On occasion, cats might experience urinary blockages, which, if untreated, could be life-threatening. In today's post, our Concord vets talk about what a perineal urethrostomy surgery is, how it can address urinary blockages, what to expect from PU surgery, and recovery for your cat.
What Is Perineal Urethrostomy (PU) Surgery?
A perineal urethrostomy (PU) is a surgical procedure that reconstructs the urethra (the tube through which your cat urinates). The purpose is to create a larger opening through which your cat can urinate. Typically, PU surgery is considered once it has been determined that urinary obstructions either cannot be corrected by catheterization or if the cat has been experiencing repeated 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 in both male and female cats, it is much more likely for a male cat to experience urinary blockages due to the female urethra being much shorter and wider than the male urethra. Since the male urethra extends the length of the penis it becomes more narrow increasing the likelihood of an obstruction occurring.
When Is PU Surgery Recommended?
Perineal urethrostomy surgery is most commonly recommended in the following situations:
- There is a urethral obstruction in 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.
- The cat is experiencing 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.
The Goal Of PU Surgery
The main goal of the procedure is to address the issues caused by the narrow urethra in the distal penis, so the aim of the surgery will be to widen the cat's 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.
Post-Surgery Care For Cats
Since 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 be fitted with an Elizabethan collar while they recuperate.
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.
After Your Cat's 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.