Wednesday 20th Jan, 2021
by Helen Stevens, Senior Vet
Having to ‘stay at home’ can be stressful for everyone in the household. The strain of social distancing can upset not just us humans, but also our furry family members. While the busier nature of our home environments can be one of joy for many of our pets, others would rather enjoy the peace and quiet they are used to.
Some cats in particular struggle with change, resulting in them becoming stressed. This can lead to changes in behaviours, as well as medical conditions.
I know this on a personal level (as well as professional) because my own cat Ed, had to visit the Roundhouse Veterinary Hospital recently for an emergency consultation.
He was not himself, off his food and dripping urine rather than passing a normal amount.
These symptoms in male cats can be the result of a very serious condition called a urethral obstruction. This is when the bladder cannot empty of urine freely, which can result in the bladder becoming distended. When this happens, a domino-like effect of changes can result, including life-threatening effects on other organs in the body including the kidneys and the heart.
When an obstruction occurs, it is very important that it is relieved as quickly as possible. Sedation or general anaesthetic is often required to perform the procedure, with the removal of a ‘plug’ material which can often be the physical cause of the obstruction. Examining the urine collected is important to check for signs of infection or crystals (which as well as stress, can be contributing factors). In some more severe cases, further investigations may be required, as well as hospitalisation.
Luckily, Ed made a full recovery. He is home with medications, a special prescription urinary diet and is resting away from my noisy children!
Urethral obstructions can be very serious, so it's really important that if you notice your cat is not themselves, is in and out the litter tray (if they have one), or dripping urine (like Ed was) please do not hesitate to call the hospital.