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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Feline Urologic Syndrome

Feline Urologic Syndrome

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Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS) is a disease of the urinary bladder and urethra in cats. Female cats develop signs of cystitis (inflammation of the bladder). These symptoms can include: Frequent urination, passing small amounts of bloody urine, and sometimes, cats will urinate outside the litter box.

Male cats show signs of cystitis and may show signs of urethral obstruction. Urethral obstruction is caused by a mucus plug lodged in the urethra. The urethra in male cats is longer and narrower than in female cats, making obstruction more likely in males.

Total obstruction leads to retention of urine which contains body wastes. This creates an imbalance of the electrolytes, (potassium, sodium, etc.) and can cause kidney damage. Loss of appetite, depression and vomiting are common signs of urethral obstruction. If the mucus plug is not removed, a coma follows and death results.

The exact cause of FUS is not known. Viral infection of the bladder is thought to be an important role in the development of the disease. The presence of mineral crystals in the urine and the acidity of the urine are also considered important factors. Struvite crystals, normally present in urine, also are present in the mucus plugs that cause urethral obstruction. The crystals dissolve in acidic urine and crystallize in alkaline (nonacidic) urine.

Urethral obstruction is an emergency requiring immediate attention. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. Some preventive and post operative treatments:

  • Cause the cat to produce a high volume of urine. This flushes out the bladder and helps prevent the formation of crystals. Always provide your cat with clean, cold water, this will encourage him to drink.
  • Because canned cat food is about 70% water, you should increase the amount of moist food.
  • Adding sodium to the diet will also cause your cat to drink more water.
  • Prevent the formation of crystals by acidifying the urine with appropriate medication. Provide antibiotics to control or prevent a complicating bacterial infection.

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