What is Interstitial Cystitis?

December 6, 2016
American Veterinarian Editorial Staff

Meri Hall, RVT, CVT, LVT, LATG, VTS (SAM), veterinary technician of internal medicine, from Veterinary Specialty Hospital of Palm Beach Gardens, explains what interstitial cystitis is, and how to deal with it.

Meri Hall, RVT, CVT, LVT, LATG, VTS (SAM), veterinary technician of internal medicine, from Veterinary Specialty Hospital of Palm Beach Gardens, explains what interstitial cystitis is, and how to deal with it.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“Interstitial cystitis is a stress-induced [condition]. What happens is that the animal doesn’t go to the bathroom into the litter box, so their bladder becomes enflamed because they haven’t urinated [within] a [specific] timeframe and their bladder expands; it’s a stressor. [The] same thing happens with women, especially in the medical field; we don’t always go when we need to and it causes that pain and discomfort. By not allowing the animals to have some enrichment and natural behaviors reduce their stress, we have actually created a lot of the problems that we created with cats and their idiopathic cystitis.

Typically, what we have [pet owners] do is [give the cat] toys, things of that nature, to start. [We] show them videos of cats that are stressed and have them realize that this is a natural occurrence in animals, just like it is with people. There’re a lot of YouTube videos out there of cats with normal behavior and cats with stress behaviors. That has helped me explain that to clients, and I have a lot of clients who finally when they say ‘hey, we’ll try it,’ [realize that] it works. It’s very important that the animals are not stressed.”