Treating Hematuria in Cats | Blood in the Urine in Cats

Treating Hematuria in Cats

Treating Hematuria in Cats: Blood in your cat’s urine is concerning and should be checked out by a vet, but try not to panic. The medical term for blood in urine is hematuria, and there are several possible causes, some more serious than others.

Treating Hematuria in Cats

Common Causes of Blood in Cat Urine

Blood in your cat’s urine can be alarming, but the good news is many causes are treatable. The most common reasons for hematuria in cats are:

1. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

If your cat has a UTI, you may notice frequent urination, straining, and blood in the urine. UTIs are usually caused by bacteria and are easily treated with a course of antibiotics from your vet. To help prevent future UTIs, make sure your cat has easy access to fresh water and a clean litter box.

2. Bladder Stones

Bladder stones are mineral deposits that form in the bladder and can irritate the lining, causing bleeding. Your cat may show signs of straining, frequent urination, and blood in the urine. Bladder stones often require surgery to remove, but diet changes and medications can help prevent recurrence.

3. Kidney or Bladder Tumor

Although rare, tumors of the urinary tract can lead to hematuria. Other symptoms may include weight loss, decreased appetite, and lethargy. Diagnosing a tumor typically requires x-rays, blood tests, and ultrasound. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation depending on the type of tumor.

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The causes of blood in cat urine are often treatable, but a vet visit for an exam and diagnosis is important. Catching the underlying issue quickly can help get your cat back to good health and prevent complications. With treatment and close monitoring, many cats go on to live normal, happy lives despite a bout with hematuria.

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Diagnosing the Cause of Hematuria in Cats

To determine the cause of hematuria in your cat, the vet will start by asking you some questions about your cat’s symptoms and medical history. Be prepared to provide as much detail as possible to help get to the root of the problem.

1. Medical History and Physical Exam

The vet will want to know about any recent illnesses or injuries that could be related. They will perform a physical exam to check for signs of infection, kidney or bladder stones, or a tumor. They will palpate your cat’s abdomen to check the size and shape of the kidneys and bladder.

2. Urine Analysis

A urine sample will be analyzed to check for red and white blood cells, bacteria, and high protein levels which could indicate kidney disease or a urinary tract infection. The pH level and mineral content of the urine is also assessed.

3. Blood Tests

Blood tests check kidney and liver function, calcium levels, and other factors. High calcium levels could indicate hyperparathyroidism which can lead to kidney stones. High BUN and creatinine levels may point to kidney disease or failure.

4. Diagnostic Imaging

X-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs or CT scans are often used to get a better view of the urinary tract and check for tumors, stones or anatomical abnormalities. Ultrasounds, in particular, are very useful for evaluating the kidneys, ureters and bladder.

By combining the results of these diagnostic tests, your vet can determine the underlying cause of the hematuria and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. Early diagnosis and treatment is key to managing hematuria and preventing potentially life-threatening complications in your cat.

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Treatment Options for Hematuria in Cats

When your cat has blood in their urine (hematuria), the underlying cause needs to be diagnosed and treated. Depending on what’s causing the bleeding, treatment may include medication, diet changes, or in some cases surgery.

1. Antibiotics

If a bacterial infection is the culprit, your vet will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics will help clear the infection causing the inflammation and bleeding. Be sure to give the full course of medication as prescribed to completely eliminate the infection.

2. Dietary Changes

For some cats, a diet change can help reduce hematuria. Switching to high-quality, all-natural cat food and increasing water intake can promote urinary tract health. Canned food with extra moisture is a good option, as it will increase your cat’s water consumption.

3. Pain Medication

If the hematuria is due to urinary stones or bladder inflammation, your vet may prescribe pain medication to help your cat feel more comfortable as other treatments take effect. The medication will reduce pain and make urination less painful.

4. Surgery

In severe or persistent cases of hematuria, surgery may be recommended to correct an underlying issue. Procedures may include removing bladder stones, biopsying abnormal tissue growths, or re-implanting displaced ureters. Surgery has risks, so it is usually only performed if other treatment options have not been effective.

By working closely with your vet to determine the underlying cause of your cat’s hematuria, an effective treatment plan can be put in place. While the condition can be frightening, in many cases it is treatable with medication, diet, or minimally invasive procedures. With prompt diagnosis and the proper course of treatment, your cat can recover comfortably and the hematuria can be resolved.

FAQs

Why is my cat urinating blood?

Blood in your cat’s urine, known as hematuria, can indicate a few possible issues. The most common causes are urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or kidney disease. A UTI occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract, causing inflammation and blood. Bladder stones are mineral deposits that can irritate the lining of the bladder. Kidney disease prevents the kidneys from properly filtering waste from the blood, allowing red blood cells to enter the urine.

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How is hematuria diagnosed?

Your vet will ask for a urine sample to check for signs of infection or kidney problems. They may run blood tests to evaluate your cat’s kidney function and check for other abnormalities. An x-ray or ultrasound can detect bladder stones or tumors. In some cases, your vet may need to collect a urine sample directly from the bladder to get an uncontaminated sample.

How is hematuria treated?

Treatment depends on the underlying cause. UTIs are typically treated with a course of antibiotics. Surgery may be needed to remove bladder stones. Kidney disease can be managed with medication, diet changes, and IV fluids. Tumors also usually require surgical removal. In many cases, treatment of the underlying problem will resolve the hematuria. Follow-up tests will be needed to ensure the blood is gone from the urine.

How can I help my cat recover?

For a UTI or bladder stones, increase your cat’s water intake to help flush out the urinary tract. Kidney diets or balanced homemade diets may be recommended for cats with kidney disease. Be sure to give any prescribed medication as directed by your vet. Limit activity during recovery and watch for recurrence of symptoms. Most cats will recover well, but lifelong changes in diet or medication may be needed in some cases. Follow-up urine testing will check that the hematuria has resolved.

Should I be concerned if my cat has blood in her urine?

Yes, blood in the urine can be a sign of a serious medical issue and should be evaluated by your vet as soon as possible. While the causes are often treatable, early diagnosis and treatment is best. Monitor your cat for other symptoms like increased thirst/urination, painful urination, or lethargy, which can indicate the severity and help your vet determine the appropriate diagnosis and treatment.