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 Staten Island vets talk about what perineal urethrostomy surgery is and what to expect from PU surgery and recovery for your cat.
What Is Perineal Urethrostomy (PU) Surgery?
A perineal urethrostomy (PU) is a surgical reconstruction of the urethra, the tube through which your cat urinates. The goal is to make a larger opening for your cat to urinate through. PU surgery is typically considered once it has been determined that urinary obstructions cannot be corrected by catheterization or if the cat has had 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, 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.
Speak to your vet about the cost of PU surgery for your cat. They will be able to give you a more accurate estimate.
What is the goal of PU surgery?
The main issue addressed during PU surgery is the narrow urethra in the distal penis, so the surgery's goal will be to widen the urethra. Your veterinarian will finish the job 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 in the weeks following surgery, giving your cat the appearance of a female cat rather than a male.
What after-care 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 advise you to keep your cat in a room where they can relax and cannot climb or jump onto furniture. Your cat should also be separated from other pets to limit interactions and potential playtime that could injure your cat further.
What to Expect Once Your Cat Has Had PU Surgery
If your cat's PU surgery was successful and the recovery process was without complications, there should be no further worries. It is possible that a cat will develop another obstruction after having PU surgery, but this is extremely unlikely.