urinary obstruction in cats

Frequent visits to the litter box along with vocalization and straining are signs of urinary obstruction. See your veterinarian immediately if you notice these symptoms.

Linus, a six-year old male neutered cat was brought to the hospital when his owner noticed him making multiple trips to the litter box. He would posture as if trying to urinate but nothing would come out. As he was trying to urinate he was crying which his owner thought was unusual behavior.

On presentation Linus was moderately dehydrated, slightly depressed and his heart rate was lower than I would have liked. During abdominal palpation I was able to feel a very large, hard bladder and determined that he had a urinary obstruction. After quickly placing an intravenous catheter we collected blood to check his electrolyte status.

The potassium levels in his blood were dangerously high; this can lead to cardiac arrhythmias and rapidly result in death. We started Linus on IV fluids and gave a medication to help lower his potassium. Because he was unable to urinate, the waste products that are normally excreted in urine were building up in his system and making him feel sick.

urinary obstruction in cats

Hill’s and other top pet food companies provide prescription diets to keep urinary obstruction at bay

I performed a cystocentesis which involves sticking a needle into his bladder to remove the urine and relieve some of his discomfort. Linus was also given pain medication as this condition is very painful for kitties. X-rays showed he had stones in his bladder causing the obstruction. The urethra in male cats is very narrow, creating the perfect condition for things to get stuck. Stones do not have to be present for obstructions to occur on cats; mucus plugs, inflammatory cells, and crystals can also cause this.

I sedated Linus so a urinary catheter could be passed to empty and flush out his bladder. He also needed aggressive intravenous fluids to rehydrate him and flush the waste products out of his system. Once he was stable enough for anesthesia he would need surgery to have the stones removed.

Linus went to surgery the next morning and recovered quickly. He was able to go home the following day. Analysis revealed that his stones were struvite, which was great because this type of bladder stone responds very well to diet change and has a low level of recurrence. Linus started his new prescription diet and his owners report he is like a new cat at home.

urinary obstruction in cats

Urinary obstruction is caused by the formation of crystals (in Linus’ case ‘struvite’) in the bladder that plug in the urethra.

Urinary obstruction is an important thing for owners of male cats to be aware of since it is incredibly common and can quickly become fatal. If you ever notice your cat making multiple trips to the litter box, straining to urinate and vocalizing please bring him in immediately.

Ashley Gallagher, DVM

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail
Tagged on:                         

Related Posts

Pet nutrition – What’s the deal with corn? Corn is a nutritional powerhouse! Corn, it has somehow become the enemy of pet food and pet nutrition. I’m not quite sure where it started but now...
Animal Sleeping Habits Explored – Infographic Sleeping habits can vary widely among members of the animal kingdom. You may be surprised at how much some animals sleep, and how little others do. If...
Training Your Cat for The Arrival of a New Child Bringing home a little bundle of joy, but worried about how you cat might react? Below is some great advice for preparing your cat for the arrival of ...
Pet Adoption – At Least Think About It Pets don't belong in cages; they belong in loving homes The number of cats and dogs in shelters continues to rise but each one of us can make a di...
Protect your pets from fleas, ticks, and heartworm! Here in DC spring is starting to make way for the summer heat and as we head outdoors with our pets fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are ready for a feast....
Cats vs Dogs – Is a pet in your future? It’s the age old question, “Which is the better pet, a cat or a dog?” In the cats vs dogs debate, the truth of the matter is that they both make wonde...
My Senior Cats – The Twilight Years This week we have a post from Sheryl Stewart of Stoughton, MA. Sheryl is a member of the PetTrax family and the proud pet mom to Ricky and Teddy, her ...