Cat Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosis

Cat urinary tract infections are generally caused by underlying disorders. Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is present in pets with disorders of the bladder or urethra. Since urinary tract disease is caused by various factors, the diagnosis can be complex. Without a proper diagnosis, the vet will only be able to prescribe medication to treat the symptoms without curing the main cause.

Importance of Symptom Recognition

Cats tend to mask symptoms of discomfort. However, pet owners that notice urinary tract symptoms should seek medical help to prevent an emergency medical condition known as urethral blockage. The symptoms vary in individual pets and some pets exhibit fewer symptoms than others.

Symptoms of Feline Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

  • Difficulty or straining to urinate
  • Blood in the urine
  • Cat cries during urination
  • Pet urinates out of the litter box
  • Slightly protruded penis
  • Sand like particles on the penis
  • Pets frequently lick the genitals
  • Frequent urination with little or no urine

Diagnosis of Feline UTI

Most diagnosis of cats with UTI symptoms reveals idiopathic cystitis or UTI with no known cause. Other cats commonly suffer from feline UTI caused by bladder stones. The diagnosis involves urine analysis. The urine used as a sample for diagnosis has to be free from environmental contamination. Hence, it's necessary to collect feline urine directly from the pet's bladder.

Urine Culture

A known procedure for urine collection is called cystocentesis. During this procedure a needle is inserted into the pet's bladder to obtain a clean urine sample. The urine is then placed on a culture and examined for bacterial growth. A urine culture test is very specific in nature as it's kept in a laboratory for 48 hours to be cultured. The type of bacterial growth and treatment options can be easily identified after a urine culture test. Culture tests are more important for cats over 10 years of age.

Feline Urine Analysis

Along with a urine culture test, urine analysis will determine the pH balance of the urine and the presence of blood in urine. It can also determine the urine glucose and protein level. During the urine analysis, microscopic examination of the urine sample will help diagnose bacteria and uroliths. Urine analysis is performed for pets of all ages when symptoms of UTI are present.

Other Diagnostic Tests

Apart from urine analysis and urine culture tests, the vet will perform an X-ray and ultrasound to check bladder stones or crystals. In addition, the vet may also perform specific tests to rule out diabetes and kidney disorders.

Treatment of Feline Urinary Tract Disease

Cats that experience urethral obstructions due to prolonged UTI have to receive prompt medical help to prevent death. A procedure known as catheterization is performed to remove the obstruction. Surgery is necessary for pets that frequently suffer from urethral obstructions. Since urethral blockage is a serious condition several pets succumb to the disease due to lack of prompt medical treatment. The treatment for UTI caused by bladder stones or crystals involves diet and antibiotic medication. The antibiotics will also reduce internal inflammation and bacterial infection.

Along with proper medication and home care, its best to follow up regularly with scheduled vet checks to determine the pet's response to treatment. Since Feline UTI is fairly common in male cats, pet owners should also take measures to prevent re-infection.