Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Question from Theresa in Wilmington:
My cat Gonzo is straining to urinate in the litter box and I have seen blood. He is 5 years old and otherwise in good health. What can this mean?

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
If you have not taken Gonzo to your veterinarian, I suggest you do so. The symptoms you describe can be a sign of a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, or an inflammatory condition called interstitial cystitis. Gonzo's problem requires immediate attention since stones or small sand-like conglomerations in the bladder can block the passage of urine and is potentially life-threatening. Your veterinarian will likely recommend tests including a urinalysis and x-rays and maybe blood work.

If you observe Gonzo attempting to urinate and not being able to pass urine, take him to a veterinarian immediately. A urinary blockage is an emergency situation and needs immediate medical care. If stones are detected, surgery is often required, but sometimes a special diet can help to dissolve small stones. Interstitial cystitis is an inflammatory condition of the bladder for which the cause is not well understood. Some medical therapies can be used, but this condition can be frustrating to treat. If a bladder infection is diagnosed, antibiotics are usually helpful.

If you have other cats in the house, try to isolate Gonzo so you can keep track of his urinations and be certain that he is not "blocked."

Posted May 7, 2006

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