When your cat can’t wee properly they might be in big trouble – it’s an emergency!
Finn’s owners are great at observing their cat. He was presented with not being quite right, and he hadn’t weed in his tray for 24 hours. Finn doesn’t like to be examined but Dr Jill palpated his bladder and it was moderately full. What to do then…..give it a jiggle.
Finn was placed in a litter tray and squatted for at least 5 minutes with nothing coming out. Finn had a blocked bladder!
Male cats are built with very small very thin penises. They can extrude their penises a maximum of 20mm. The urethral pipe is 2-3mm in diameter. If there is any debris such as stones or proteinaceous sludge emptying from the bladder it can plug the urethral pipe. This is very bad news! As urine is produced, it cant leave the bladder and starts to slow down kidney function. The urine backlog quickly leads to kidney failure.
Finn’s very observant owners discovered this problem before his kidneys had been effected. He was immediately placed on intravenous fluids to protect his kidney function. Finn was sedated then anaesthetised and his penis was examined.
The end of the penis was plugged with a thick white paste of crystals. This was massaged out, then flushed then a catheter tube sewn in to keep his urine flowing.
Poor Finn, that blockage was as bad as we have seen. He will need to stay on intravenous fluids for a number of days until the crystals are diluted and dissolve. Only then, can we remove the urinary catheter.
Blocked bladders are a particularly tricky problem in cats. They take intensive treatment to resolve and this does not guarantee the cat will not block again. Each case is different, but with all cats we work very hard to avoid re-blocking. Once Finn goes home we will want him the drink more water – this will make his urine dilute and unlikely to form stones. Special diets can help this. We often add more and more water to wet food until the cat is drinking soup every day.
As time goes by Finn will improve and be less likely to block. Some cats have blocked multiple times and need complex surgery to widen the path to the outside world. Let’s hope Finns owners never need to think about that!