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What Causes Urinary Blockage In Cats

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How Much Does It Cost To Treat Blocked Cats

#1 Best Remedy for a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)

In general, non-surgical treatment for urinary blockage in a cat that does not re-obstruct when the catheter is removed will cost between $750 and $1,500. However, in the case of a cat that obstructs multiple times or requires surgery as part of its therapy, the cost can exceed more than $3,000.

The final costs for treating a blocked cat will depend on several factors, such as how long the animal was blocked, whether they require surgery to correct the obstruction, the duration of the hospitalization, the type of hospital in which they received care, your location, etc.

Surgical Intervention For Refractory Cases

For recurrent cases of FIC in male cats where blockage is a risk, and dietary and environmental modifications have not prevented relapse, a last line of treatment to prevent future obstruction is surgery to widen the male urethra. This is called Perineal Urethrostomy but brings with it other risks and should therefore only be considered once all other options have been exhausted.

Preventing Male Cat Urinary Blockage

Unfortunately, once a male cat has a urinary blockage, there’s a higher risk of it happening again. At the first sign of urinary issues, you should have a conversation with your vet about selecting proper nutrition to better support your cat’s urinary health to reduce the risk of recurring issues. In highly recurrent cases it’s also possible for your vet to suggest a cat urethrostomy a surgery that creates an opening in the urethra above the blockage to allow for normal urine drainage.

Water consumption is an important part of flushing debris from your cat’s system and preventing blockage try offering them water from a drinking fountain instead of a bowl, flavoring a second water bowl with some tuna juice and switching them to canned food if they currently eat dry food.

Nutrition can also play an important role in preventing blockage. If your cat already experiences urinary health issues, then a therapeutic cat food may help dissolve your cat’s crystals or make it less likely they form new ones and maintain a healthy urine pH that contributes to overall urinary health. This food is available through your veterinarian and should be fed under the supervision of a vet ask your vet if a Prescription Diet cat food might be right for your cat..

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Avoiding Euthanasia: Nonconventional Management

Conventional management of UO can involve substantial owner expense. Financial constraints may result in euthanasia of cats with UO, especially those with recurrent UO. While conventional management with urethral catheter and intensive care should always be offered as the first treatment choice, a noncatheterization protocol may be a viable alternative to euthanasia.

In a 2010 study, Cooper and colleagues described a protocol for managing UO in male cats without urethral catheterization14:

  • Acepromazine and buprenorphine are administered to provide sedation and analgesia.
  • If no urine is expressed, therapeutic cystocentesis is performed and the cat is housed in a dark, quiet room to minimize stress.
  • Acepromazine and buprenorphine are administered, with cystocentesis repeated every 8 hours. Medetomidine can be administered if no urination is noted within 24 hours, and SC fluids can be given as needed.
  • Treatment success, defined as spontaneous urination within 72 hours, occurred in 11 of 15 cats treatment failure occurred in 4 of 15 cats. Cats that experienced treatment failure had significantly higher serum creatinine concentrations, although the magnitude of pretreatment azotemia was not an exclusionary criterion. Necropsy of 3 of the cats with treatment failure showed no evidence of bladder rupture.14

    How Is A Urinary Blockage Diagnosed And Treated

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    Once you arrive at the vet, the doctor will do an exam on your cat. In addition to an exam, your vet may also need to take X-rays, get a urine sample, and do a blood test to make a diagnosis.

    If there is an obstruction to the urinary tract, the vet will sedate your cat and insert a catheter in the urethra to flush out the blockage and the bladder. In some cases, stones have to be pushed back into the bladder. Your vet will then perform surgery to remove the bladder stones.

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    Seasonal Link To Urinary Blockage In Cats

    Veterinary researchers at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine are investigating whether the time of year affects feline urethral obstruction in Saskatchewans cat population.

    Nicole CrossmanSep 12, 2019

    UO is associated with several conditions affecting the urinary bladder and the urethra in cats. Some examples of these disorders include urinary stones, a mucus or crystalline obstruction, and interstitial cystitis .

