Feline Kidney Disease Vs Urinary Tract Infection
It is easy for a cat owner to be confused about the differences between feline kidney disease vs urinary tract infection. Both can involve the renal system (kidneys), and both can be detected through symptoms involved in how and where your cat urinates. However the two are very different problems, one having to do with an actual failure of kidney function, the other having to do with a more standard, ordinary infection.
In feline kidney disease there is usually a slow loss of nephrons: these are the basic biological units in the kidney that filter toxins out of the blood and send them to the bladder to be flushed out as liquid urine. As nephrons are lost the kidneys lose the ability to concentrate urine — in a sense, distill urine, reducing the amount of liquid and increasing the amount of toxic waste. If this happens your cat will need more and more water to provide liquid to flush less and less toxin.
The reasons can be complex, and veterinary intervention is crucial.
Urinary tract infection also requires veterinary treatment, but it is indeed an infection: bacterial or viral, an illness that is dealt with by your cat’s immune system, and with supplements and antibiotics. There can be underlying problems making it likelier that your cat will contract urinary tract infection (look into feline UTIs and learn about crystal formation), but the infection itself is a separate issue.
Is there a difference in the prevention and management of feline kidney disease vs urinary tract infection? Absolutely. Feline kidney disease is a severe systemic problem and needs careful and constant veterinary monitoring. Urinary tract infections, however, once your veterinarian has addressed such issues as antibiotics and diet, are a matter of day to day owner care.
There are many ways to ensure your cat’s urinary tract health.
A healthy diet, recommended by your vet, combined with good hygiene, plenty of water, and natural supplements designed to strengthen your cat’s immune system, promote regular and dilute urination, and homeopathic treatments to reduce the inflammation that can encourage or add complication to urinary tract infections are all sensible, and commonplace proactive approaches to helping maintain your cat’s bladder and urinary tract health. You may want to consider a switch to canned cat food, since this type of food is moisture rich.
These less invasive techniques should not be used without veterinary knowledge. There are rare instances where natural and homeopathic medications are counter indicated, or in which they will combine with other medications your vet has prescribed. However as preventive maintenance they are usually safe and many consider them to be superb additions to your cat’s health regimen.
In particular natural remedies containing Arctostaphylos uva ursi and Berberis vulgaris are felt to have an antiseptic effect, killing potential infectious bacteria before they can become infections. Cantharis and Staphysagris can reduce inflammation and other symptomatic conditions that can increase the problems facing your cat if he does encounter an infection. This sort of proactive approach, in addition to similar wholesome choices regarding food, hygiene and daily care can make a huge difference in your cat’s overall health.
Remember, there is a large difference between feline kidney disease vs urinary tract infection. The first is a severe systemic failure and should always be addressed by a veterinarian. The second is also important enough to demand veterinary intervention, but in the long run good health habits and owner care choices can go a long way in preventing urinary tract infections and promoting the overall health of your cat.