Urethral Obstruction

Urethral obstruction occurs most commonly in male cats, but may occur in male or female dogs and cats of any age.

The most common signs/symptoms are straining to urinate with no urine or small drops of urine being produced. Other signs that may be seen include bloody urine, frequent urination, urinary accidents, vomiting and lethargy. Urinary obstruction may quickly become a life-threatening condition if not promptly diagnosed and treated.

Recommended diagnostics for urethral obstruction often include urinalysis, urine culture, radiographs (x-rays), and sometimes more advanced imaging like ultrasound and/or x-ray contrast studies of the urinary tract.

Treatment involves relieving the urethral obstruction, typically by placement of a urinary catheter, which typically requires sedation or anesthesia. Treatment also often involves giving medications to treat electrolyte abnormalities (if present), and IV fluids to provide hydration and bring down kidney values. Appropriate treatment also involves identifying and treating the underlying cause of the urethral obstruction (such as bladder stones).

Aftercare generally involves medications (such as antibiotics and medications to help relax muscles in the urethra) and sometimes diet changes. Generally follow up with the primary care veterinarian for exam and recheck of urine will be recommended.

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