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 Las Vegas 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?

The surgical reconstruction of the urethra, the tube your cat uses to urinate, is known as a perineal urethrostomy (PU). The idea is to make a bigger hole for your cat to urinate through. Once it has been determined that urinary obstructions cannot be treated with catheterization or if the cat has been having recurrent obstructions, PU surgery is typically considered.

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. The use of a urinary catheter is the most typical treatment for urethral obstructions. Any stones or mucus in the urethra would be forced into the bladder by the passage of this catheter by your veterinarian, where they could then be treated surgically or with medication. If this approach fails to remove the obstruction, perineal urethrostomy surgery may be necessary to enable 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.

Please speak with your vet directly regarding the cost of PU surgery in cats. They can give you a more accurate estimate.

What is the goal of PU surgery? 

The narrow urethra in the distal penis is the primary issue that is addressed during PU surgery, so the operation's objective will be to widen the urethra. Your veterinarian will finish by carving a drainage board and stoma into the penis and suturing it shut. The drainage board will shrink and your cat's fur will grow back over the weeks following surgery, giving your cat a more feminine appearance than a male cat.

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.

Additionally, your veterinarian will advise keeping your cat in a room of the house where they can relax and cannot jump or climb onto furniture. Additionally, you ought to keep your cat apart from other animals to prevent interactions and any potential playtime that might cause your cat further harm.

What to expect once your cat has had PU surgery

If your cat has undergone PU surgery that was successful and the recovery process was without complications then 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.

If you have any questions or concerns about your cat's surgery or recovery contact our Las Vegas vets today.