Sometimes, cats may encounter urinary blockages, which can pose a serious threat to their life if not promptly addressed. In such cases, veterinarians may recommend a procedure known as perineal urethrostomy (PU) to alleviate the blockage. Today, our Capitola vets will provide insights into what PU surgery entails and what you can anticipate during your cat's recovery process.
What Is Perineal Urethrostomy (PU) Surgery?
Perineal urethrostomy (PU) is a surgical procedure that involves reconstructing the urethra, the tube through which your cat urinates. The main goal of this surgery is to create a wider opening to facilitate better urine flow. Typically, PU surgery is recommended when other methods, such as catheterization, have failed to address urinary obstructions, or when recurrent obstructions are observed.
Urinary blockages pose a serious threat to your cat's health and can quickly become life-threatening. While PU surgery significantly reduces the risk of future blockages, it does not guarantee that obstructions will never occur again. To ensure the success of the procedure and minimize the chances of future blockages, post-operative care is crucial.
It's worth noting that male cats are more prone to urinary blockages compared to female cats. This is due to the male urethra being longer and narrower, increasing the likelihood of obstructions. Female cats, on the other hand, have a shorter and wider urethra, making them less susceptible to blockages.
By opting for PU surgery and providing proper post-operative care, you can greatly improve your cat's quality of life and reduce the risk of urinary obstructions. If you suspect your cat may be experiencing urinary issues, it's important to consult with your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options.
When is PU surgery recommended?
Perineal urethrostomy surgery is most commonly recommended in the following situations.
- A urethral obstruction within the penis that cannot be removed. The primary approach for treating urethral obstructions is the use of a urinary catheter. In this procedure, your veterinarian will insert a catheter through the external opening of the urethra to remove any stones or mucus that are causing the blockage. Once these obstructions are moved into the bladder, they can be addressed through medication or surgery. If the blockage cannot be resolved using a catheter, perineal urethrostomy surgery may be necessary. This surgical procedure creates a new opening in the urethra, allowing the cat to urinate freely.
- Recurrent urethral obstructions. Obstructions can 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.
What is the goal of PU surgery?
During perineal urethrostomy (PU) surgery, the primary focus is on addressing the narrow urethra in the distal penis. The aim of the procedure is to widen the urethra, allowing for better urine flow. This is achieved by making an incision in the penis and suturing it open to create a stoma, which serves as an opening and drainage pathway.
In the weeks following the surgery, you will notice changes in your cat's appearance. The drainage board will gradually shrink, and your cat's fur will grow back. As a result, your cat may have a more feminine appearance rather than a masculine one.
It's important to note that the surgery is performed to alleviate urinary obstructions and improve your cat's overall well-being. Your veterinarian will provide you with specific instructions for post-operative care and monitor your cat's progress during the recovery period.
What aftercare is required 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.