Removing Cat Bladder Stones Surgically

also see Cat Bladder

Removing cat bladder stones surgically is a common procedure intended to help treat life-threatening urethral obstructions and prevent stone-related infections.

Surgical stone removal may help treat bladder inflammation, or cat cystitis, and feline bladder infections caused by mineral growths. Generally, a cystotomy is also required to analyze cat bladder stones as part of the diagnostic and treatment process. While it may be distressing to think of your pet undergoing any kind of operation, a cystotomy is considered a very common, relatively low-risk procedure. Here is a summary of what is involved in the surgical removal of cat bladder stones.

Preparing for Surgery

A cystotomy requires your veterinarian to make a surgical incision along your cat's bladder. This allows your vet to remove stones from the bladder, take tissue samples and repair any damage to the bladder wall. Since anesthesia is required for the surgery, your cat will likely need bloodwork to identify potential complications that can result during the procedure. Pre-anethesia bloodwork generally includes a complete blood count and blood chemistry screening. A pre-surgical exam, including an ECG (electrocardiogram), is also needed to determine your pet's health and readiness for surgery. If the test results reveal your cat is healthy enough for a cystotomy, a date for the procedure will be set. You should also receive instructions regarding limits on the amount of food and water you can give your cat prior to surgery.

Cystotomy Process

Before surgery, your cat will receive a sedative to help him relax, followed by anesthesia. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, the hair on your cat's lower abdomen will be removed and the surrounding skin thoroughly cleaned. During the cystotomy, your veterinarian will use a scalpel to make an incision along your cat's lower abdomen. Then the bladder will be removed from the open abdominal cavity, and an incision will be made along the bladder. This will allow excess urine to drained from the organ. Next, your veterinarian will remove the stones from your cat's bladder and save them for analysis. Self-dissolving stitches will be applied to the incision area in the bladder, followed by the application of sutures or surgical staples along the abdominal incision. The total estimated time for the cystotomy, including preparation and anesthesia, is between 45 to 75 minutes. Your cat will usually need 2 to 3 days to recover in the hospital after surgery.

Although the surgical removal of bladder stones is a routine procedure, it is an important part of preventing dangerous urethral obstructions and treating other cat urinary health problems. With high rates of success and recovery, this operation is among the simplest, most effective steps to improve the well-being of cats suffering from bladder stone-related pain and infection.