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The urogenital system includes the urinary and reproductive organs.
The urinary system is divided into two regions based on anatomy and function: upper (kidneys and ureters) and lower urinary (urinary bladder and urethra) tracts. The upper urinary tract filters metabolic wastes from the blood to be excreted into the urine. The kidneys also participate in blood pressure regulation and maintenance of the delicate electrolyte and water balance within the body-keeping only what is needed. The lower urinary tract serves as a reservoir for urine (bladder) and a pathway for excretion (urethra). Indications of a urinary tract problem are varied: excessive urination and drinking, straining to urinate, blood in the urine, odor to urine, changes in litter box habits, vomiting, diarrhea, inappetance, incontinence, and lethargy.
The genital system consists of the reproductive organs: the testicles, prostate, and bulbourethral glands. These organs produce hormones and allow reproduction. Signs associated with problems of the genital tract include: discharge, odor, straining to urinate and/or defecate, and lethargy.
Common urogenital ailments affecting cats:
- Lower urinary tract disease (LUTD): also known as Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS). This common feline condition does not yet have a definitive cause. Male and female cats may be plagued with this condition. LUTD looks and acts like a urinary tract infection; however, there is no bacterial growth in the urine. Cats are inherently resistant to urinary tract infections because they produce highly concentrated urine. Significant urinary tract inflammation can occur to cause life threatening urinary tract obstruction.
- Kidney failure: acute and chronic. Acute kidney failure can be caused by infections, kidney stones, toxins, and drugs to name a few. Aging pets may develop chronic kidney failure. Often, by the time chronic kidney failure is diagnosed, the cause cannot be determined.
- Urinary bladder stones : some stones form due to the presence of infection; others form by mineral imbalances in the urine. Kidney stones are less common.