October 7, 2020 — The SPCA Serving Erie County is unable to admit felines experiencing Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) at this time. The SPCA’s Vice President of Veterinary Services, Melanie Rushforth, shares the following:

In an effort to illustrate the mission of the SPCA Serving Erie County, and to care for the pets in the shelter (both medically and behaviorally) at any given time, the Veterinary Services Department has made the decision to cease accepting surrenders for felines experiencing feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) at this time.

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is not a single disease process but a term used to describe a group of different diseases involving the feline urinary bladder and urethra. Caretakers and citizens within the community often refer to this as having “a blocked cat.” Blockages can present as partial or full obstructions.

Partial obstructions can occasionally be treated medically with pain medication and drugs to relax the urinary tract. Complete urethral obstruction is a life-threatening emergency.

Obstructed cats can rapidly have cardiac arrest as a result of electrolyte imbalances. Kidney failure and rupture of the bladder are other possible consequences.

Successful management depends on a long-term commitment and a joint approach with the cat’s care provider and the veterinary team but will generally require a multimodal strategy in a stress-free environment.

This is a highly distressing condition for both the cat and the caretaker. The best success rates are achieved by making an accurate diagnosis, so the most appropriate treatment can be prescribed. Management must be multimodal, including identifying and controlling underlying medical disorders, using dietary management, identifying and alleviating stressors in the cat’s environment and modifying where appropriate.

Veterinary Services is committed to reexamining this policy in the future, and will continue to take the health and well-being of the animal into high consideration when making any changes to our standard policy and procedure.