Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)
Burns Real Food for Cats is suitable for cats of
all agesIdiopathic (no specific cause) FLUTD affects ¼ -
½ million cats each year in the United States.
FLUTD is the collective term for many health problems,
such as cystitis, urinary crystals/stones and urinary tract infections.
However, many of the symptoms are similar: frequent urination, urinary
incontinence, straining to urinate, blood in the urine, urination
in unusual places, painful urination and changes in urine volume
In serious cases FLUTD may lead to anorexia, vomiting,
urinary blockage, depression and diarrhoea (caused by the bladder
filling to excess and stopping the kidney from efficiently removing
It is estimated that 10% of cats are suffering from
FLUTD. FLUTD can be caused by mucosal irritation in the urinary
tract. Although, most cases seem to have no apparent cause, possible
factors which may lead to irritation include: viruses, bacteria,
crystals and calculi. Most common are the crystals/stones or calculi
in the urinary tract (viruses and bacteria are quite rare). The
stones/crystals are known as uroliths of which, the two most common
are Struvite uroliths and Calcium oxalate uroliths.
The incidence of these stones has changed over the
last 15 years, struvite uroliths have decreased in incidence and
calcium oxalate uroliths have increased in incidence, the reason
for this is thought to be due to new types of urine acidifying diets
available to prevent Struvite uroliths.
Research has suggested that Persian, Himalayan and
Burmese breeds are more likely to suffer from FLUTD, as are overweight,
older and male cats. Uroliths block the flow of urine from the bladder.
This is more likely in male cats because they have a longer, narrower
Feline cystitis is thought to be caused by an abnormality
in the bladder epithelium (membrane). The epithelium is supposed
to filter out unwanted substances but in the case of cystitis it
may be allowing some through, causing irritation and inflammation.
Other views on cystitis are that it is caused by
stress. Stress may be caused by a change in environment e.g. moving
house, a new addition to the home e.g. anything from furniture to
a new pet, visitors, a change in diet or even the weather.
Some vets have suggested feeding cats in a multi-cat
household separately. This avoids stress caused by competition over
food. It also avoids over-feeding by more greedy cats.
Cystitis may be induced if the cat has been ‘holding
on’ to urine. They will prefer to go to the toilet in a clean
litter tray, so make sure you clean it regularly. Hooded litter
trays are not preferable, as owners tend to leave waste in them
for longer. Cats may also prefer to urinate and defecate in separate
trays, so providing two trays can help. It is recommended that if
you have more than one cat, they should all have their own litter
tray. Try not to place the litter tray near their food, cats do
not like going to the toilet where they eat!
According to alternative vet, Richard Allport in
his book 'Heal Your Cat, the Natural Way', Vitamin C (250mg per
day) can help recovery from cystitis and herbal remedies include
Dandelion, Parsley, Bearberry and Watercress (taken as infusions).
To prepare an infusion, he recommends:
Add 1tsp of the dried herb, to one cup of boiling
water. Leave to stand 20 mins then strain. Give 2 tsps twice daily
with food for a week (when the cat has an acute infection). Make
a new infusion every 2 days.
NB these may need to be used in conjunction with
conventional treatment for FLUTD, not on their own. Burns Pet Nutrition
always advise that owners seek specialist advice when using alternative
remedies for the management of a health problem.
Nutrients to consider:
Diets high in magnesium may contribute to a greater incidence of
struvite uroliths, although magnesium has been found to inhibit
calcium oxalate uroliths. Therefore, owners should ensure that the
dietary requirements for magnesium are met but not exceeded.
Excess dietary calcium should be avoided to help avert the occurrence
of calcium oxalate uroliths. Foods high in calcium include: mineral
supplements, milk, cheese, yoghurt, bread and breakfast cereals.
Studies suggest that increased levels of phosphorous in the diet
can influence the concentration of magnesium and calcium in the
urine. Excess phosphorus can lead to a higher likelihood of Struvite
High protein diets should be avoided to avert the onset of both
struvite uroliths and calcium oxalate uroliths.
pet health problems
John Burns Pet Health