Monday, November 16, 2009

Question: Feline Urinary Issues pt 2

Dr. Schaeberle,

My cat continues to have urinary issues and problems, why?



Dear Heather,

As I reviewed last week there are many different causes of urinary issues in cats. In general the age of the cat is important in determining the cause.

Younger cats vs Older cats - the statistics:

In 50% of younger cats a cause cannot be determined. Only about 1 to 5% of young cats experienced true bladder infection.

Yet in a cat 10 years or older the percentages are reversed, 50% have an infection versus only 1 to 5% unknown causes.

A urinalysis is an essential first step in determining the disease causing the cystitis (inflammation of the bladder). Your veterinarian also may recommend x-rays of the bladder to check for stones. In some cases, a labratory test called a culture and sensitivity can be useful. The test checks urine to determine what bacteria might be growing within the bladder and what antibiotic can best be used to fight it.

I personally feel that most of our bladder diseases are related to a single problem. Cats are poor water drinkers and when urine gets extremely concentrated crystals can develop. The crystals then cause irritation, can form into stones or can create an environment susceptible to infection.

I remember many years ago reading an article in which it was suggested that cats were domesticated by the Egyptians thousands of years ago. As the Egyptians went into middle Africa in search of stones for their pyramids, they brought back kittens from the Congo River Valley. There is lots of water in the Congo River Valley and not much in the desert of Egypt. So the theory goes, cats were forced to drink less water over the centuries and as a result their urine became more concentrated. Although I’m not too sure about this story, it is true cats seem to drink less water than dogs and people.

Next week we are going to talk about the specific treatments for each form of bladder disease. Please visit, go to Resources, and explore feline lower urinary tract disease.

Thomas Schaeberle, V.M.D.

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