Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infection in Cats with a Cystocentesis

Urinary tract infections in cats should be diagnosed promptly to initiate early treatment and prevent serious conditions such as urethral obstructions. Although the cause of urinary tract infection varies, the symptoms exhibited are fairly common. Most pet owners confuse these symptoms with behavior issues.

The disease may also go unnoticed since cats mask their discomfort. The various causes of feline urinary tract infection can be attributed to improper diet, kidney stones and bacterial infections. In order to determine the underlying cause of urinary tract infection, the vet will conduct a series of diagnostic tests. Pet owners should keep the vet informed about known symptoms as this helps establish a correct diagnosis.

Symptoms of Urinary Infections Include:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Urinating out of the litter box
  • Painful urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Reduced playfulness
  • Frequent licking of the bladder area

Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection in Cats

If urinary tract infections aren’t diagnosed and treated promptly, it could lead to complications and death. The vet will perform a physical examination of the cat and palpate the abdomen to determine swelling or fluid accumulation. After careful evaluation of the pet’s clinical symptoms the vet will perform a urine analysis to determine the presence of bacteria and other infectious agents. Since a fresh urine sample that’s not contaminated by external sources is essential for diagnosis, the vet will perform a procedure termed as cystocentesis.

Cystocentesis in Cats

Since pets suffering from urinary tract infection have problems urinating, it’s often difficult to obtain a urine sample. Cystocentesis is a procedure performed by the vet to extract urine directly from the cat’s bladder. To perform this procedure the vet will clean and disinfect a section of the skin over the urinary bladder. With the help of a fine needle and a special syringe the urine is then extracted directly from the body. Cystocentesis helps determine the pH level of the urine, presence of urinary stones and other abnormalities. Although several pets tolerate the procedure well, individual pets differ in their levels of pain tolerance. Mild sedation may be necessary for such pets.

Other Diagnostic Tests

In order to confirm diagnosis, additional diagnostic tests such as culture and sensitivity tests are performed. If the pet is suspected of internal tumors, ultrasounds are conducted. X-rays also help determine the presence of urinary stones. Once the underlying cause of urinary infection is determined the vet will administer treatment to cure the main cause.

Treatment of Urinary Tract Infection in Cats

The treatment involves antibiotic medications to cure bacterial infections. Dietary modification is necessary to help cats suffering from urinary stones. Most pets are prescribed the Hill science diet, formulated for used in cats with urinary disease. Along with diet modification pets should be encouraged to drink sufficient water daily. Pet owners should also take precautionary measures to protect cats from re-infection, once the disease is cured. Litter boxes should be cleaned daily and pets should be taken for routine follow up checks to monitor their health.

If the cat suffers from chronic urinary infections, it’s advisable to discuss with the vet, benefits of herbal remedies and homeopathic medication as a long term solution to the problem.