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What is a urinary blockage?

A urinary blockage occurs when there is an obstruction in the urethra (the tube in which urine passes from the bladder and out of the body) making it difficult/impossible for your cat to empty its bladder.

What are the clinical signs?

Signs of urinary blockage include blood in the urine, straining to urinate, inappropriate urination (outside of the litter box), painful urination and frequent attempts to urinate. Urinary blockage is considered an emergency! If complete obstruction occurs and no urine can exit the body, the bladder could rupture and the blockage could be fatal.

How do you diagnose a blocked cat?

If a cat is displaying clinical signs of being blocked, bring him to a veterinarian immediately! A urine sample will be run to identify any abnormalities. Blood work is also run to assess kidney function and to determine if there are any other systemic illnesses. Radiographs may also be taken or an ultrasound may be performed to visualize possible bladder stones. 

How do you treat a blocked cat?

Blocked cats need to be unblocked immediately by a veterinarian. A urinary catheter will be placed under sedation so urine can begin flowing from the bladder and out of the body. Blocked cats are hospitalized for 3-5 days for monitoring while connected to IV fluids and being given daily medications. Urine output is monitored closely at this time.

What to expect following hospitalization

The prognosis for most cats affected by urinary blockage depends on how early a blockage is detected and how well the cat responds to treatment. Following hospitalization, the cat will need to be monitored closely at home to ensure they continue to urinate. Unfortunately, some blocked cats re-block in the future. Litter boxes should be checked regularly. Your veterinarian will recommend a urinary diet that your cat will need to eat for the rest of their life to reduce chances of a blockage occurring in the future.

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