If you have a cat, then you likely know that veterinary care is extremely important to keep your feline companion in great health. Sometimes, care must be provided on a timely or emergency basis so that a more serious health problem does not arise. This is the case if your cat has a urinary tract infection. Learn about these infections, treatment, and how you can prevent them in the future.

What Is a Feline Urinary Tract Infection?

A feline urinary tract infection is a bacterial condition that usually occurs across the lower part of the urethra. Typically, these infections happen when bacteria enter the urethra from outside the body and move up into the inner part of urethra towards the bladder. This is one reason why female cats are more likely to form urinary tract infections than males. If your cat has a urinary tract infection, you may see him or her taking a long time to urinate or notice urine dripping from the urethra. Your cat will likely lick himself constantly and seem irritable and lethargic.

Often times, the infection will worsen if treatment is not provided right away and can lead to inflammation that completely closes off the urethra. This can cause severe symptoms to arise that include vomiting and a large and hard abdomen. If your cat is unable to urinate, then he or she will die. Death is usually caused by kidney failure, bladder eruption, or by the release of toxic substances in the blood that your cat is unable to release through the urethra. Fortunately, you will likely see the warning signs that your cat is ill well before a lethal issue arises.

How is the Condition Treated?

Once you make an appointment to see the veterinarian, the animal doctor will usually complete a urinalysis to see if there is a great deal of bacteria in the blood. The veterinarian will also look to see if there are high levels of ammonia and blood in the urine. Blood may also be taken to check for ammonia and other toxins that have been forced back into the bloodstream. If the abdomen appears swollen, then an ultrasound may be completed. The images will be gathered to look for the accumulation of hard bladder stones and general inflammation.

If your cat is unable to urinate, then a catheter will be used to release the urine from the bladder. Antibiotics will likely be given through an IV and so will fluids to flush some of the toxins from the blood. The fluids will also introduce electrolytes back into the system that may have been lost. Once the antibiotics start to treat the infection and your cat can urinate independently, then you will be sent home with antibiotics to continue treatment for a week or longer.

How Can Future Issues Be Prevented?

If your cat has already had frequent urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or urine blockages, then your veterinarian may suggest a surgical treatment called a urethrostomy. This type of surgery is performed on male cats to widen the size of the urethra so it will be less likely to become blocked in the future. The treatment will also keep urinary tract infection inflammation from completely closing off the urethra. However, once the surgery is performed, cultures must be taken regularly to make sure that a urinary tract infection has not formed. These infections may occur more regularly once the surgery is performed, although the symptoms will not be as serious.

If your cat is female or not a good candidate for surgery, your veterinarian will likely ask you to offer your cat fresh water on a regular basis. You also will be informed to clean litter boxes daily and to eliminate any foods that contain corn, grains, and sugars from your cat's diet. Stress should be reduced too, to keep urinary tract infections from forming. 

For more information about getting your cat treated for this and other conditions, visit sites like http://www.1stPetVet.com