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Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Lower Urinary Tract Disease (L.U.T.D.) is an infection or inflammation of the bladder and/or the urethra (the canal that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body). In some instances, L.U.T.D. can lead to the formation of stones in the bladder.

Numerous factors contribute to the development of L.U.T.D. Examples are: improper mineral balance in the diet, diets that promote too high or too low a urine pH, bacteria, viruses, infrequent urination, decreased water intake, stress, obesity, bladder or urethral tumors and congenital defects.

Signs of the disease include:

  • urinating in inappropriate locations
  • frequent or painful urination
  • blood-tinged or strong smelling urine
  • excess licking of the genital area

Untreated L.U.T.D. can progress rapidly to a partial or complete blockage of the urethra, allowing little or no urine to be voided. Urethral blockage is life threatening and can quickly lead to death as waste products build up to toxic levels in the pet's body.

Signs of urethral blockage include:

  • inability to urinate
  • straining or pain that may resemble constipation
  • depression
  • abdominal pain
  • difficulty walking
  • vomiting
  • crying
  • restlessness

Diagnosis of L.U.T.D. is based on symptoms, examination findings, urine testing, blood tests and x-rays.

Treatment consists of appropriate antibiotics, urine pH control or other medications and dietary modifications. In serious cases, placement of a urinary catheter to allow urination, intravenous fluid treatments and possible surgical removal of bladder or urethral stones may be necessary.


  • Use all medications and special diets as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Monitor your pet carefully to be sure normal urination is occurring. This step is very important!
  • If a special diet has been prescribed for your pet, do not offer any other food, treats, or table foods. These can contain elements that cause a relapse. It is important to follow all instructions as outlined by your veterinarian.
  • It is also important for your pet to have access to fresh water at all times.
  • It is important to have your pet rechecked as recommended by your veterinarian.
  • A follow up urinalysis is necessary to monitor your pet's progress.

If you have questions about this or any medical topic, please contact your Banfield hospital today.