Meowllo and Happy Furiday to you. Dezi’s still with the Cat Scouts on their Jamboree havin’ a good time, and so I’m still managing her blog. We started telling you all about UTI’s yesterday, and will continue today. If you missed yesterdays post please check it out here.
So if UTI’s can go unnoticed how then is it detected and diagnosed? As we talked about yesterday your cat may be showing symptoms. Frequent urination, blood in the urine, straining to go, crying out and eliminating outside the box, to name a few. Or your cat may show no signs at all until it’s too late. A vet will perform a visual and physical examination. Most Vets can tell if the bladder is full by palpations. the next step in diagnosing a UTI is a urine test. The best way to collect feline urine is by “cystocetesis”. That means your Vet will insert a needle through the cat’s abdominal wall, puncturing the bladder and aspirating it. Your Vet is looking for the formation of crystals, bacteria, and other sediments that could be causing the infection. It is essential for proper handling of the sample during this time so as not to contaminate it. It is best if the tests occur within the first hour after urine retrieval. It can be refrigerated and brought back to room temperature if the tests can’t be done until later, but if you suspect a UTI your Vet will want to test the sample as soon as possible. The gold standard for diagnosing UTI’s in any species is urine culture and sensitivity testing. This is the type of tests our current Vet uses. Some Vets still send home a special litter for you to put in the litter-box for urine collection. Please if your vet wants to do this test, refuse and request the sample be taken by cystocentesis. Any other sample may be contaminated, and it is extremely important to know exactly what is causing the infection. A urine culture is often not performed until a round of antibiotics has failed.
Blood will almost always be taken and tested as well. And while bloodwork is not informative in diagnosing a UTI it may reveal underlying abnormalities that can lead to an infection of the urinary tract. Such as kidney disease, cancer or cushings disease, just to name a few. X-rays and ultrasounds can also be useful in diagnosing and treating UTI’s by allowing the Vet to see the presence and size of any stones and the size of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, urethra and prostate glands (applies to males only). And to identify Kidney or bladder stones or masses that are obstructing the output of urine.
Once the problem is found and the diagnosis made your Vet will prescribe a course of treatments to assist the animal in getting well. As long as there’s no blockage, your cat will be treated on an outpatient basis. It’s important to take all meds prescribed by your Vet for the amount of time ordered. If there is a blockage the cat may require hospitalization and a catheter. If a catheter is used or surgery is required you will need to watch the animal because infection may set in or scar tissue may result in narrowing the urethra. Thus making the reoccurrence of UTI’s highly probable. The signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection should subside within 4-7 days following treatment. If your cat is still having difficulties you will need to return to the VET immediately. If there are recurrences your VET may decide to treat it with a prescription diet as well as antibiotics and/or surgery.
So how can you prevent a UTI in the first place? That’s the million dollar question. Especially since nobody truly knows why living in the same situation, eating the same food and being exposed to the same things, some cats get them and some don’t. But here are a few things you can do. Make sure your cat drinks plenty of water. A water fountain can be a big help as cats do love fresh running water. It has long been accepted that distilled water is best when dealing with cats prone to UTI’s. Scheduled feeding is also recommended. Leaving food available all day means the cats body is constantly working because of the smell. Cats in the wild don’t nibble or eat off and on all day, they hunt, kill, eat and move on. Scheduled feedings are the recommended course of action. As well as a well balanced diet low in ash content. Human tuna fish is one of the worst offenders. You should look for a diet that has an ash content of 5% or less as this has been known to cause UTI’s. Wet foods are also recommended as opposed to dry kibble due to the fact that cats don’t drink a lot. If you’re feeding a raw diet, remember the supplements are very important. Be sure you are providing all the necessary vitamins and minerals so that you don’t cause another medical issue. And before you supplement with vitamins, etc. when feeding a commercial diet, please check with your VET. You can have too much of a good thing. Although cats require certain minerals to digest foods and certain vitamins there are also risks to absorbing too much. And try to avoid stress. We can’t repeat enough, If your cat is crying out, running to the litter box constantly, urinating outside the box or worst yet, going to the litter box and not leaving a deposit, GO TO THE VET IMMEDIATELY!!!
Well again we have covered a lot of material at once, so we’re going to stop for today and finish up tomorrow. We really appreciate all your support in this effort, and we hope we have been able to bring some things to light that you weren’t aware of. But most of all we hope we can help even one of you to avoid this terrible Silent Killer or at least know what to look for and be able to get help before it’s too late.
Till the next time……………………Be Blest!!!