Does your pet suffer from Bladder Problems or UTI? How does one identify Urinary Tract Infection in you pet?
Urinary Tract Infections and bladder problems comprise a variety of conditions such as:
- Urinary infections (UTIs) – as most bladder infections are acute
- Crystals in the urine
- Bladder stones
- Interstitial Cystitis
In recurrent or persisten bladder problems Cancer of the Bladder must be ruled out, the signs are:
- Pets that have difficulty to urinate
- You might notice blood in the urine
- Abnormal behaviour like an accident in the house
- Excessive urination
You have taken your pet to the vet, they have been placed on medication, but as soon as you stopped the medication, the problems re-occurred. What else can you do?
Underlying reasons for recurrence or persistent infection need to be ruled out: eg Radiographs and ultrasound have to rule out bladder stones and bladder tumours.
- In up to 50% of cats with feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) the cause can not be identified in others the following underlying reasons were found:
- 20% will have bladder stones.
- 20% will have a urethral blockage either from crystals, a mucus plug or a blood clot.
- 1-5% will have a true infection.
- 1-5% will have a urinary tract cancer.
- 1-5% will have had trauma to the urinary tract (i.e., have been hit by a car etc.)
- 1-5% will have a combination of a bladder stone and an infection.
Should you change the diet?
A change in diet is only advised if the pH of the urine indicates a need to or if crystals or stones are present. Every pet reacts different to every food out in the market. Your pets are all unique and what works for one might not work for another.
- There is no conclusive evidence to prove that Grains such as oats, wheat, corn and rice can be a trigger for UTIs. But it can affect the pH of urine - Years ago it was commonly held that because commercial cat food was high in plant-based proteins (such as soy or grain), it could alter the urinary pH and lead to crystal formation, and that those crystals led to inflammation. This theory was later modified to include an interaction of urinary pH and dietary magnesium content leading to crystals and bladder inflammation. A massive reformulation of commercial cat food occurred in the late 1980s and the incidence of feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) rapidly decreased. Yet, FIC did not disappear completely, which tells us that this theory only fit some cases of FIC.
- Treats which are high in carbohydrates such as freeze dried yams or fruity snacks can be problematic.
- Certain proteins such as poultry can also trigger inflammation and allergic response in some pets too, but these mainly trigger skin allergies rather than bladder infections.
- Pets with chronic urinary problems need a high moisture diet, especially cats. High moisture food is preferable. If your pet is on a prescription diet, please work with your vet to reformulate your pet’s diet to eliminate trigger foods.
Consider Essential Nutritional Supplements
In recurrent cases nutritional supplements may hasten healing and help repair the urinary tract especially the bladder lining. The continued use of antibiotics can destroy the “good bacteria” and weaken the immune system.
Pro-biotics are vital to helping your pet to restore its intestinal flora. This will reduce the possibilities of inflammation and infections reoccurring. Supplementation with Furinaid in some cats improves bladder wall integrity (Furinaid is a feed supplement for cats containing N-Acetyl Glucosamine in palatable and convenient liquid form. Daily feeding will nutritionally support the Glycosaminoglycan levels in the mucosal barrier of the bladder wall. Furinaid is suitable for feeding to cats with FLUTD.)
Watch Your Pet's Communication Signals
Accidents in the house might be their way of telling you they are not healthy. Senior pets need pro-biotics more regularly.
Calm Stressed Pets
Believe it or not, but stress in a pet can trigger Urinary problems. Especially cats who are prone to feline interstitial cystitis. It is hard to know exactly what might be contributing to your kitty’s stress and it might be factors beyond your control such as the neighbour’s barking dog or having guests in your home.
Fresh water and a clean sandbox
A final recommendation to keeping your pets healthy is for you to make sure that a daily dose of fresh water always available and multiple clean sand boxes in quiet places to give cats different places to relieve themselves.
Article by: Dr Adel Ferreira
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