Bladder obstruction (commonly called a blocked bladder) is caused by a buildup of sludge, crystals or stones in the bladder. It is these crystals and stones, which obstruct the urethra (outflow tract of the bladder) and can cause an obstructed bladder, meaning your pet can not urinate.
The inability to urinate causes the bladder to swell and fluid to build up back into the kidneys. This back pressure can permanently damage kidney tissue. Which then reduces kidney function, resulting in renal failure.
Your pet could be severely depressed, vomiting, and dehydrated due to the buildup of toxins that normally would be excreted in the urine.
This is a life-threatening disease and needs medical attention immediately.
- Frequent toileting with small or no urine production.
- Straining to urinate, blood in the urine
- Abdominal pain, vocalising
- Toileting outside the litter-box.
Cause of Disease
- Conditions which keep the animal from urinating normally or fully, such as infrequent cleaning of the litter box, outside environmental stresses.
- Stress in the household, such as new pet.
- Urinary tract infections.
- Dietary factors which are high in a specific compound, which precipitates out in the urine and forms a crystal.
Since an obstructed lower urinary tract can affect so many systems of the body, your veterinarian may suggest the following diagnostic tests to fully assess how severely the disease is affecting your pet:
- A complete blood count and chemistry will help your veterinarian to determine if there is infection, disease of the kidney, liver, pancreas or metabolic disease present.
- Urinalysis. This will allow your veterinarian to assess the kidney’s ability to concentrate urine and expel toxins as well as check for urinary tract infections. It can also help to diagnose if there are recurrent crystals causing an obstruction.
- X-rays. X-rays of the abdomen will help to assess if there are stones present within the kidneys and or bladder.
- Ultrasound. Ultrasound imaging can aid in imaging of the bladder and kidneys to fully assess if there are stones present, or if there is any other underlying disease present in any of the abdominal organs.
Your veterinarian may suggest combinations of diagnostic tests or other tests not listed dependent on how your animal presents in physical examination, outcome of early diagnostics and response to treatment.
The treatment is focused on the following.
- Catheterizing the bladder with a urinary catheter to allow normal flow of urine. (Always done under general anaesthesia.)
- Intravenous fluid therapy. This is done to allow proper re-hydration of your cat, and increase the outflow of urine. Antibiotics may be used to help clear up the initial bladder infection, if present. Fluid therapy is usually used for 2-3 days to allow the kidneys to be flushed from toxins.
- If once the catheter is removed, your pet re-obstructs, surgery may be needed to clear the obstruction.
- Hospital stay vary from 2-4 days depending on severity.
- Medication may be dispensed. Please give the total course and keep in a cool, safe place away from children.
- A specific urinary diet may be required for the short term, or for life. This reduces the chance of new stones growing as the food is formulated with low PH. It also causes dilution of urine to help dissolve already present crystals as well as prevent further crystal formation.
- Urinalysis checks may be required every 3-6 months. This is to monitor if any more crystals are forming.