Mr. Bean’s Close Shave - part two - by Jessica McColl
I am pleased to say that Mr Bean has been recovering from his urinary blockage, as detailed in my last post. As promised, here is some more information on the condition*.
Urethral Obstruction occurs almost exclusively in male cats due to their urethra being much longer and narrower than their female counterparts. The obstruction can be partial or complete and is commonly caused by a plug forming which is made up of mucus, crystals or small stones called calculi (which form in the kidneys and pass into the bladder). Some of the most common symptoms are: your cat straining to urinate (they may look constipated) and only a little bit, or no urine at all will be produced, they may cry out when they are in the litter box, your cat may begin urinating in inappropriate places, be passing blood in their urine or need to urinate frequently.
This is not a condition where you can adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach. It is hugely life threatening. The bladder, not being able to eliminate it’s waste, distends and will eventually burst if not treated. The result is a painful death for your cat.
Mr. Bean’s only symptom was attempting to urinate (all over the house) with nothing at all being produced. He behaved as he usually would in all other aspects. His attempting to urinate was disturbing to watch, there was no mistaking that there was something seriously amiss. The vet diagnosed the condition rather quickly and to confirm, Beanie tried to pee on his blanket in the consulting room! He was immediately taken for emergency surgery to clear the blockage. The surgery involved anaesthesia and a urinary catheter, which was stitched in, and used to flush the blockage and then left in to clear his bladder. While under anaesthesia, he was also x-rayed and had blood work done to rule out any more sinister underlying causes. Mr Bean then had to remain in the vet for a further three days.
Beanie returned home with some medications to take including pain relief, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers. I felt like a bit of a vet nurse by the end of the ten days of medications. Some cats can be very difficult to medicate. I thank the tips we gained from kitten kindy for making my life (and Mr. Bean’s) so much easier. While he did not relish in taking these medications, he was very easy to handle. The vet staff made the same remark, come to think of it.
I slowly introduced the cats to each other over a few hours, as Beanie returned home smelling all vet-ish and walking around like he was drunk from all the drugs. Macy was not impressed. She spent the three days while he was at the vet crying and searching for him yet did not want to know him one bit when he returned home. It took a few good days before she warmed back up to him.
I actually don’t believe it was until he had been finished the medications for a few days that he started returning to normal somewhat. He mostly just walked gingerly around and slept. Docile, is a good way to explain his overall demeanour.
He returned home with a prescription diet prescribed by our vet of specifically formulated dried and wet food that is meant to help prevent the crystals forming so a repeat blockage is not as likely. Mr. Bean loves food. As long as he is eating something he is content. Although I have noticed that he has been trying to sneak any bits of other food he can. He even tried to take a sip of my coffee. No joke!
I bought one of those plug in drink fountains for him, thinking it would encourage him to drink more water. It actually had the opposite effect, so I returned it to the store. Instead I refill the water bowl twice, sometimes three times daily to ensure the water is always fresh.
Minimising stress is also high on the agenda. I try to give my cats equal love and minimise stresses in the house. So far, so good I think!
I also watch him like a hawk to ensure he is urinating as he should be (two big wees per day, my vet said). I thought this would be difficult, but it is pretty easy. As it turns out, he eats and uses the litter box straight away… every single time. So it is just a matter of hanging around for a few minutes to make sure he has gone.
It is possible for another blockage to form. My vet will perform one more surgery like this one to clear the blockage, should it re-occur. Due to scar tissue forming on the urethra, they do not perform the surgery more than twice. The next step would be to perform another (major) surgery in which the urethra is shortened. At this point I am aiming to prevent any re-occurrences rather than having to contemplate more surgeries.
*While I do practically have a Google doctorate, I am not an actual real doctor – always go off the advice of your veterinarian.