Annie here and I would like to tell you about my brother who had a recent stay at Stow Kent Animal Hospital. My mom was concerned because he had a couple small accidents around the litter box; he was squatting to urinate and only a small dribble would come out. He wasn’t as outgoing/friendly as he typically is and he had a decreased appetite. My mom noticed these signs right away and called our vet Dr. Jacobson.
Dr. Jacobson did a head to tail physical on Chevy and during palpation of his abdomen she noticed that he had a large bladder. She could not manually express urine from his bladder; which indicated that he had a urinary blockage. Luckily, he was not blocked long enough to have toxins re-enter his body (if they are blocked long term the toxins that are suppose to leave the body in their urine get reabsorbed and this can make for a very sick kitty). If we would have waited too long to bring Chevy to the vet, then this could have led to an emergency situation and potentially be fatal.
The syndrome that Chevy had/has is feline lower urinary tract disease (or cystitis). Inflammation and/or crystals that can stop them up and make it impossible to urinate. Urinary blockages happen more often in male cats since their urethra is narrow. Female cats have a wider opening and we rarely see blockages in them (although stones can occur in males and females). The most common symptom is trying to urinate and only getting small amounts of urine or no urine out. These cats also often seem to vocalize when trying to urinate because they’re uncomfortable. Other signs or symptoms of a urinary blockage can include a distended abdomen that is sensitive to the touch, lethargic, decreased appetite, and blood in urine and vomiting.
Dr. Jacobson sedated Chevy, and then placed a urinary catheter. It was difficult to initially pass a catheter. It was challenging due to the amount of crystals he had. Chevy passed many crystals when we flushed his bladder, these could be seen with the naked eye. The doctor completed a urinalysis and determined the type of crystals. Crystals can be either composed of struvite or calcium oxalate. Struvite are more common in cats. Chevy had struvite crystals. This catheter stayed in place for two days to be sure that he would not re block right away. Once the catheter was removed, Chevy was monitored closely for urinating well on his own.
Many cats tend to be repeat offenders, if you notice your cat exhibiting any of these symptoms again, contact us immediately. The doctor may recommend taking preventative measures. Cosequin is recommended to help with the inflammation. Adding moisture to the diet is especially important. Feeding a canned food is best and sometimes a prescription diet is prescribed to help dissolve crystals. Other times stones and sediment need to be removed surgically. Other ways to increase moisture in a cat’s diet is to use a pet water fountain to encourage cats to drink more. Watching closely and picking up minor signs that your cat may be blocked is very important and can save your pets life. There are several factors at play, but research has shown that stress can exacerbate the situation and/or increase the likelihood of blocking again.
If you ever feel that you’re pet is having problems urinating, straining to urinate or crying out while trying to urinate then contact your veterinarian right away.
Annie & Dana Jacobson, DVM
Stow Kent Animal Hospital
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