Evaluation of the effects of stress in cats with idiopathic cystitis

Joellen L Westropp, Philip H Kass, C. A T Buffington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Objective - To determine the effects of stress in cats with feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) by evaluating bladder permeability, sympathetic nervous system function, and urine cortisol:creatinine (C:Cr) ratios during periods of stress and after environmental enrichment. Design - Prospective study. Animals - 13 cats with FIC and 12 healthy cats. Procedure - Cats subjected to an acute-onset moderate stressor for 8 days received IV injections of fluorescein. Serum fluorescein concentrations were determined and compared with those of controls to evaluate bladder permeability, and urine C:Cr ratios were compared to evaluate function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Plasma catecholamine concentrations were analyzed in a subset of cats. After 8 days of moderate stress, cats were moved to an enriched environment, and tests were repeated after 21 days. Results - Serum fluorescein concentrations were significantly higher in cats with FIC at all time points. In the cats in which plasma catecholamine concentrations were determined, concentrations of dihydroxyphenylalanine, norepinephrine, and dihyroxyphenylglycol were significantly higher in cats with FIC at all time points, whereas no differences in urine C:Cr ratio between groups were observed. Conclusion and clinical relevance - Cats with FIC appeared to have altered bladder permeability, most notably during the period of initial stress. The increase in plasma dihydroxyphenylalanine concentration suggests that there may be stress-induced increase in the activity of tyrosine hydroxylase, which catalyzes the rate-limiting step in catecholamine synthesis. In contrast, no effects of stress on C:Cr ratios were observed, which suggests there was dissociation between the sympathetic nervous system and HPA-axis responses to stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-736
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Veterinary Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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