Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD): The Blocked Cat

Is this an emergency?

One of the most common emergencies we see in male cats is urinary obstruction. This is typically caused by plugs of mucus, crystals, or small stones that form in the kidneys and are passed to the bladder, becoming lodged in the urethra. This can quickly become an emergency situation especially if the urethra is fully blocked, as the bladder will continue to grow larger. If medical attention is not sought, the bladder will eventually rupture and death will occur.


The symptoms of urinary obstruction can start out mild with:
  • Straining to urinate
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • Bloody urine
  • Urinating outside of the litter box
Once cats become completely obstructed, the following symptoms may be observed:
  • Attempting to urinate and producing nothing
  • Painful abdomen
  • Vocalizing more than normal
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy


Felines with urinary obstruction are typically treated by passing a urinary catheter and removing the obstruction. For more stable cases, anesthesia is required for the procedure. The catheter is normally left in for a few days to allow the urethral inflammation to subside and intravenous fluids are administered to rectify electrolyte imbalance and rehydrate. Once the catheter is pulled, the pet is also monitored in the hospital for 24 hours to ensure he can urinate on his own before being sent home.

For recurring urinary obstruction a perineal urethrostomy (PU) can be performed to widen the opening at the end of the urethra in order to prevent future blockages. There are also several urinary diets that are specially formulated to prevent crystals from forming in the urine.

If your cat is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately before it becomes a life-threatening situation.

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