The medical term for bladder infection is cystitis and refers to the inflammation of the urinary bladder. Bladder infection is also known as Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS) and it comes under the rubric of a group of urinary problems known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FUTD). Bladder infections occur in both male and female cats.
Bladder infections can be a result of bacterial or viral infections such as Feline Herpes virus.
Feline Urologic Syndrome (Fus) occurs in the bladder where tiny crystals form, irritate the area, and causes bloody urine. The crystals generate because of a heavy mineral content in the urine. Normally these minerals dissolve on their own but when they cannot they crystallize. The tiny crystals can enlarge into bladder stones.
Clinically bladder stones are known as urothliths. Urine, which contains too much acid or Ph levels, can precipitate the formation of bladder stones. Bladder stones are extremely hard mineral deposits that irritate the bladder as they rub against it.
Other causes for the formation of bladder stones include:
Genetic factors - cystine bladder stones is a result of the cat being unable to absorb this mineral in the kidney.
Diet - The cat's diet may precipitate this condition
Bacterial infections - that evade the lower urinary tract.
The stones cause the bladder to bleed and expel the blood through the urine. The cat will have the sensation to urinate frequently even though very little urine may actually make its way through. Bladder stones can obstruct the urinary tract, preventing the flow of urine and this urine will become toxic eventually poisoning the body if not treated in time.
There are different types of bladder stones and they are named according to their chemical make up.
The stone called Struvite occurs most often in cats and represents about 60 percent of all stones found.
The second most common stone, representing about 20 percent of all stones found in the feline bladder is calcium oxalate.
The other types of stones: cystine, xanthine, calcium phosphate and urate are less frequently found in the bladder.
Bladder stones come in several shapes and sizes. Small stones are really dangerous. They may dislodge and enter the urinary tract only to get stuck in the narrow tract. These obstructions when not treated will facilitate toxic poisoning and cause severe kidney damage, which cannot be repaired.
Inability to urinate
Difficulty urinating accompanied by meowing or crying to indicate the presence of pain
Depression, lethargy and weakness
Blood in the urine
Physical examination where the veterinarian may be able to feel the stones while probing the cat's bladder.
Urine Culture (checks for infections caused by bacteria)
Urolith Analysis which will detect the type of stone present
Blood Cell Count
Blood Chemistry Panel
Treatment depends about the type of stone found.
Antibiotics can be used to dissolve the stones
Medication to prevent ph build up in the urine
A planned diet dedicated to dissolving and avoiding further stones
Urohydropropulsion - flushing out the stones
Surgical removal of the stones (cystomy)
If the stone can be identified and corrected, the prognosis is good. Proper diet is suggested because bladder stones can resurface again.
When your cat has a bladder infection, do not hesitate to bring it to a veterinarian immediately. Caught early enough an infection can be cured, but if left untreated can in some cases turn into a death sentence for your precious pet.