    Urethral obstructions have been reported to account for up to 10 per cent of feline emergencies. says Dr. Kevin Cosford, a small animal internal medicine specialist at the WCVM who is leading the research study.

    To determine if there is a seasonal connection to feline UO in Saskatchewan, the WCVM researchers conducted a retrospective study of feline cases. They examined medical records between 2006 and 2019 from the WCVMs Small Animal Clinic, with a special focus given to cats diagnosed with urethral obstructions. Then, they compared the number of obstructed cats to the overall cat admissions seen over the same time frame.

    Cosford was inspired to start this research because of how common UO is in the feline population and his years of clinical experience working with cats affected by this disorder.

    “The underlying reason for doing this is to look into the cause of the disorder, with the hopes that maybe it’ll help us understand how to better prevent and potentially treat the disorder, he says.

    About Dr Chris Vanderhoof Dvm Mph

    Dr. Chris Vanderhoof is a 2013 graduate of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, where he also earned a Masters in Public Health. He completed a rotating internship with Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey and now works as a general practitioner in the Washington D.C. area.Dr. Vanderhoof is also a copywriter specializing in the animal health field and founder of Paramount Animal Health Writing Solutions, which can be found at Dr. Vanderhoof lives in the Northern Virginia area with his family, including 3 cats.

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    Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infections In Cats

    Most cats with urinary tract infections will make frequent trips to the litter box and seem restless. They may go into the box and strain to pee but produce either a small amount of urine or no urine at all. Occasionally, their urine may appear bloody.

    Some cats will avoid the litter box because they have associated it with the discomfort caused by the UTI. Instead, they may urinate in other places in your home. Sinks, bathtubs, and clean laundry are popular spots. Your cat also may vomit and seem lethargic as the problem progressesespecially male cats.

    In most cases, acute and chronic urinary tract infections will cause very similar symptoms. However, some cats with the chronic form show no signs of disease.

    What Causes Urinary Blockage In Cats

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    Feline urinary blockages can be caused by several underlying conditions, including:

    • A small stone or an accumulation of tiny stones that become lodged within the urethra
    • A plug in the urethra, usually an accumulation of crystals, cells, proteins, or debris in the urethra
    • Swelling and spasm of the urethra, which typically occurs during inflammation of the urethra or bladder
    • Urinary obstruction can also result from feeding magnesium-rich foods
    • Less frequently, it can be caused by trauma, infections, or tumors.

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    Treatment For Utis In Cats

    If you see any signs of UTI in your cat, take them to the vet. For male cats, it can be fatal to wait even a few hours. For female cats, feed them canned food only and see the vet within 24 hours. You should not try to treat the UTI at home with things like cranberry products, which have not been proven to be effective for UTIs in cats.

    Urinary tract infections in cats are usually treated with antibiotics. Often, vets also recommend feeding an all-canned diet for a period of time since dry foods often result in a more-concentrated urine, which can lead to urinary tract problems.

    If your cat is particularly uncomfortable, your vet may prescribe anti-inflammatory pain medicationespecially if treatment is delayed a few days while you wait for test results. Acute infections usually receive a relatively short course of antibiotics, while chronic UTIs may require longer antibiotic use.

    History And Clinical Signs

    Cats with a history of lower urinary tract diseaseparticularly interstitial cystitisare at an increased risk for developing urethral obstruction.8 Some patients may have a history of obstruction.9 Clinical signs of urethral obstruction can vary depending on the severity and duration of the obstruction. Initially, the most common clinical sign is stranguria, which is sometimes mistaken by the owner as constipation.8 Affected cats may urinate frequently, strain to urinate, urinate inappropriately, and pass small volumes of blood-stained urine .10 Lethargy, anorexia, vomiting, and other signs of systemic illness are also common.1 Signs of discomfort or pain caused by an inflamed urethra and increased bladder size include vocalization, inappetence, and hiding. Affected cats can be observed frequently licking their genital region.10 Vomiting and lethargy may also be noted.1 In addition, the patients mucous membranes will be pale, and capillary refill time is prolonged.4

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    How To Prevent Urinary Blockage In Cats

    One of the biggest emergencies that pet parents can face is urinary blockage in cats. Treatment often involves a panicked trip to the veterinary clinic and hospitalization for the intensive care and monitoring needed to save the cats life.

