Blood in the Urine in Cats

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Hematuria in Cats

Blood in the urine, a condition known as hematuria, may indicate a serious underlying disease process. Familial hematuria (a condition in which blood in the urine runs in certain families of animals) is usually implicated in young cats, while cancer is the usual cause in older cats. Females are at greater risk for urinary tract infections that lead to blood in the urine than are males.

Symptoms

Symptoms of hematuria include blood in the urine, a sign in itself. Red-tinged urine, with or without abnormal frequent passage of urine will be evident. In patients with cancer, a mass may be palpated during physical examination. Abdominal pain will be evident in some patients.

Patients with a blood-clotting disorder may present with subdermal skin hemorrhages, conditions known as petechiae and ecchymoses, which appear as bruises. These discolored spots will be indicated by round, purplish, non-raised patches on the skin.

Causes

  • Systemic causes are generally due to coagulopathy (clotting)
  • Low number of platelets or thrombocytes in the blood (a condition known as thrombocytopenia)
  • Diseases of the upper urinary tract are caused by inflammation of the blood vessels (known as vasculitis)
  • Upper urinary tract – the kidneys and ureters:
    • Structural or anatomic disease, such as cystic kidney disease and familial kidney disease
    • Metabolic diseases, such as kidney stones
    • Neoplasia
    • Infectious diseases
    • Nephritis
    • Idiopathic causes
    • Trauma
  • Lower Urinary Tract ‒ bladder and urethra:
    • Structural or anatomic issues such as bladder malformations are implicated in bringing on hematuria
    • Metabolic causes, such as stones, are possible
    • Neoplasia
  • Infectious disease (such as bacterial, fungal, and viral disease):
    • Idiopathic causes
    • Trauma
    • Chemotherapy can elicit hematuria
    • Unknown cause
    • Trauma

Diagnosis

You will need to give a thorough history of your cat's health, including a background history of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition. The history you provide may give your veterinarian clues as to which organs are causing secondary symptoms. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your cat, with a complete blood profile, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. In male cats, examination of an ejaculate sample will help to identify prostatic disease.

Differential diagnoses for blood-tinged urine will include other causes for discolored urine. The common urine reagent strip tests for blood are designed to detect red blood cells, hemoglobin, or protein. Diet will also be considered. If you are supplementing your cat's diet with vitamins or anything different from a regular kibble diet, you will need to share this with your veterinarian, since substantial doses of vitamin C (ascorbic aid) may cause false-negative reagent test strip results.

Ultrasonography, radiography, and contrast radiography may be useful in obtaining a diagnosis. If any mass lesions are indicated, a biopsy may be necessary for a definitive diagnosis. A vaginoscopy in female cats, or a cystoscopy in male cats will rule out neoplasia and lower urinary tract issues.

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urethra

A tube found between the bladder and the outside of the body; used to assist in urination.

systemic

Something that is related to the whole body and not just one particular part or organ

reagent

Any type of substance that is involved in a chemical reaction

urinalysis

An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness

urinary tract infection

Also referred to as a UTI; a medical condition of the urinary tract and system in which the cells are damaged by microorganisms.

vasculitis

Any inflammation of a blood vessel or lymph.

urolithiasis

A medical condition in which the bladder is filled in full or in part with bladder stones.

radiography

A procedure of imaging internal body structures by exposing film

hemoglobin

The protein that moves oxygen in the blood

ejaculate

The excretion of semen from the reproductive system of the male

dehydration

A medical condition in which the body has lost fluid or water in excessive amounts

biopsy

The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.

estrus

The time period in which a female is receptive to male attention

genitalia

The name for the reproductive organs

bacteremia

A disease that occurs when bacteria present in the blood.

hematuria

Blood in the urine

petechiae

Small purple or red spots on an animal’s skin; due to a small hemorrhage

Courtesy of petmd.com Original Article

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