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Here's an acronym many people may not be familiar with: F.L.U.T.D.
What does this stand for? Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease.

What does this all mean?

Cats with this particular disease can show many signs. Depending if there is an obstruction, FLUTD cats can have pollakiuria (frequent urination), hematuria (blood in the urine), dysuria (vocalisation and painful urination), stranguria (straining to pass urine) and inappropriate urination.
These cats can also be lethargic, uninterested in food and become easily agitated. FLUTD cats can also develop uroliths (also known as urinary stones or calculi) which appear in cats as very fine crystals that block up the Urethra,  and urinary tract infections.

This brings us to a black, fluffy, tail waggin' kitty named Tyler.
Tyler's owner called us to book an appointment as he appeared constipated. As the nurse is aware that FLUTD cats can have a similar presentation as constipation, a series of questions were asked and the decision was made to get Tyler to see us ASAP.

Dr. Chelsea examined Tyler and discussed his history with his family. While performing a physical exam, it was reported that Tyler had not been himself in the last couple of days. He was very sleepy, appeared to be walking as if he was in pain and was grumpy (which in NOT like him at all!). Dr. Chelsea could not express Tyler's full, very firm bladder which meant that his urethra was blocked and he could not urinate!

A quick discussion was had with Tyler's owner whether to proceed with treatment as his condition was life threatening and for many clients, expensive. Tyler's owner gave us the ok and treatment was begun immediately.

Tyler had to be placed under general anaesthetic, catheterised and flushed to dislodge the blockage and empty his bladder. After the initial treatment was complete, Tyler's indwelling catheter was secured and he was placed on intravenous fluids. A sample of his urine was sent to the lab to diagnose what type of stones/ crystals he had formed to determine if his ongoing treatment should be managed with medication and/or a prescription diet.

He stayed in our care until he was able to empty his bladder without assistance. Tyler handled his hospital stay like an absolute champion!

Tyler's owners must now feed him his special urinary diet for life (he seems to really like it so we are sure he will not mind), the diet helps to ensure the crystals do not reform and become an issue again. But, if anything seems at all odd with him, his owners know we are right here, ready to help!

Te see more of our patients and hospital cases, CLICK HERE to visit the Forrestfield Vet Hospital Facebook Page and CLICK HERE to visit High Wycombe Vet Hospitals Facebook Page.

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Tyler in hospital with his in-dwelling urinary catheter and intravenous fluids.

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Contents of this newsletter

01  What you need to know about kidney disease

02  Top tips for correct antibiotic use

03  Celebrate World Animal Day

04  Wee makes us happy!

01 What you need to know about kidney disease

When it comes to kidney disease, the statistics can be pretty scary. As many as 1-in-3 cats, and 1-in-10 dogs may suffer from some form of the disease in their lifetime.

The chronic form of kidney disease is often referred to as ‘the silent killer’ as it can sneak up on your pet and signs may be subtle and hard to notice. In other cases, kidney disease can come on quickly (classified as acute kidney disease) and might occur following the kidneys being exposed to a toxin or a certain drug for example.

Signs of kidney disease to watch out for:

- increased thirst
- increased urination
- weight loss
- lethargy
- vomiting

Measuring your pet's water intake over 24 hours and bringing us a morning urine sample are two things you can do to get the investigation process started.

The good news is that there is now a blood test available that can help with early detection of the disease. The result of this blood test is always evaluated with the results of a urine test, routine kidney blood tests, and with a blood pressure check. All of this information helps determine the stage of the disease and will ascertain which treatment, if any, is necessary.

Treatment may include diet modification and medication that can help reduce protein loss through the kidneys. This can all help slow the progress of this insidious disease.

If you are worried about your pet you should phone us for advice.

02 Top tips for correct antibiotic use

It is becoming more and more evident that one of the greatest threats to human and animal health is antibiotic resistance and the emergence of 'superbugs'. As veterinarians, we are taking steps to help prevent the world from a global catastrophe where common infections and minor injuries once again kill.

As a pet owner, you can do your bit too by familiarising yourself with the following recommendations for correct antibiotic use:

1. Antibiotics are only helpful in the presence of a bacterial infection. They cannot treat viral infections and are not needed in clean wounds

2. It is sometimes necessary to identify the type of bacteria present to help us choose the most appropriate antibiotic. This involves taking samples for culture and sensitivity testing at an external laboratory

3. Never start any 'leftover' antibiotics you have before you get your pet checked with us as they may be inappropriate or unnecessary

4. Always use them as directed and finish the course, even if you think your pet is 'better'. Stopping too early can lead to the development of resistant bacteria

5. Always give the prescribed dose and give them exactly as we have directed (don’t change the dose or dosing schedule as this can reduce their effectiveness)

6. Please don't ask us to prescribe antibiotics without a consultation. This is against the law!

7. A revisit may be necessary to check your pet's and extend the course of antibiotics if necessary

If you have any questions or concerns please ask us for more information.

03 Celebrate World Animal Day

This month we celebrate World Animal Day! 

The mission of World Animal Day is to raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the world. It helps to mobilise animal welfare movements into a global force to make the world a better place for animals.

The aim is, through increased awareness and education, to have animals always recognised as sentient beings who deserve full regard given to their welfare. Recognised on the 4th of October, World Animal Day shares its spot with the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron saint of animals.

We think it should be World Animal Day every day, so we will be celebrating in our own way throughout the month of October. To join in on the fun, we encourage you to share pictures of you and your pets with us on Facebook!

04 Wee makes us happy!

You might laugh at us but we love wee! Just a small amount of your pet’s urine provides us with valuable information about their internal health and can also help rule out diseases such as diabetes and kidney insufficiency.

After we have collected a sample of your pet’s urine, we will perform a few routine tests. These will include:

USG (urine specific gravity) - this helps us to determine how well the kidneys are working by measuring how effectively they are concentrating the urine. This is especially important when we are on the hunt for kidney disease as sometimes a change in USG can be an early indication of disease. This early stage of kidney disease may not be detectable with a routine blood test.

A urine dipstick also allows us to look for the presence of blood, protein and glucose. It can also indicate if a diabetic patient is severely unwell by detecting ketones.

In some cases, it may be necessary to examine the sediment of the urine under a microscope to look for particular cells that may indicate disease. White blood cells and bacteria can be detected on a sediment exam as can urinary crystals, a telltale sign of other urinary tract problems.

We often need to send urine samples to an external laboratory to run more specific tests. This may include one to determine if there is a true bacterial infection present. The laboratory will culture the bacteria and then run tests to determine what antibiotic is required to treat the infection. Another example of a laboratory test is one to measure the level of protein that is being lost by the kidneys. This can help stage kidney disease and greatly assists in determining if medication is indicated to treat the condition.

We may ask you to collect some urine at home and whilst this can seem a little overwhelming, there are a few tricks and tips that will make it a whole lot easier. We will be able to give you the best advice for your pet based on what we are looking for, just ask us for more information.