    If your cat has blocked once, he is at high risk for it happening again. So whether youre looking to prevent a recurrence or to protect your cat from every having to experience this condition in the first place, its important to be informed about ways to prevent urinary blockages in cats.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Urinary Obstruction

    Urethral Obstruction â Opieâs Story

    Urethral obstruction can be a life-threatening emergency. Male cats tend to get blocked more than females. Their urethra is longer and narrower in male cats. Therefore, male cats are more prone to having urinary obstruction. Urethral plugs are the most common reason for obstruction.

    With this condition, diet can be a significant part of the problem. Poor nutrition can contribute to urinary issues. Cats who have had urinary obstruction before are more at risk for getting it again. Some of the most common symptoms for a blocked cat include:

    • Frequent trips to the litter box Your cat is trying to empty their bladder but cannot. The irritation of the urinary tract gives them the sensation that they need to urinate more often.
    • Inappropriate urination Your cat urinates outside the litterbox. It can be due to blockage by crystals in the urethra.
    • A small amount of urine with blood The irritation from the blockage triggers bleeding
    • Pain caused by inflamed urethra It is painful for your cat when they are urinating. They may cry incessantly in their litterbox.
    • Vomiting Pain, and discomfort can make cats nauseous, which can make them vomit
    • Loss of appetite Having a full bladder can make it difficult for your cat to want to put more into their bodies

    As you can see, there are several markers that your cat may be in trouble with their urinary tract.

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    Getting A Veterinary Diagnosis

  • 1Take your cat to see a veterinarian immediately. Having a urinary blockage can threaten your cat’s life. In fact, within three to six hours of having a blockage, your cat could die from the buildup of urine. Thus, it is important that you get it veterinary treatment as quickly as possible.
  • Be prepared to tell the veterinarian about all of your cat’s symptoms.
  • 2Allow the veterinarian to do a physical exam. If the veterinarian suspects that the cat has a urinary tract blockage they will feel the cat’s abdomen. When they do this they are feeling for the firmness of the bladder and urinary system.
  • If your cat is skittish or aggressive toward the veterinarian, it may need to be restrained during the exam.
  • 3Approve diagnostic testing. In order to get a definitive diagnosis, your veterinarian may want to do diagnostic tests on your cat. For example, the veterinarian may want to have a urine sample analyzed or they may want to do a urethrogram, which shows them a detail of the cat’s urethra.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican College of Veterinary SurgeonsTrade organization responsible for setting standards of surgical excellence for the field of veterinary medicine and promoting safe practices for equine care.Go to source
  • The urine sample will be analyzed for the presence of crystals, which are often the culprit for a blocked urethra.
  • Cat Urinary Blockage Treatment Is Urgent And Necessary

    While you can implement various practices at home to keep your cats urinary health in tip-top shape, you cant address a urethral obstruction at home. If your cat is experiencing cat urinary blockage, treatment is vital and urgent. The risks are too severe to take any chances with your cats life. Your veterinarian can also provide additional insight into how to prevent future urinary blockages.

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    How To Prevent Bladder Stones

    The most reliable way to prevent bladder stones is by feeding your cat a prescription diet.

    The most reliable method to prevent bladder stones in cats is to keep a kitty on a prescription diet specific for that purpose. These diets are typically lower in magnesium and phosphorus, and are designed to keep the urine pH neutral. Both calcium oxalate and struvite stones can be prevented with a prescription diet.

    For a prescription diet to work, it has to be eaten exclusively. With a couple exceptions, these diets are well-balanced and can also be fed to other cats in the home long term.

