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Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC)

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Treatment In-depth

Treatment of FIC must be individualized based on the severity of the condition and other factors that must be analyzed by your veterinarian. Treatments may include:

  • Unrestricted access to large amounts of fresh clean water is very important so as to increase water intake and cause the cat to produce less concentrated urine. Some companies have developed products such as the pet "waterfall" to increase the cat's interest in drinking.

  • Change in diet from a dry food to a canned food to increase water intake and cause your pet to produce less concentrated urine. Bouillon, clam juice, juice from canned tuna, and water also can be added to dry foods to increase water intake.

  • Fluid therapy may be recommended in dehydrated pets. Fluid therapy also facilitates increased production of dilute urine ("diuresis") which may aid in the elimination of inflammatory debris and crystals.

  • Although antibiotics frequently are prescribed for cats with FIC, there is no evidence that FIC is a bacterial disease.

  • Likewise, occasionally cortisone-like drugs are prescribed for their anti-inflammatory effects but there is no evidence that they hasten recovery.

  • In severe cases, the anti-inflammatory agent Dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) may be infused into the bladder while the cat is under general anesthesia. Your veterinarian may suggest referral to a veterinary specialist for such a procedure.

  • Attempts to reduce stress such as providing climbing toys, scratching posts, and toys to chase are recommended by some veterinarians. For tips on enriching your cats life, please read Selecting the Right Environmental Enrichment for Your Cat.

  • Some veterinarians prescribe analgesic (anti-pain) drugs such as butorphanol during a bout of FIC.

  • Most cats with an acute bout of FIC will get well within in 5-7 days regardless of the treatment employed.

  • In some cases, drugs to relax the urethra (acepromazine, phenoxybenzamine) are prescribed to reduce the likelihood of urethral obstruction.

  • Most cats with an acute bout of FIC usually recover within in 5-7 days regardless of the treatment employed.

  • The tricyclic antidepressant drug amitriptyline has been tried in refractory cases of FIC after owners have become frustrated with other medical approaches. This drug also has anti-inflammatory properties and encourages bladder filling. It should only be tried in refractory cases.

  • Male cats that develop urinary obstruction should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Urinary obstruction in cats for more than 48 hours can become life-threatening. Such cats lose their appetite, become lethargic, and make frequent distressed attempts to urinate.

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