Has your cat ever experienced the symptoms of a urinary blockage? These blockages can become life-threatening if not immediately treated. Your vet may recommend a perineal urethrostomy. Our Santa Clarita vets discuss the basics of a perineal urethrostomy surgery and what you can expect from your cat's procedure and recovery.
What is Perineal Urethrostomy (PU) Surgery?
During this procedure, the tube your cat urinates through (the urethra) is reconstructed to create a larger opening through which your cat can urinate. Typically, a veterinarian will recommend a perineal urethrostomy (PU) surgery if they've discovered urinary obstructions that either cannot be corrected with catheterization or if the cat has come in with repeated obstructions.
Urinary blockages can very quickly evolve into a life-threatening emergency for your cat. While the likelihood of repeat blockages may be greatly reduced following this surgery, having the procedure done does not guarantee that obstructions will not recur in the future. Taking good care of your cat during their recovery will help to ensure the procedure was successful and lower the risk of future blockages.
While blockages are possible in both male and female cats, males are much more likely to experience urinary blockages. This can be attributed to a female cat's urethra being much shorter and wider than the male urethra. The male urethra extends the length of the penis and becomes more narrow, increasing your male cat's risk of an obstruction becoming an issue.
When Will a Vet Recommend PU Surgery?
Vets will commonly recommend perineal urethrostomy surgery in these circumstances:
Recurrent Urethral Obstructions
Some male cats may experience recurring, frequent obstructions. while it's possible to continually remove the blockages in these cases, they may also benefit from perineal urethrostomy surgery in an attempt to prevent or lower the risk of future obstructions.
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.
How Much Will PU Surgery for My Cat Cost?
PU Surgery for cats can be costly. Depending on the diagnostic tests your cat requires and the severity of their condition, prices will vary. Your vet can provide you an accurate estimate for the cost of the procedure.
Keep in mind that compared to the cost of frequent treatment for blockages, having the procedure done may actually save you expenses long-term.
What is the Goal 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 weeks following surgery, the drainage board will shrink and your cat's fur will grow back and leave your cat with more of an appearance of a female cat rather than a male.
What After-Care is Needed After PU Surgery?
Because cats are notorious for attempting to clean and lick their wounds as well as the chance that they may 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 has undergone PU surgery that was successful and the recovery process was without complications then there should be no further concerns. There may be a rare case where a cat experiences another obstruction after having PU surgery, but this is highly unlikely.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.