Urinary tract ailments are the most common reason your cat will have to visit a veterinarian, with the exception of routine checkups and shots. The most serious urinary syndrome is Feline Urological Syndrome (FUS), which is also sometimes known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. Although the exact cause of FUS is not completely understood, it encompasses four common disorders:
The most serious symptom of this feline medical problem is caused when small crystals made up of calcium and magnesium form in the bladder. Occasionally these crystals or stones will bass from the bladder to the urethra, which is the small tube through which urine passes on its way out of the cat. When the urethra is blocked, the situation can become critical very rapidly. If left untreated, a feline with a blocked urethra who is unable to urinate can die within 48 hours. If you have a cat who shows signs of painful urination (they will usually cry inside the litter box), or blood in the urine, your pet should be taken to the animal hospital for examination immediately.
FUS is a very serious feline health concern. There is no immunization that can prevent this disease, but diet and knowing the right kind of food to provide is a good first step towards your cat’s urinary health. If your cat is prone to this disorder, he will probably start showing some of the first symptoms by the age of three. What should you do if your cat has been diagnosed with FUS to maintain long-term stability? There are a variety of canned commercial cat foods that can inhibit the formation of the Struvite crystals that can lead to blockage. Some vets say that canned food is a better prevention than dry, although this point is still being investigated.
What is known is that greater water consumption is beneficial towards preventing crystals and blockage. Many of the cat foods that promote urinary health contain a higher salt content so that your cat will want to drink more water. Overweight cats are at greater risk for FUS, so keeping your cat on a reduced calorie diet can be an important preventative measure as well.
If your cat shows signs of FUS it will always be considered a medical emergency. A completely blocked urethra can lead to death in as little as two days. At your veterinarian or animal hospital, the following steps will be taken:
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