Urinary Tract Blockage in Cats is More Than Mere Bathroom Troubles,
It’s a Life-Threatening Condition that could Kill Your Pet in a Matter of Days!
Manchester, NH – Your cat’s urinary system has an important, and rather sizable job to do. The kidneys work to maintain healthy blood and eliminate toxins, working in conjunction with the bladder, which serves as a storage tank. As the bladder becomes full, urine is passed out of the body through the urethra. Urine is the means by which the body gets rid of waste products, toxins, and other harmful substances. Since the excretion of wastes from the kidneys through the bladder to the outside of the body is absolutely necessary in order to remain healthy, problems with the urinary tract system can become very serious very quickly, especially if they in any way prevent urine from leaving the body.
Feline urinary blockage is a serious medical condition that is extremely painful for a cat and can quickly become life threatening if it is not treated by a veterinarian — the time from complete urinary blockage until death may be less than twenty-four to forty-eight hours! A build-up of toxins that are normally expelled in the urine can cause a complete system failure. Whenever a cat, male or female, has difficulty urinating, it should be considered a medical emergency regardless of whether or not it is feline urinary blockage. Males however are more at risk because while a female cat’s urethra (the tube that transports urine from the bladder out of the body) is relatively short and wide, a male cat’s urethra is long, narrow and much more easily obstructed.
Both inflammation and infection can prevent a cat’s urinary system from functioning correctly, while a total blockage can occur when mucous, along with microscopic particles or crystals that form hardened mineral deposits in the kidney, make their way to the urethra and plug the opening
Symptoms of feline urinary blockage may include frequent trips to the litter box where the animal will squat, strain or cry out in pain in an attempt to pass even just a few drops of blood-tinged urine or, in some severe instances, none at all. In late stages of feline urinary blockage, the cat will become obviously ill and may not be able to stand. This is due to extremely altered levels of electrolytes within the body, especially potassium, which can ultimately case heart failure. The cat may also vomit and have a swollen belly, which is the result of a dangerously full bladder. If left untreated, the animal’s bladder can even rupture. Should your pet exhibit any of these signs, medical attention is vital.
It’s hard to tell when a cat is blocked versus when he is unblocked and merely suffering from a less life-threatening urinary tract condition, as the inflammation, urgency, and non-productive straining can look identical in either case. The easiest way to tell is by actually feeling in the belly for the presence of a distended bladder. It is often the size and firmness of a peach if it there is an obstruction. Normal bladders are usually soft like partly filled water balloons and non-obstructed inflamed bladders are usually very small or empty. Still, while this size and texture difference is obvious to a professionally trained veterinarian, most pet owners are not able to feel for the bladder correctly. If your cat has been blocked too much squeezing of the belly can worsen the problem or cause the bladder to rupture. If there is any question about whether a male cat is blocked, he should be immediately taken to the vet for evaluation.
Upon diagnosis of feline urinary blockage, your veterinarian will immediately attempt to remove the obstruction. This procedure is done by placing a catheter inside the urethra and flushing it with sterile solution to remove or dislodge the blockage. Usually, the catheter is sewn in place and remains for a few days until the risk of subsequent blockages is gone. Unless the cat is comatose, catheterization usually requires anesthesia. After the obstruction has been relieved, treatment varies depending upon the condition of the cat. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance are treated with intravenous fluid therapy. Antimicrobial medications are frequently given to combat bacteria, and drugs that help restore bladder function are sometimes required. Hospitalization may range from a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity and duration of the obstruction. Some cats don’t survive because treatment is initiated too late.
Remember, if you suspect your cat is suffering from urethral obstruction or blockage, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately or bring them to an emergency care clinic. Feline urinary blockage is a true medical emergency, and immediate treatment is essential to ensuring that you and your feline friend live a healthy, happy, long life together.
About South Willow Animal Hospital:
South Willow Animal Hospital is a full service veterinary hospital that strives to give exceptional client service while practicing high quality medicine. Their mission is to exceed the expectations of their clients by utilizing a highly trained professional staff that is committed to client satisfaction, quality and efficiency of patient care. In addition to offering comprehensive pet oral examinations and dental cleanings, their services include routine wellness exams, surgical procedures, internal medicine, vaccinations, microchipping, and pain management. For more information or to schedule an appointment please call (603) 641-6252 or visit www.southwillowah.com.