Urinary blockages, while rare in cats, are not uncommon. These blockages can become life-threatening so our Torrance vets are here to tell you all about the condition and its surgical solution.
Perineal Urethrostomy (PU) Surgery For Cats
A perineal urethrostomy (PU) is a surgical procedure that is used to reconstruct your cat's urethra which is the tube that your cat expels urine from. The purpose is to create a larger opening through which your cat can urinate. This surgery will be recommended only after all minimally invasive procedures have been deemed unsuited for your cat's urinary obstruction. It may also be recommended if your cat continues to have repeat obstructions.
Urinary blockages can very quickly become life-threatening for your cat. While this surgery is used to greatly decrease the likelihood of repeat blockages it will not guarantee that obstructions will not reoccur. The care taken after surgery will help to ensure that the procedure was a success and lower the risk of future blockages.
While possible for both male and female cats to develop urinary obstructions, it is much more likely for a male cat to experience this due to the female urethra being much shorter and wider than the male urethra. As the male urethra extends the length of the penis it becomes more narrow increasing the likelihood of an obstruction occurring.
When is PU surgery an option?
Perineal urethrostomy surgery is most commonly recommended in the following situations.
- A urethral obstruction within the penis that cannot be removed. The most common treatment for urethral obstructions is through the use of a urinary catheter. Your vet would pass this catheter through the external opening of the urethra forcing any stones or mucus within the urethra into the bladder, at which point they can be managed using medication or surgery. If this method is unable to clear the blockage then perineal urethrostomy surgery may be required in order to allow the cat to urinate.
- Recurrent urethral obstructions. It is possible for obstructions to be common and reoccurring in some male cats. Although it is possible to continually remove the blockages in these cats, they may also benefit from perineal urethrostomy surgery to try to avoid or lower the risk of future obstructions.
What is the purpose of PU surgery?
The main concern that is addressed during PU surgery is the narrow urethra in the distal penis, so the goal of the surgery will be to widen the urethra. Your vet will complete this by incising the penis and suturing it open to create a stoma (an opening) and drainage board.
Over the next few weeks after surgery, this drainage board with begin to shrink and your cat will start to grow their fur back and your cat will be left with more of an appearance of a female cat rather than a male.
What after-care is required after PU surgery?
Cats are curious and energetic creatures so post-operative care and monitoring are essential. They may attempt to clean and lick their wounds as well as attempt to scratch or bite at the area it is recommended that your cat wear an Elizabethan collar for the duration of the recovery process.
Your vet will also recommend having your cat kept in an area of the home where they can relax and will not be able to climb or jump onto furniture. Your cat should also be isolated from other pets to limit interactions and possible playtime which could further injure your cat.
What to Expect Once Your Cat Has Had PU Surgery
If your cat had to have PU surgery to correct their urinary obstruction and it went well, and there were no post-operative complications during their healing, there should be very little concern going forward. There may be a rare case where a cat experiences another obstruction after having PU surgery, but this is highly unlikely.