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Understanding urinary Diets For Cats With FLUTD

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) describes a complex syndrome that affects the bladder and the urethra (the narrow tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body) and does not usually involve the kidneys. The term FLUTD also includes the condition more commonly known as cystitis (inflammation of the bladder). The signs shown by cats are often similar regardless of the root cause.

There are many causes of FLUTD including:
  • Urinary stones or crystals that form in the urine and irritate the lining of the bladder.
  • Urethral plugs that form in the male cats’ urethra, causing a physical obstruction
  • Spasm of the muscle in the wall of the urethra
  • Stress and behavioural problems
  • Bacterial infections in the bladder
One or a combination of these problems may be responsible for the symptoms observed in a cat with FLUTD. However, in some cases it is not possible to find an underlying cause and this is termed idiopathic FLUTD.
Cats with FLUTD usually pass small amounts of urine frequently which can often cause them pain or difficulty. Straining before and after urination and the presence of blood in the urine are also signs that a cat has FLUTD.
The presence of urinary crystals or stones will likely require a change in your cats food to a prescribed diet specifically designed to dissolve them. It is important to increase your cat’s water intake to dilute the urine (increase the amount of water it contains) which can be achieved by feeding a wet prescription urinary diet as supposed to a dry kibble. Your cat is likely to have to stay on the diet for the remainder of its life as there is currently no cure for FLUTD. Don’t despair though; FLUTD is often able to be very well managed.

Benefits of the urinary diet
  • Dissolves struvite stones.
  • increases urine volume to avoid formation of and reduce recurrence of both struvite and calcium oxalate stones
  • Magnesium is a component of struvite stones. The low magnesium content helps reduce the risk of development of these stones.
  • The high moisture content increases urine dilution, helping reduce recurrence of idiopathic cystitis.
  • provides glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) as bladder GAGs are low in cats with idiopathic cystitis.
The diets focus on a high protein content to promote urinary pH 5.9 – 6.3 which helps to reduce the risk of struvite crystal formation. It has a low fat content to minimise the risk of obesity, a risk factor to the occurrence of struvite-related FLUTD. Lowered magnesium also helps to reduce the risks of struvite formation.

Some popular urinary diets can be viewed below:
  • Hills Prescription Diet Feline C/D
    • Feeding Prescription Diet Feline c/d helps to maintain a healthy urinary tract and reduce the risk that stones will re-occur after dissolution.
    • With low salt to better maintain kidney health.
    • Helps neutralise free radicals as it contains high level of antioxidants.
  • Hills Prescription Diet Feline S/D
    • Prescription Diet Feline s/d has been formulated by veterinarians to help resolve struvite crystals and stones in your cat.
    • Helps dissolve struvite stones.
    • Targets an acid urinary pH to help increase the solubility of struvite.
Remember to always seek veterinary advice before switching your cat to a different diet as they will be able to recommend the most appropriate type for your cat’s specific needs.