I started my website, ThePreventiveVet.com, because there are still too many pet illnesses, toxins, and other common pet conditions that not enough people are aware of. And my experience in both the emergency room and general practice has clearly shown that prior awareness is crucial to helping pet owners to be prepared and preventive so that they can best protect the cats and dogs they love.
Well, when it comes to our cats, few emergencies are more serious, and few are less well-known amongst cat people than the dreaded urethral obstruction (UO). Also known as “urinary obstruction”, cases of UO are extremely distressing and painful for the affected cat (not to mention the distress, heartbreak, and financial strain it takes on the people, too).
What’s most frightening though is that a case of UO will quickly progress to death without prompt and appropriate treatment. So please, whatever you do today, be sure to read and share this post, regardless of whether or not you have a cat, but especially if you have a male cat!
Overview of feline urethral obstruction: Cat kidneys make urine in an effort to, amongst other things, regulate the levels of certain compounds and substances within the body. These compounds and substances include water, electrolytes, minerals, and a host of other things. The ability of the cat’s body to then move that urine from their bladder to their litter box is vital to their survival. The urethra is the thin muscular tube that is responsible for carrying urine from the bladder to the “outside world”. Sadly, and with quite disastrous consequences, the urethra can become blocked, preventing a cat from excreting their urine. This is urethral obstruction and it’s definitely a condition you should be familiar with, and one that you can easily take steps to prevent.
How do you know if your cat is “blocked”: Cats with a case of UO will typically exhibit a variety of outward signs, the degree and number of which will depend on how long they’ve been blocked, and whether it is a complete blockage or a partial one. I’ll list several of the possible signs below, highlighting some of the more concerning and/or obvious ones. But please note that the list below is not exhaustive. If you are seeing any of these signs, get your cat immediately to the vet. Do not wait “until morning” or “after work” to do so, if your cat has a UO, time is truly of the essence and there’s nothing you can do at home to help them.
• Multiple and frequent trips to the litter box that result in little or no urine • Howling, crying, or otherwise vocalizing when attempting to urinate • Excessive licking of their back end • Hiding in the closet, under the bed, or elsewhere • Loss of appetite • Vomiting • Ataxia (walking like they’re drunk) • Collapse
Now you know what urethral obstruction is and how to recognize it, but this blog post is just a brief overview of this horrible condition. Please don’t stop learning here. There’s a lot more information, including the vitally important and simple steps you can take to help prevent your cat from getting a UO, on my blog here… Feline Urethral Obstruction: Part 3 – Be Preventive. I hope you’ve learned lots, please be sure to share these posts and what you’re learning with all the cat lovers in your life… you just may help them save their cat’s life by doing so.
Have a wonderful day! And please, for your pet’s sake (and yours)… Be Aware. Be Prepared. Be Preventive!
Veterinarian and pet safety expert, Dr. Jason Nicholas (“The Preventive Vet”) is the author of the must-have book, 101 Essential Tips You Need to Raise a Happy, Healthy, Safe Dog, and the creator of the popular website ThePreventiveVet.com. Both are indispensable resources that will help you protect your pets and empower you to be the best pet parent you can be. We’re excited to have him share some of his insights with you here. Dr. Nicholas believes, as we do, that an outstanding, high-quality diet is an integral part of your pet’s overall health and well-being, he proudly recommends Halo Spot’s Stew.