Thursday, May 26, 2011
Urinary blockage in a cat
Jack was in last week. He needed vaccinations and his teeth cleaned. I hadn’t seen him for a while, but for an old cat, he’s 18 now, he was sleek and vigorous.
He wasn’t always this way. One cold winter evening five years ago his owner brought him to me. She thought he was dead but wanted to be certain. At the time he was an indoor-outdoor cat and had been missing for several days. When he came home his owner found his lifeless body on her back porch. As she gently laid him on the exam table a quick glance convinced me it was time for condolences. As the comforting words formed in my mind I saw just the slightest hint of a movement of his chest. Could it be he was still alive? If so, there surely wasn’t any time so spare. The examination was hasty. His heart was beating slowly and the pulse was so weak I could barely feel it. There were no eye reflexes. Body temperature was so low the mercury didn’t budge from the bulb. His belly held a clue; the bladder was grossly distended with urine. Quickly I performed a cystocentesis and drained the bladder of thick brownish urine. He had feline urologic syndrome. The urethra was plugged with exudates and crystals so he couldn’t void. Metabolic waste products had backed up and accumulated in his blood and he had gone into a coma. A blood sample showed an extremely high level of urea, confirming that he had uremic poisoning, complicating his condition.Jack was catheterized so urine would flow freely. Intravenous fluids were given to flush the poisons from his system and we put him on a heating pad to warm him. Amazingly, in an hour he was stirring, six hours later he sat up on his sternum and in two days he went home. Now in his waning years, he lives the good life indoors. Perhaps, because it is so easy to become the caretaker of a cat some people view them as expendable. But not his owner, he has been her valued friend for many years. A relationship that has grown over time, especially since his close encounter with death.