Feline Urethral Obstruction

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Urethral obstruction in male cats is often caused by mucoproteinaceous plugs and uroliths. Magnesium ammonium phosphate (struvite) and calcium oxalate crystals are the more common types seen. With obstruction of the urethra, severe prerenal azotemia, dehydration, metabolic acidosis and hyperkalemia occur.

Immediate therapeutic goals are:

  • Relief of the obstruction.
  • Drainage of the bladder and reversal of the metabolic derangements. Intravenous fluid support and cardiac protection against acidosis and hyperkalemia are immediate concerns in the compromised animal.
  • In the obtunded animal, cystocentesis (needle drainage) may be necessary to relieve the pressure on the bladder when attempts to pass a urinary catheter are taking too long and the patient is becoming more debilitated.

The metabolic changes and electrolyte disturbances can be life threatening if not resolved quickly.

Indwelling urinary catheterization is advisable in severely affected cats. Continuous critical care and monitoring of the blood values is imperative for appropriately resolving the secondary problems. Often times the patient responds to therapy in the emergency setting and is able to be managed medically long term by your veterinarian through diet change and medicinal therapies.