Cats can experience urinary blockages without warning, and if it can't be treated effectively through standard means, a perineal urethrostomy (PU) could help. Our McAllen vets share more about PU surgery in cats.
How do urinary blockages happen in cats?
Cats experience uriinary blockages due to 'plugs' made of protein-rich sludge, crystals, or small stones that can get stuck in your cat's urethra - the tube that allows your cat to urinate. Neutered male cats have a much higher occurrence of urinary blockages because they have a much narrower urethra so less material can get through.
What does a urinary blockage look like in a cat?
When a cat has a urethral obstruction, they will squat to pee more frequently than normal but expel little to no actual urine. The most dangerous part of this is the continual buildup of liquid in the bladder that is unable to be expelled when the bladder is filled. This will cause serious, and noticeable discomfort and even pain from the pressure. The toxic waste that is typically released through urination will begin to back up into the bloodstream resulting in lethargy, disorientation, and vomiting. If this issue isn't treated promptly, the bladder will rupture.
How can PU surgery help my cat?
If your cat's condition can't be fixed using standard treatment options such as pushing the blockage away with a catheter, or your cat is prone to urinary blockages, a surgical procedure called perineal urethrostomy (PU) may be the option your vet decides is best.
This procedure is designed to make the urethra wider, which allows for potential blockages to pass through more easily, rather than getting stuck and causing a potentially critical health issue. This surgery reduces the risk of future blockages, but does not guarantee that they will never get an obstruction again.
What to expect after surgery
Your cat will be required to wear an Elizabethan collar (e-collar) to prevent licking or biting at the surgical site. Excessive licking can interfere with healing and if your cat licks or gets to the incision, there may not be any tissue left to repair since the skin is quite thin. This collar must not be removed until your vet approves, which is typically in about 2 weeks.
Your cat will need to be kept calm and have their activity restricted. Your veterinarian could recommend confining your pet to a small, comfortable area with easy access to food, litter and water. They should also be kept away from other pets, where their activity can be limited and they can be closely monitored.
Immediately after the surgery, it is normal for your pet to have bloody urine for a few days and may have accidents as they get used to the new function of their urethra. This is temporary and we recommend you keep your pet in a room with tile during your cat's recovery from PU surgery so any accidents can be cleaned up easily. If blood or urine stains their back legs or belly, you can use a wet washcloth to clean them. Do not wipe the incision area directly.
Your cat will require a special litter for his recovery so it won't stick to the incision. You can use shredded newspaper or if your cat prefers a pelleted litter, you can purchase pelleted paper litter. Be prepared and have an appropriate paper litter ready for your cat when he gets home. You can return to your regular litter after they have healed.
What is my cat's long-term prognosis after surgery?
The general outcome of PU surgery is positive. It can help your cat live a more comfortable life without frequent bladder obstructions.
Studies have shown that cats tend to live around three to five years after PU surgery. That being said, this surgery won't negatively harm their life expectancy. With proper preventive care, your cat can live a happy, healthy, blockage-free life.
What is the cost of PU surgery in cats?
The cost of surgery can get pretty steep, and prices vary depending on the diagnostic test needed, and the extent of the condition. Alternatively, if you compare the cost of surgery to the cost of frequent treatment for blockages, it may actually save you money in the long run. Contact our Nolana Animal Hospital vets to get an estimate.
How can I prevent my cat from developing a urinary obstruction?
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 give them the opportunity 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. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.