Categories: urinary tract

Urinary tract INFLAMMATION versus urinary tract INFECTION

More people should read Dr Pierson’s website I am very happy to promote it because I feel very strongly that this woman is an extremely good veterinarian, very thoughtful and knowledgeable. Also, she does not have an axe to grind. Everything she writes is in the best interests of domestic cat health. She is not fearful of upsetting big business when she criticises the potentially harmful effects of dry cat food and the overprescription of antibiotics.

In this instance she makes a very good point about the difference between an inflammation and an infection of the urinary tract. A lot of us, and I have done this, like to dive in and use the initials “UTI” to describe urinary tract health problems. But Dr Pierson makes a valuable point that “cats showing signs of urinary tract disease are often erroneously assumed to have a bladder infection”.

Specifically, Dr Pierson DVM refers to idiopathic cystitis. Cystitis, she argues, is 99% of the time sterile meaning that no infection is present. The word cystitis means an ‘inflammation of the bladder’. Under these circumstances, the abbreviation UTI is used to stand for “urinary tract INFLAMMATION” and not “urinary tract INFECTION”.

This is an important point, Dr Pierson states, because by describing the condition as an ‘infection’ leads to the overprescription of antibiotics. As a lay person, I will argue that this is a commonly encountered veterinary issue because I have personally seen it. If nearly all cats coming into a veterinary clinic with a UTI are suffering from sterile cystitis they should not be prescribed antibiotics. It appears that vets play safe in prescribing antibiotics to the detriment of their patients’ health.

To recap, Dr Pierson says that cats who are otherwise healthy, namely no kidney disease, diabetes or hypothyroidism but showing urinary tract signs will be suffering from sterile cystitis, meaning that no infection is present and therefore antibiotics are not appropriate. Stress is a leading factor in developing idiopathic cystitis.

Misuse of antibiotics leads, Dr Pierson says, to more resistant strains of bacteria. Note: she criticises Convenia, a long acting antibiotic which has been implicated in severe adverse reactions. Please read her website for more.

Note: the capitals do not represent shouting but to emphasis the word. Words in bold or underlined do not show on AMP cell phone viewed pages.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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