Does your cat sit on the litter tray for ages but not actually pass any urine?
Does your cat make frequent trips to the litter tray but only pass a small amount?
Does your cat vocalise whilst urinating?
Does your cat have blood in its urine?
If your cat is showing any of these signs then he or she may be struggling to urinate.
This can be a life threatening situation and veterinary attention should always be sought. The main reason for an inability to urinate normally is a blocked or partially blocked urethra – the tube that links the bladder to the outside. Cats with complete urethral blockage require urgent treatment to relieve the blockage – this is one of the big feline emergencies to be aware of as a cat owner.
For more information on medical management of feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) click here to link to the next blog.
Despite medical management some cats still form enough crystals to make a ‘plug/stone’ which blocks the urethra, causing ongoing misery to the cat in their attempts to pass urine. For those cats with stones stuck in their urethra, further investigation and possibly surgery is necessary.
Often under sedation the lodged stone can be dislodged back into the bladder with flushing via a catheter which is inserted into the urethra. Sometimes the catheter is left in place for a few days for the urethral inflammation to settle. In the meantime the urine is analysed to see if there is infection and /or crystals present.
The dislodged stone that is now back in the bladder may be dissolved slowly with the use of the correct prescription die. Not all cats require a cystostomy (surgical opening of the bladder) to remove the offending stones but in some cases this is essential. For any stones that cannot be dislodged from the urethra or in cats with frequent reoccurrence of obstruction, surgery is required.
A perineal urethrostomy (removal of the penis and part of the urethra) would be the procedure of choice for obstructive episodes affecting the penile urethra. The aim of this surgery is to remove the penile urethra, which is a very narrow tube in order to prevent any stones becoming lodged and to make a new opening for urine to pass through. A new aperture, a much wider opening to the urethra is created surgically.This allows any debris/crystals/stones to pass without obstructing the urethra and also enables a good flow of urine to be voided.The patients do not require indwelling urethral catheters following surgery and they do not experience urinary incontinence. A perineal urethrostomy can be an extremely successful procedure, giving a large number of cats long lasting relief from their obstructed urethra.
Important points in the treatment of FLUTD
- Observe your cats urination
- Feed the correct prescription diet
- Promote water intake
- Administer GAG supplements
- Reduce stress
Remember if you see your cat struggling to urinate then seek veterinary attention immediately.
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