Urine produced in a healthy urinary tract contains a great deal of dissolved minerals. In cats with feline urologic syndrome (FUS), mineral crystals collect in the urinary tract, especially the bladder and its outflow tract (urethra). The accumulating crystals irritate the lining of the urinary tract and may clump together to form “stones” in the bladder or obstruct the outflow or urine. Obstructions are relatively common in male cats and may be fatal if not treated promptly.
Signs of FUS include excessive licking of the genitalia, frequent voiding of small amounts of urine, urinating in unusual locations, blood in the urine, straining or evidence of pain during urination, and unproductive attempts to urinate. Total urinary obstruction results in depression, lack of appetite, vomiting, and eventually coma and death.
Despite intense study, no single cause for FUS has been discovered. We are, however, aware of several factors that may lead to FUS. These factors include bacterial and viral infections, diet, obesity, reduced physical activity, low water consumption, and prolonged urine retention. Castration does not cause FUS.
Important Points in Treatment
- FUS is an emergency, and prompt treatment is essential. Many cats require hospitalization for treatment. Treatment is designed to relieve the obstruction, flush the crystalline material from the urinary tract, treat any infections, correct any fluid imbalances, and institute preventive dietary therapy. Despite treatment, some cats die from irreversible kidney damage.
- While most cats respond to prompt treatment, the obstruction recurs in some cats within a few days or weeks. In some male cats with recurring disease, surgical enlargement of the urinary tract opening (perineal urethrostomy) is desirable.
- Medication: Give all medication as directed. Call the doctor if you cannot give the medication.
- Diet: Dietary control is essential to treatment and prevention of FUS. Diets designed to treat or prevent FUS contain minimum mineral levels and cause increased water consumption and production of acidic urine. Acidic urine tends to prevent formation of mineral crystals.
- See your veterinarian for special feeding instructions
Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur
- Your cat strains and/or cries when urinating.
- Your cat frequently passes small volumes of urine.
- Your cat has blood in the urine or urinates in unusual places.
- Your cat refuses to eat, seems depressed, or vomits.