More commonly known as FUS, and more recently as FLUTI, it encompasses a group of diseases that are diverse with multiple causes. Some symptoms or causes include infection, blood or crystals in the urine, obstruction, or inappropriate urination.
The incidence of this group of diseases is less than 1% of all cats, however could run as high as 10% of all hospital admitted cases for cats between 1-6 years of age. The incidence is always higher in the winter due to lack of activity in colder weather, and infrequent urination.
Noticeable symptoms such as preferring to urinate in a cold bathtub, missing the litter box, and straining while urinating may appear and disappear, however if left untreated recurrence of symptoms are common.
Contrary to popular belief, the ash level in a diet has nothing to do with this issue. Rather a diet that is higher in Magnesium and Phosphorus may contribute to formation of FLUTD with struvite crystal formation. If the food does not create an acidic urine, struvite formation may be predicted in alkaline urine. As well a diet with increased sodium creates a less concentrated urine (due to increased drinking), and therefore less concentration of struvite. In addition cats that eat dry food only, excrete less moisture in the urine, which again increases concentration.
Viral infections may be responsible for signs in some cats, with variable ability to isolate these viruses. As well, some cats suffer from Cystitis, an inflammation of the bladder. However overall 2/3 of cats have signs that do not have an identifiable cause. Although all or our foods produce an acidic urine, for this reason, we only recommend feeding canned diets to cats that are prone to this issue. Further, because the incidence of recurrence is so high, this requires a discussion with your vet. Some cats may need to be on a prescription diet as these diets may restrict the minerals indicated in this issue. Non-prescription foods are required to meet AAFCO requirements for nutrient levels, while prescription diets may be permitted to deviate for specific conditions.
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