Good Morning, Weirdos,
This weekend I would like to discuss urinary blockage in male cats, a medical condition that we see often in the cats within our group. While this is in no way to say that our group is unique in seeing this condition, it is telling that within such a small population we see this arise time and time again. We have used Weirdo Emergency Funds for well over a dozen cats with urinary blockages and have seen at least a dozen more cases just in general on the group page. The ASPCA describes urinary blockages as “life threatening.” By discussing some details about urinary blockages and preventative care measures, we hope to help you lessen the chance of this happening to your cat!
So, what does “urinary blockage,” mean? A blockage in a male cat means that an obstruction has formed inside the urethra and is preventing the cat from being able to pass urine through his penis. While there are many types of blockages and reasons for them, the focus of my blog today will be on “struvite crystals.” These crystals begin in the bladder and then move into the urethra where they become stuck. The forming of the crystals may be happening over time without symptoms, but once the crystals have moved from the bladder into the urethra it becomes a very serious medical emergency. The cat will have to have a catheter placed into the urethra in order to flush out the crystals to open back up the urethra and allow the cat to urinate. Catheter placement usually will go on for a few days while the cat is monitored at the vet to be sure that all of the blockage is cleared. Because of the blockages, the bladder will inflame and cause pressure on the kidneys, which causes potassium levels to rise and toxins build up in the kidneys. This toxin build up can damage the kidneys beyond repair sometimes and this is why this condition is considered life threatening. While the blockage is being taken care of, a complete blood panel work up will be done to check on the damage to the kidneys. Also, once a cat has already had a urinary blockage due to struvite crystals, his chances of developing them again are very high. A follow-up visit to the vet to draw a new blood panel is necessary to be sure that the kidneys are healing and functioning at the appropriate levels.
Here are some symptoms to look out for and you should take in your cat immediately for vet care if you see him exhibiting any of these symptoms:
While ensuring a wet food diet and promoting water intake will not guarantee that your cat will never develop struvite crystals, it is at least an inexpensive way to take a proactive approach to your cat’s health and well-being.
The information and advice given in my blog today is NOT intended to replace the recommendations made by your vet. If you think your cat may be suffering from this issue or are concerned that your cat is at risk, please consult your vet for their professional recommendations and guidance.
Many well wishes to you and your cats,
Cassandra Bean Ungvarsky