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    In situations where a prescription diet may not be affordable, or a picky eater at home defeats the purpose, the goal would be to at least increase the moisture of food and water intake to keep the urine more dilute.

    This can be achieved by increasing the percentage of wet food in the diet, adding water to dry food, and encouraging more water intake with multiple water bowls and running water sources, like a kitty water fountain. Unfortunately, these methods alone are not as successful, and recurrence of stones can occur.

    Much less commonly, an underlying disorder may also be present that needs to be treated to prevent stones from forming. An example would include idiopathic hypercalcemia in cats contributing to calcium oxalate stone formation.

    Symptoms Of A Urinary Blockage

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    Being able to identify a urinary blockage is essential so that you can get your male cat the medical attention that he needs as quickly as possible. The most common sign of a blocked cat is your furbaby going to the litter box to urinate, getting into position, but not actually producing any urine. Many males also seem uncomfortable or in pain and may even yowl when they try to empty their bladder.

    If the blockage persists without medical intervention, your cat will develop an electrolyte imbalance. This causes a range of noticeable symptoms including:

    • Altered mental state/unusual behaviors

    If your male cat exhibits any of these symptoms, it is important to get them to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Dont wait for a routine appointment to come available, take them to the out-of-hours service if you need to.

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    Recovery Of Urinary Tract Infections In Cats

    Your cats recovery will depend on the underlying cause of the infection. Generally, cats will start to show improvement within 2-3 days of treatment, if the case is not serious.

    Always follow your vets treatment instructions. Be sure to provide clean water at all times. Encourage drinking where you can and ensure that litter boxes are clean. This can help reduce your cats stress and may speed up recovery.

    Urinary tract infections can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your cat has a urinary tract infection or is at risk, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Trupanion. Find the pawfect plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

    What Types Of Foods Should I Feed My Cat

    If your cat is at risk for urinary blockage, your veterinarian may recommend a urinary diet to help reduce crystalluria and dissolve stones. Increased water consumption is very important in reducing the risk of urinary blockage in cats. Please avoid feeding low-quality kibble-based diets to your cats as these types of foods can increase the risk of urinary blockage.

    Urinary blockage in cats is a medical emergency. This condition can easily become fatal if the symptoms are not noticed. The causes of urinary blockage in cats can be due to urinary crystals, stones or inflammatory plugs. With proper treatment, the prognosis can be good and prevention depends on the cause of the urinary blockage. The best prevention is to feed your cat a high-quality diet with at least 50% of the daily amounts in the form of canned food. If you have any further questions about urinary blockage in cats, please contact your veterinarian.

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    How Veterinarians Diagnose Kidney Disease In Cats

    Kidney disease is often diagnosed based on routine blood work and a urinalysis, looking specifically at such kidney markers as:

    • Blood urea nitrogen : is a by-product of protein metabolism. Higher values can often indicate kidney failure.

    • Creatinine : measures how well kidneys are filtering waste from blood.

    • Phosphorous: elevated phosphorous levels typically indicate kidney damage.

    • Electrolytes are often affected by the primary diseasebut also by secondary factors such as vomiting and a lack of appetite.

    • Calcium: elevated levels, though not as common, are often seen with kidney damage.

    • Red blood cell count: if low, it may indicate kidney failure.

    • White blood cell count: if high, it may indicate infection or inflammation.

    • Symmetric dimethylarginine : an additional test to help determine if kidney disease is present. It can be used for early detection of kidney disease.

    • Urine specific gravity: a marker of how diluted or concentrated the urine is. Usually, the higher the number, the more concentrated the urine and the greater the ability of the kidneys to conserve water.

    • Urine sediment: indicates the presence of protein, bacteria, white/red blood cells, kidney cells and casts. It is an indication of infection and/or kidney damage.

    Your veterinarian will most likely recommend additional diagnostic testing, including:

    Once diagnosed, kidney disease is then classified into four stages based on the severity of clinical signs and laboratory values:

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