Lower urinary tract signs (LUTS) are frequently encountered. Fifty-seven percent of cats with LUTS have feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC),1 and although the precise cause is unknown, studies show stress plays a significant role.2-3
“Over the past 20 years, a growing amount of research indicates that FIC is more than just a condition of the urinary bladder. Studies have revealed that FIC signs are, in fact, often the result of complex interactions between the urinary bladder, nervous system, and adrenal glands. Stress appears to be an important factor in episodes of FIC and often precedes a cat’s first episode,” said S. Dru Forrester, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, Director of Global Scientific Affairs for Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
Environmental stress increases stimulus to the brain and activates the stress response system. This enhances sympathetic nerve input down the spinal cord to the urinary bladder. In healthy cats, sympathetic nervous input is dampened by cortisol released from the adrenal gland. However, cats with FIC appear to have a blunted cortisol response, which leads to less inhibition of the sympathetic nervous system. Increased sympathetic input to the bladder causes neurogenic inflammation and LUTS that are typical of FIC.
At this point, sensory input from the bladder is transmitted back to the brain and perceived as pain, which causes additional stress and can lead to a self-perpetuating condition.
Up to 65% of FIC cases recur within one to two years.
Therapeutic nutrition can help break this painful cycle. Hill’s Pet Nutrition Prescription Diet® c/d® Multicare Stress is clinically tested to reduce the recurrence of FIC signs by 89% and is specially formulated with the following ingredients to help manage stress and promote urinary bladder health:
- Hydrolyzed casein, a bioactive peptide, helps relieve anxiety in cats.
- L-tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that affects mood and decreases anxiety.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, help reduce and control inflammation.
- Antioxidants, vitamin E and beta-carotene, help counteract oxidative stress and free radicals.
Stress-related behaviors such as vocalization, house soiling, scratching, and agonistic interactions have been shown to significantly decrease after dietary supplementation of L-tryptophan.4 And hydrolyzed casein (milk protein hydrolysate) has been found to have a statistically positive effect in the management of anxious disorders, such as fear of strangers, general fears, fear-related aggressions and autonomic disorders.5
1 Gerber B, Borretti FS, Kley S, et al. Evaluation of clinical signs and causes of lower urinary tract disease in European cats. J Small Anim Pract 2005;46:571-577.
2 Buffington CA. Idiopathic Cystitis in Domestic Cats — Beyond the Lower Urinary Tract. J Vet Intern Med 2011; 25:784-796.
3 Black PH. Stress and the Inflammatory Response: A review of neurogenic inflammation. Brain Behav Immun 2002; 16: 622-653.
4 Pereira GG, Fragoso S, Pires E. Effect of dietary intake of L-tryptophan supplementation on multi housed cats presenting stress related behaviors, in Proceeding. BSAVA 2010.
5 Beata C, Beaumont-Graff E, Coll V, et al. Effect of alpha-casozepine (Zylkene) on anxiety in cats. J Vet Behav 2007;2(2):40-46.