Feline lower urinary tract disease syndrome (FLUTD) is a frustrating disease process for pet parents, veterinarians, and cats! Most felines with FLUTD are between 1 and 10 years of age of which the most common cause being feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) (55-56%) followed by urolithiasis (15-22%), and urethral plugs (10-21%). Cats that suffer from urinary disease require chronic management often involving routine vet visits, repeat diagnostics, nutritional modification, and environmental enrichment. Veterinary telehealth through Anipanion can play a proactive role in the care of these FLUTD felines. Here are some ways telehealth can help in management of chronic feline lower urinary disease.
- Urethral Obstruction
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Feline Idiopathic Cystitis
- Other: metabolic disease, neoplasia, congenital abnormalities, spinal cord injury
- Urinating in small amounts
- Blood in urine
- Vocalizing when urinating or when in litter box
- Inappropriate elimination
- Frequent, nonproductive trips to the litter box
- Prolonged attempts to urinate
- Excessive licking of genitalia
- Imaging (Rads, US)
- Multifactorial depending on underlying cause
- Hospitalization vs outpatient care
- Diet change
- Environmental Enrichment
- Litter box maintenance
Anipanion Telehealth can aid in FLUTD cases in all aspects of the disease. Real-time video sessions or asynchronous chat can connect you with the pet parent, monitor the patient’s symptoms, and monetize your time as the veterinary professional. The chronic nature of the disease makes effective and routine communication with the pet parent and veterinary staff a must for a successful outcome.
- Is the cat experiencing a urinary emergency or can this wait? Is this pet potentially blocked or is there more likely a behavioral urinary issue?
- Discussing symptoms with the pet parent remotely and guiding them with next steps to care for their pet remotely is an extremely valuable service.
- This interaction can save time for you and the client, allow the pet to stay stress-free in the home, and will create added value for your hospital.
- If the urinary issue is triaged as an emergency, prepare the client to come to your clinic for treatment or refer to local ER.
- If the urinary issue is not deemed an emergency, schedule for an in hospital physical exam and diagnostics.
In-Hospital Client Communication
Use Anipanion to communicate with your client while your feline patient is in hospital. Many updates can be sent to the pet parent through this platform freeing up phone lines and valuable staff time.
- Daily patient progress reports
- Lab results
- Educational materials
- Discharge instructions
- Billing information
- Schedule rechecks
Check in remotely with your recently discharged urethral blockage case next day.
- Has he urinated?
- How often is he urinating?
- Is he eating?
- Answer any followup questions the owner may have.
Schedule routine telehealth rechecks for any cat with chronic urinary medical issues every 2 weeks, every month, or as needed to make sure their issue is being controlled well.
Schedule for a drop off urine sample or schedule cystocentesis for urinalysis.
With appropriate VCPR, you can prescribe medications remotely for your patient if medically appropriate. These can be sent to the client’s home or prepared for in hospital pickup.
Correct nutrition and feeding is vital for the success of a FLUTD cat. Discuss feeding options with the pet parent to provide all appropriate nutritional options through Anipanion’s telehealth platform.
- What prescription food will be best for this patient?
- Wet or dry formulations?
- What is the water source?
- Does the pet parent use water bowls or fountains?
Stress is a contributing factor for feline urinalysis issues. Creating an environmental enrichment program will not only make your feline patients happier, but can prevent future urinary problems.
- Active mouse feeders
- Cat perches/towers/play structure
- Scratching posts and substrates
- Laser games
- Hunting toys
- Food puzzles
- Safe quiet space to retreat
- Feliway products
Litter Box Maintenance
Litter box maintenance is a class all cat parents should take. It is of utmost importance that litter boxes are cleaned and appropriately cared for to ensure that your cat will use them. Discuss a litter box maintenance program with your client, and ask to see the current setup by video or pictures.
- Number of litter boxes in home
- Location of litter boxes
- Frequency of scooping
- Frequency of litter dumping
- Type of litter substrate
- Scented or unscented litter
- Litter Box type:
- Covered vs uncovered
- Shallow vs deep
Feline lower urinary issues are oftentimes chronic in nature and require routine veterinary care. Integrate Anipanion’s telehealth platform into your FLUTD management protocol to allow your clients better access to information and pet care while monetizing your pet parent communication. Telehealth in your hospital will provide added service, more quality patient care, and will create more efficiencies in client communication.
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