By Sarah Guy, medwireNews Reporter
Cats with feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) share risk factors common to cats with feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), including high bodyweight and low activity levels, report researchers.
The study findings also suggest that urethral plugs might be an important cause or contributing factor of obstruction in FIC after the researchers observed nearly three-quarters of male cats in the study with FIC had at least one obstructive episode, and an obstruction was more likely in cats with struvite crystalluria.
"These findings might indicate a role for struvite crystals in the pathogenesis of an obstruction in FIC. However, it is also possible that struvite crystal formation increases after obstruction due to an increase in urinary pH that can occur with lack of food intake or in stressful situations," remark Pieter Defauw (Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium) and colleagues.
The team conducted a case-control study of 64 cats with FIC and 64 healthy cats, comparing the presence of variables including breed, bodyweight, water intake, use of a litter box, hunting behavior, interaction with other cats, and occurrence of specific stressful situations during the 3 months before the first episode of cystitis.
Data analysis showed that while there were no significant associations between FIC and breed, cats with FIC were significantly heavier than control cats, at 5.5 kg versus 4.7 kg, and there were significantly more cats in the household among cats with FIC compared with controls, at 2.6 versus 1.9.
Use of a litter box, lower water intake, a reduced activity level, less hunting behavior, and restricted access to the outside were all also significantly more common among cats with FIC than among those without. The only stressful situation identified in the study that was significantly more common in cats with FIC compared with those without was a house move, adds the research team.
Among male cats, 37 (73%) had at least one obstructive episode, and of the 27 that presented with an obstruction (53%), 10 (37%) had urethral plugs. Presence of struvite crystalluria was also significantly higher in male cats that presented with an obstruction (n=18 vs n=9).
"The results support the statement that the combination of a susceptible cat together with a deficient environment is needed for most episodes of FIC," conclude Defauw et al in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.
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