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PU Surgery & Your Cat

Urinary blockages can be life-threatening for cats if not treated quickly. Our Santa Cruz vets often perform PU surgery to treat cats suffering from blockages. Below we share more information about this life-saving surgery.

Cat PU Surgery - Perineal Urethrostomy 

PU or perineal urethrostomy is a surgical reconstruction of the tube your cat urinates through called the urethra. This surgery is performed in order to create a larger opening through which your cat can urinate. Typically, PU surgery is considered once it has been determined that urinary obstructions either cannot be corrected by catheterization or if the cat has been experiencing 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.

Why is PU surgery being recommended for my cat?

Perineal urethrostomy surgery is most commonly recommended in the following situations.

  • A urethral obstruction within the penis that cannot be removed. The most common treatment for urethral obstructions is through the use of a urinary catheter. Your vet would pass this catheter through the external opening of the urethra forcing any stones or mucus within the urethra into the bladder, at which point they can be managed using medication or surgery. If this method is unable to clear the blockage then perineal urethrostomy surgery may be required in order to allow the cat to urinate.
  • Recurrent urethral obstructions. It is possible for obstructions to be common and recurring 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 does PU surgery help? 

PU surgery addresses issues with the narrow urethra in the distal penis. The goal of PU surgery is to widen the urethra. Your vet will complete this by incising the penis and suturing it open to create a stoma (an opening) and drainage board. Over the weeks following surgery, the drainage board will shrink and your cat's fur will grow back and leave your cat with more of an appearance of a female cat rather than a male.

What aftercare is required after PU surgery?

As well as the chance that your cat may attempt to scratch or bite at the area, cats are notorious for attempting to clean and lick their wounds. This is why it is usually 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 will my cat's recovery from PU surgery be like?

If your cat has undergone successful PU surgery at Pacific & Santa Cruz Veterinary Specialists, with no complications following the procedure, 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.

How much does PU surgery for cats cost?

The cost of your cat's PU surgery will be based on a number of factors including the size and overall health of your cat, as well as where your vet's office is located. To get an accurate estimate of the cost of your cat's PU surgery speak to your vet. At Pacific & Santa Cruz Veterinary Specialists in Santa Cruz our team will be happy to provide you with an accurate estimate of costs and go through those costs with you so you can make an informed decision about your cat's care.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you think that your cat may have a urinary blockage? Contact Pacific & Santa Cruz Veterinary Specialists right away or kitty directly to our 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic for urgent care!

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Pacific & Santa Cruz Veterinary Specialists is always accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about restoring good health to Santa Cruz companion animals. We are open 24/7 to provide your pet with care, whenever they need us.

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