urinary tract disease

Urinary Tract Disease in Cats

urinary-tract-disease-cat-litter-box

Urinary tract disease in cats far too common (more on why that may be the case later in this article) and encompasses a whole range of problems, ranging from infection to crystals and bladder stones to life threatening blockage. Some urinary tract diseases are treatable, while others are irreversible.Continue Reading

Check Up At Home Wellness Test Helps Detect Problems Early

check-up-cat-test

This post is sponsored by Coastline Global

Cats are masters at hiding signs of illness. By the time a cat shows symptoms, a disease may already be at an advanced stage, making treatment more difficult and also more costly. This is one of the reasons why regular veterinary exams are so important. But wouldn’t it be nice if you had a way to detect health problems even before your cat is due for her annual or bi-annual check up?

Check Up is a quick, simple testing method that can give you an overall picture of your cat’s health by testing her urine. Continue Reading

2015 in Review: Our 5 Most Popular Feline Health Posts

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2015 has been a very good year for all of us here at The Conscious Cat. Our readership and fan base grew rapidly, thanks to all of you who read this blog every day, comment here and on our Facebook page, and share what you read with your friends and followers. Allegra, Ruby and I appreciate your support more than words can say.

With close to 400 posts, it’s hard to highlight only a handful of posts. Today, I’m featuring the year’s 5 most popular posts in the Feline Health category.Continue Reading

Preventive Home Testing with PawCheck Helps Detect Feline Health Problems Early

PawCheck_home_urine_test

Feline obesity has become an epidemic: a staggering 53% of America’s cats are considered overweight or obese. Obesity can lead to serious health problems in cats, including diabetes and kidney failure.

Regular home-testing can help detect abnormal conditions at an early stage, enabling your cat to get timely veterinary treatment. This is especially important for cats, who are masters at disguising symptoms until an illness is often in the advanced stages, making treatment more costly, and often more complicated.

Monitoring your cat’s urination habits at home is extremely important: Continue Reading

Urinary Blockage: A Serious Problem in Cats

orange and white male cat

Guest post by Lorie Huston, DVM

If your male cat is unable to urinate, he needs veterinary care immediately.

Feline urinary blockages are a true emergency and cats, particularly male cats, that are unable to urinate require emergency veterinary care in order to save their life.

What Is Feline Urinary Blockage?

More accurately termed feline urethral blockage, a urinary blockage occurs when the urethra of the cat (the tube that runs from the urinary bladder through the penis and to the outside of the body) becomes obstructed with stones, crystals or sludge. This blockage results in your cat being unable to urinate.

A Blocked Cat Represents an Emergency Situation

A urinary blockage will quickly become a life-threatening problem for your cat. Without immediate veterinary intervention to relieve the blockage, your cat will likely die from this disease.

Essentially, in a normal healthy cat that is urinating, waste products that are produced by the body are eliminated through the urine. When your cat is unable to urinate, he is also unable to rid his body of these waste products. In effect, a blocked cat ends up poisoning himself on his own waste.

Which Cats Are Likely to Become Blocked?

Cats that develop urinary blockages are almost always male. In the male cat, the urethra narrows as it passes through the penis. This is where most obstructions occur. Female cats are anatomically different than males and do not have this narrowing in the urethra. As a result, female cats rarely become obstructed.

Any male cat has the potential to become obstructed. I see more obstructions in neutered male cats than un-neutered males. This may be due to the fact that the vast majority of my male feline patients are neutered though. I also see more overweight cats experiencing urinary blockages. But I have seen un-neutered male cats in perfect body condition become obstructed as well.

Symptoms of Feline Urinary Blockage

Cats that are blocked will cry in pain and will make frequent attempts to urinate either in the litter box or outside of the litter box. Vomiting is common as toxicity develops. As your cat becomes more ill, he will stop eating and become lethargic. Eventually, your cat may even reach a comatose state. Urinary blockages are frequently fatal for cats and the course of events can happen relatively quickly. Cats that are blocked can go from being healthy in the morning to being in serious condition by later that same day.

Treatment for Urinary Blockage

Treatment involves relieving the obstruction, most often by passing a catheter through the urethra and into the bladder. The catheter may need to be left in place for a time after its placement to give the inflammation in the urethra time to resolve. During this time, your cat will actually be urinating through the catheter. Sedation is necessary in most instances in order to pass the catheter.

Supportive care in the form of intravenous fluids and other treatment as necessary to restore normal kidney function will be necessary also. Your veterinarian may want to monitor your cat’s blood values, particularly the blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine, to make certain that your cat’s kidneys are stabilizing. BUN and creatinine both provide measures of the amount of nitrogenous waste products present in the blood stream and are frequently used to check to check kidney function.

If stones are present in the urinary bladder, surgical removal may be recommended. Your veterinarian may recommend radiographs (x-rays) of your cat’s bladder to see if there are stones present. A urinalysis and culture/sensitivity of the urine will also likely be performed.

Your veterinarian may recommend placing your cat on a special diet once his recovery has begun. There are commercial diets that can help dissolve crystals and stones in the bladder and, depending on your cat’s individual situation, your veterinarian may recommend one of these diets. A canned diet may also be recommended to increase the amount of moisture consumed by your cat.

Encouraging your cat to drink water through the use of dripping faucets or water fountains is a good idea. Some people also add water to their cat’s food to increase water consumption.

Lorie Huston practiced veterinary medicine for over 20 years. Besides a successful career in a busy small animal hospital in Providence, RI, Lorie was also a successful freelance writer specializing in pet care and pet health topics. She was the president of the Cat Writers Association. Lorie Huston passed away in October of 2014 after becoming critically ill. 

Related reading:

How to prevent litter box problems

Chronic renal disease in cats