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PU Surgery in Cats

Urinary blockages are a serious health issue for cats and can quickly become life-threatening. Perineal Urethrostomy (PU) may be recommended to correct this problem. In this post, our West Salem vets explain the procedure, when it's recommended and what to expect after the operation.

What is Perineal Urethrostomy (PU) surgery?

During a perineal urethrostomy (PU) surgical procedure, the urethra (the tube your cat urinates through) is reconstructed. The purpose of this operation is to create a larger opening through which your cat can urinate. PU surgery is typically only considered once your veterinarian has determined that urinary obstructions cannot be corrected by catheterization or if your cat has been experiencing recurring obstructions. 

Urinary blockages can quickly become life-threatening for cats. While the goal of this surgery is to greatly decrease the likelihood of repeat blockages, it will not guarantee that obstructions will not recur. Post-operative care at home after your cat's procedure will help to ensure the operation was a success and reduce the risk of future blockages. 

Male cats are much more likely than female cats to experience urinary blockages due to the female's urethra being much shorter and wider than the male urethra. As the male urethra extends the length of the penis, it grows more narrow, which increases the probability of an obstruction occurring. 

When is PU surgery recommended?

Your veterinarian may recommend perineal urethrostomy surgery in these 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 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.

What is the goal of PU surgery? 

The main concern that is addressed during PU surgery is the narrow urethra in the distal penis, so the goal of the surgery will be to widen the urethra. Your veterinarian 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.

How much will my cat's PU surgery cost?

The cost of surgery can get pretty steep, and prices vary depending on the diagnostic test needed, and the extent of the condition. Alternatively, if you compare the cost of surgery to the cost of frequent treatment for blockages, it may save you money in the long run. Our team at West Salem Animal Clinic can provide a cost estimate for your cat's procedure.

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 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 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.

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 suspect your cat is having problems urinating or that they may have a urinary blockage? Contact our vets at West Salem Animal Clinic to schedule an examination.

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