethral obstruction behaves similarly to any other cat with FLUTD. However, as time passes, the bladder fills up with urine and cause painful bladder distension. Kidney failure and uremia will follow within hours. The cat becomes increasingly distressed, and may howl or cry out in pain. The male cat may constantly lick at his penis and the penis may be protruded. The cat may seek seclusion, stop eating and drinking, begin to vomit, and become lethargic and eventually comatose as toxins accumulate in the bloodstream.

Urethral obstruction is a serious medical emergency which will lead to death if not treated in time. Any cat suspected of suffering from this condition should be seen immediately by a veterinarian.