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Idiopathic Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (IFLUTD)


Members of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) and pet parents are aware that if a pet is not taken to a vet when there is a health problem, the chance that the health issue will get worse increases.  Pets have a high pain tolerance making it hard to know when a pet is not feeling well.  Both dogs and cats may easily acquire diseases.
 
Cats are susceptible to Idiopathic Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (IFLUTD), a term for a group of disorders with similar signs including blood in the urine, painful, frequent or inappropriate urination, and partial or complete blockage of the urethra, which occurs more commonly in males than females and may be fatal if left untreated.  IFLUTD is diagnosed by using appropriate tests to rule out other causes for the signs noted above.  Other causes include urinary tract infections, and kidney and bladder stones, some of which may show up on x-ray, or with other more sophisticated tests.  The vet may order a cystoscopy to examine the bladder for cysts, stones or polyps.  Urinalysis is essential to rule out bacterial, fungal, or parasitic disease and to look for white blood cells. Often, IFLUTD will occur without a large amount of bacteria or white blood cells in the urine.  The white cells show that the cat’s body is trying to fight off the infection.  Blood tests will usually be needed to check body chemistry for abnormal changes. 

IFLUTD can occur in both female and male cats, but urinary blockage occurs more often in males.  It has been reported that cats in both the U.S. and the U.K. have suffered from symptoms from IFLUTD approximately 0.5 percent to 1 percent per year.  While the disease may happen at any age, it occurs most commonly in cats between the ages of one and four years.  It is uncommon in cats less than one year old or older than ten.
While the cat is recovering, pet parents should keep his or her stress level as low as possible, and give the prescribed medications on schedule.