Cats can develop urinary blockages that aren't treatable with standard methods and require perineal urethrostomy (PU) surgery. Today, our Bonita Springs vets explain when PU surgery is necessary and what you can expect following the procedure.
Urinary Blockages in Cats
Blockages in the urinary tract are caused by 'plugs' of protein-rich sludge, crystals, or small stones that become lodged in your cat's urethra - the tube through which your cat urinates. Neutered male cats have a significantly higher incidence of urinary blockages due to their narrower urethra, which allows for less material to pass through.
Symptoms of a Urinary Blockage
An obstruction in the urethra causes a cat to squat more frequently than usual, but little or no urine is expelled. The most pressing issue is that liquid continues to enter the bladder but cannot be expelled when full. The pressure will cause serious discomfort and even pain. The toxic waste normally excreted through urination begins to build up in the bloodstream, causing fatigue, disorientation, and vomiting. The bladder will rupture if not treated quickly.
If your cat's condition can't be fixed with standard treatment options like pushing the blockage away with a catheter, or if your cat is prone to urinary blockages, your vet may recommend a surgical procedure called perineal urethrostomy (PU).
The purpose of this procedure is to widen the urethra, allowing potential blockages to pass through rather than becoming stuck. This surgery decreased the likelihood of future blockages, but it does not guarantee that they will never have another.
What to Expect After Surgery
To prevent licking or biting at the surgical site, your cat will be required to wear an Elizabethan collar (e-collar). Excessive licking can impede healing, and if your cat licks or gets to the incision, there may not be enough tissue to repair it because the skin is so thin. This collar must not be removed until your veterinarian gives you the okay, which is usually in about two weeks.
Your cat will also need to be kept calm and their activities limited. Your veterinarian may advise you to confine your cat to a small area away from other pets, where his activity can be limited and he can be closely monitored.
It is normal for your pet to have bloody urine for a few days after surgery and to have accidents as they adjust to the new function of their urethra. This is only temporary, and we recommend that you keep your pet in a tiled room for your cat's PU surgery recovery so that any accidents can be easily cleaned up. If blood or urine stains their back legs or belly, a wet washcloth can be used to clean them. Avoid wiping the incision area directly.
For his recovery, your cat will need a special litter that will not stick to the incision. You can use shredded newspaper or if your cat prefers pelleted litter, pelleted paper litter. Prepare an appropriate paper litter for your cat when he returns home. After they have healed, you can return to your regular litter.
PU surgery has a good long-term outcome. When your cat doesn't have to deal with bladder obstructions as often, it'll be happier.
PU-surviving cats live for an average of three to five years after surgery, according to research. Having said that, they can expect a long and healthy life after this surgery. Your cat can have a long, healthy, and happy life if you take good preventive care of him.
Preventing Urinary Obstructions
Proper preventive care is the key to reducing your cat's risk of developing urinary blockages. Routine visits to your vet for a routine exam will allow them to ensure your cat is receiving the right care at home to prevent blockages, but here are some other things you can do between appointments:
- Increase your cat's water intake by providing clean, fresh water, or adding some flavor.
- Change their diet to a urinary diet that has limited minerals, such as magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.
- Reduce your cat's stress by keeping their litter clean, and reducing changes to their schedule.
- Offer an enriched environment with perches, moving toys, or food puzzles.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.