Cat Urinary Tract Blockage – A Survival Guide

Kate Rieger asked:

As a cat owner you must recognize the signs of a cat urinary tract blockage such as your cat straining to urinate, bloody urine or your cat not urinating. If your cat is a male, he is at risk for the very life-threatening complications of a cat urinary tract blockage. If he survives this painful disorder he needs extra attention for improved cat urinary health.

It is easy to forget the strategic role the urinary system plays in keeping your cat alive. This system consists of two kidneys, a bladder, sphincter muscles, two ureters and a urethra. These organs filter out waste products, toxins and excess fluids from the bloodstream, then remove it from his body as urine.

The urethra in your male cat is narrower than in a female cat Tiny bladder stones or mucus can plug the male’s narrower urethra. It doesn’t take much to plug his narrow opening.

You should suspect a cat urinary tract blockage if you notice blood in his urine, your cat straining in the litter box, or no urine.

This is An Emergency Situation

When your cat experiences a cat urinary tract blockage for more than 24 hours his urinary system shuts down. His kidneys stop filtering toxins and this pollutes his bloodstream. This toxin build-up will kill your cat in three to six days.

Unblocking A Blocked Cat

You must seek veterinary help for your cat The vet will feel your cat’s bladder and if there is a blockage the bladder will feel like a peach. Inflamed bladders are small and empty. In any case, your vet needs to be the one making the determination.

As your vet probes your cat’s abdomen and bladder, the pressure may dislodge the obstruction, however this is not common. More often, a urinary catheter is placed into the urethral opening and this breaks up the obstruction. Sometimes a solution is used to flush the plug back into the bladder where it dissolves.

This is a very painful procedure and usually anesthesia is used to sedate your cat In some drastic situations, the catheter does not remove the blockage and the veterinarian must perform a perineal urethrostomy.

Once the blockage is removed the catheter may have to stay in place until the urinary system is able to return to its normal process of removing toxins from the your cat It is equally important to keep your cat well hydrated to replace the expelled fluids, thereby preventing dehydration. Your cat may need intravenous replacement of fluids. Once your cat’s urine stream is strong and your cat is drinking fluids on his own your vet will send your cat home.

At home, your cat is still at risk of another blockage or poor cat urinary health for some time after the initial episode. Now its your job to watch for signs of another cat urinary tract blockage. His bladder’s pH levels are out of whack due to stress, anesthesia and the medications given to him. This can lead to a repeat blockage.

Keep plenty of fresh water in bowls throughout the house. Refill the bowls daily. Reduce or eliminate any additional stress factors on your cat He may prefer to stay in his own bedroom (complete with water bowls and litter box) with the door shut.

Your vet may recommend pain medications to help reduce the urethral spasms and help urine pass. Think twice about using steroids to help with swelling and pain. These anti-inflammatories also promote infections in cats that have had a urinary catheter.

More veterinarians are recommending herbal remedies to help reduce stress in post trauma cats. They are also finding that certain herbs, like Arctostaphylos uva ursi, improve cat urinary health by promoting the proper pH level in the urinary tract system. Berberis vulgaris acts as an anti-inflammatory and has a restorative effect on the bladder. Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower) is an herb used to soothe your cat’s nerves and reduce stress levels.

Loving cat owners do not want their cat to experience the excruciating pain of a cat urinary tract blockage. Nor do they want to have to say ‘Yes’ to a perineal urethrostomy in order to save their cat’s life. Herbal remedies help your cat ‘survive the cure’ and prevent a recurrence.

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