Occasionally cats may experience the symptoms of a urinary blockage. These blockages can be life-threatening if not treated immediately and a perineal urethrostomy may be suggested. In today's post, our Los Angeles vets talk about what a perineal urethrostomy surgery is and what to expect from PU surgery and recovery for your cat.
What Is Perineal Urethrostomy (PU) Surgery?
An operation called a perineal urethrostomy (PU) reconstructs the urethra, the tube your cat uses to urinate. This will make it easier for your cat to urinate by providing a bigger opening. PU surgery is typically only taken into account after it has been determined that urinary obstructions cannot be treated with catheterization or if the cat has been having recurrent obstructions.
For your cat, urinary blockages can quickly turn fatal. Even though this surgery greatly reduces the likelihood of recurring obstructions, it cannot guarantee that they won't. The postoperative care given will reduce the risk of future blockages and help to ensure that the surgery was successful.
While possible in both, it is much more likely for a male cat to experience urinary blockages than female cats due to the female urethra being much shorter and wider than the male urethra. As 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.
- A urethral obstruction within the penis that cannot be removed. A urinary catheter is the most commonly used treatment for urethral obstructions. This catheter would be passed through the external opening of the urethra, forcing any stones or mucus within the urethra into the bladder, where they could be managed with medication or surgery. If this method does not clear the blockage, perineal urethrostomy surgery may be necessary to allow the cat to urinate.
- 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.
How much does PU surgery for cats cost?
For a question like this, it's better to ask your vet directly. They should be able to give you a more accurate estimate.
What is the goal of PU surgery?
The main concern 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 veterinarian will finish by incising the penis and suturing it open to create a stoma (an opening) and drainage board. The drainage board will shrink and your cat's fur will grow back over the weeks following surgery, giving your cat the appearance of a female cat rather than a male.
What is the recovery process like for cats that have had 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 veterinarian will also advise you to keep your cat in an area of the house where they can relax and cannot climb or jump onto furniture. Your cat should also be separated from other pets in order to limit interactions and potential playtime that could injure your cat further.
What to Expect Once Your Cat Has Had PU Surgery
There shouldn't be any more worries if your cat's PU surgery was successful and the recovery period went without any issues. It is extremely unlikely, but it is possible, for a cat to develop another obstruction after PU surgery.