Diagnosing a Cat Urinary Blockage

Diagnosing and treating a cat urinary blockage requires urgent response from your veterinarian. It is a medical situation that requires immediate action on your part so your cat can get the care he needs as soon as possible. Help your cat when he needs you most by knowing the signs of feline urinary blockage.

Signs of a Urinary Blockage

Although urinary blockages affect neutered male cats more frequently than female cats, either gender can suffer from this condition. Indications of a urinary blockage in your cat may include straining to use the box, frequent visits to the box or low urine output. He may also pass bloody urine, urinate outside his box, and he may groom his genital area. Finally, he may vocalize as if he’s in pain during urination. Other signs of a possible urinary blockage include vomiting, lethargy, appetite loss or, in extreme cases, coma.

Untreated urinary blockage can lead to an abnormal heart beat that may result in your cat’s heart stopping completely. Other serious complications may include abnormally high levels of potassium in your pet’s blood, a ruptured bladder or kidney damage.

Diagnosing a Urinary Blockage

Once your cat arrives at the veterinary clinic, your veterinarian will perform a physical examination and some routine laboratory tests, such as urinalysis, blood work and x-rays, to determine whether or not your cat has a urinary blockage. Physical indicators such as a full bladder or a discolored penis show up during the physical examination, and the tests help determine additional treatments, such as any secondary infections that may be developing.

Blockage Treatment at the Clinic

While he’s at the clinic, your cat’s bladder will be drained with the use of a catheter, and his urethra will be cleared of the blockage. His bladder will be flushed with a saline solution to remove any crystals that may be contributing to the blockage. After the blockage is cleared, the catheter will remain in your cat’s bladder for a day or so to allow the bladder to drain completely.

He may also receive antibiotics to fight infection or other medications to control pain. Your cat will receive intravenous fluids to further flush toxins from his kidneys and bladder. He will stay at the clinic for a few days to ensure he’s able to urinate before he’s allowed to go home.

At-Home Care Helps Prevent Future Problems

Follow-up care usually involves a dietary change, and medication is sometimes prescribed to prevent blockages from forming. Make sure your cat has access to plenty of clean, fresh water throughout the day because increasing his water consumption can help prevent future blockages. Provide a clean litter box for each cat in your home, and clean them daily to ensure they remain appealing to your cat.

Care must be taken to prevent future blockages because a large percentage of cats that suffer a urinary blockage will re-block. In some instances, male cats require surgery called a perineal urethrostomy in which the urethra is enlarged to prevent future blockages.