Cats are prone to a number of serious medical conditions, but few are more urgent than a urethral obstruction. Urethral obstructions occur when a blockage, typically made of calcium and mucus, forms in your cat's urinary tract, preventing urination. This issue almost always develops in male cats, and if ignored, your pet will die within a few days. Because of this, recognizing the early symptoms of a urethral obstruction and heading to the animal hospital as soon as they appear can be critical to saving your cat's life.
Recognizing a Urethral Obstruction in Time
Irregularities in your cat's urination habits are usually the first sign that something has gone wrong. You may notice your pet straining to urinate with little or no urine actually left behind in the litter box. Bloody urine is another sign that an obstruction is forming. Your cat may visit the litter box more frequently as a result of this inability to void his bladder or attempt to urinate in other areas as well. As the obstruction progresses and your cat's system begins to back up, he will grow more and more distressed until lethargy, loss of appetite and eventual death set in.
Seeking Immediate Medical Attention
Once you have recognized that your cat is in trouble, you must seek medical attention as quickly as possible to avoid permanent kidney damage, a ruptured bladder and possible death. Your cat can only survive without urinating for a few days, and it often takes a while for the symptoms to become apparent, meaning you may not have much time left once the issue is obvious. Call your local animal hospital immediately to resolve the problem with minimal residual damage to your pet's system.
Treating a Urethral Obstruction
In most cases, your cat's urethra can be cleared with a simple catheter, which is usually inserted under sedation. This catheter is then used to break up and flush out the blockage, as well as drain your cat's bladder. Your cat may need to remain in the hospital for several days until his urethra is able to pass urine on its own again and to watch for any subsequent complications.
Preventing Future Obstructions
Once your cat has shown a vulnerability to obstructions, you will need to monitor him closely for the rest of his life to ensure one does not occur again. In some cases, your veterinarian may be able to surgically widen the urethra to allow debris to pass more easily. Cats who are not eligible for this treatment and experience multiple bouts of this condition are often placed on medication that alters the pH of their urine, discouraging the formation of calcium stones as a result. By staying vigilant and responding promptly to your cat's blockage, you can save him from an all too common and tragic demise. Contact an animal hospital like Bayside Veterinary Hospital for more information.