Species affected: Cats
Background: This is a poorly understood complex of diseases in the cat. It is characterized by cystitis, with straining, hematuria, etc. In some male cats, struvite crystals in the urine combine with matrix material to form a plug, and because of the more narrow urethra, male cats can become obstructed and die if not treated. The causes are unknown and probably multiple. There has been some discussion of occult viral infections.
Symptoms: Some cats have simple hematuria and pain, while others have struvite crystals in the urine.
Diagnostics: Urinalysis, physical exam.
Special Notes: Diet is definitely implicated, with dry cat food a very important factor.
Principles for Supplementation: These cats may represent a model for the human disease, interstitial cystitis, and based on work in humans, cats have been successfully treated with the glycosaminoglycan pentosan polysulfate; this is the basis for the recommendation of Arthroplex below. Other natural treatments help heal the wall of the bladder and remove bacterial infections if present.