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Surviving A Urethral Blockage

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by Mello<3Simba, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. Mello<3Simba

    Mello<3Simba Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jul 6, 2018
    Hello Everyone!
    I am new to this site but have been reading through some forums for the last couple of days. I finally decided to post something because I’m desperate for support.

    I have a 6 yr old male cat named Simba. Simba was my first and only fur baby and For the last six years we have had no health issues whatsoever. 6 weeks ago I had my first born child (Lucas). Simba is not a fan of children. When my niece or nephews come over he typically just hides until they leave. Unfortunately for him Lucas won’t be going anywhere. He still seemed to be his usual self and would occasionally sniff Lucas but pretty much ignore him.

    Simba has a covered litter box with stairs and pretty much his own apartment in our basement. I noticed a few weeks ago he had been peeing on the stairs of the litter box. I assumed it was because he was upset my husband wasn’t changing his litter as often as I usually would. So I went out and bought an uncovered litter box. Then I began to notice he started squatting near the box to pee. So I once again assumed he didn’t like the box because he had no privacy. Saturday (6/30) night I came home and he didn’t greet me like he normally would. So I put Lucas to bed and looked for Simba. He was laying on the basement floor with litter on his nose, tail, and paws. I tried playing with him but he wouldn’t move. I eventually got him to stand and he went to a corner and tried to use the bathroom but nothing would come out. I immediately brought him to the ER where they told me he was blocked and it was affecting his kidneys and he had high potassium levels. 3 days and $2700 dollars later we brought him home. Since we’ve been home I’ve been giving him two meds 3 times a day. But he was dripping bloody urine around the house and refusing to eat the prescription food. His urine has been a lot smaller than usual and he is frequently going to his box. Today (7/6) I was feeding Lucas and noticed he squat in front of us and tried to pee on his toy but nothing came out. I brought him back to the ER. They said he isn’t blocked yet but it could happen again. They gave him an anti inflammatory shot and sent us home. If he blocks again I cannot afford to do the procedure again which breaks my heart. Then the vet mentioned if he blocks a third time we could try surgery.


    I’m curious to know, if there is a surgery option, why was that not offered to me first since it seems like it would have cured him.

    Please help!!!
     
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  2. Pjg8r

    Pjg8r TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    There is a surgical procedure. If you search for PU surgery you should find something. I had two males who had this done. One was much better following the surgery. The other still had issues from scar tissue from the surgery. I believe it saved both their lives. It was several years ago and was expensive then. The procedure itself may be better now.
     

  3. Mello<3Simba

    Mello<3Simba Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jul 6, 2018
    I wonder why they don’t give the surgery option first. Who can afford to spend up to $9000 for multiple blockages then surgery. I wish they would have told me about the surgery from the beginning.
     

  4. silkenpaw

    silkenpaw TCS Member Super Cat

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    Oct 18, 2009
    Hollywood, FL, USA
    You usually try the conservative (non surgical) treatments first because surgery carries the risk of anaesthesia, and, in case of surgery involving the urethra, the risk of stricture, which would make things worse.

    What did the vet do for Simba for $2700? Did his blood values improve?

    I hope Simba recovers and gets better. You certainly have your hands full with this and a newborn. Good luck.
     

  5. Mello<3Simba

    Mello<3Simba Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jul 6, 2018
    The vet insert a catherter and gave him IVs for 3 days. I guess this was to clear the blockage and get his kidney values back to normal and lower his elevated potassium levels. I’m sorry if I seem clueless about the science/technical terms behind all of this.
     

  6. silkenpaw

    silkenpaw TCS Member Super Cat

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    Oct 18, 2009
    Hollywood, FL, USA
    And did his levels come back to normal? Or does he have some residual kidney damage?

    And, by the way, I think the vet should have told you about the surgery option after handling the initial emergency. But taking a patient to surgery with his electrolytes out of whack is asking for trouble. The elevated potassium, especially, carries a risk of lethal cardiac arrhythmia.
     

  7. Mello<3Simba

    Mello<3Simba Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jul 6, 2018
    They did say his kidney levels were back to normal and didn’t mention anything about him having kidney damage. They did say it took longer than usual for his kidney levels to return to normal.
     

  8. silkenpaw

    silkenpaw TCS Member Super Cat

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    Oct 18, 2009
    Hollywood, FL, USA
    Glad of no permanent kidney damage :)
     
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  9. Daisy6

    Daisy6 A cat's best friend Super Cat

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    Usually PU surgery is recommended the day a blockage is diagnosed. Vets know it's a lifesaving procedure.
     

  10. Stinky15

    Stinky15 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Jun 9, 2018
    If I may ask, what do you feed your cat, canned or dry?
     

  11. lalagimp

    lalagimp TCS Member Top Cat

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    PU surgery was never recommended the day the block occurred or any of the subsequent visits after. It was always mentioned as a possibility, and never before the THREE STRIKES rule.
    If you haven't had this happen to your cat, you might do more research before speaking so generally.
    Yes, the blockages are expensive and require up to three days in the hospital with catheter and IV fluids as well as bupre and prazosin. Each stay was $1800-2300.
    No one can easily afford three blockages, and no one wants to rush into surgery to reassign a cat that might otherwise have a treatable condition. Different things to consider is are they crystals, is there cystitis, any oxalate stones, is there narrowing of the urethra, is the urethra gradually scarring from catherizations and making each new attempt to unblock more and more difficult or creating new blockages that might otherwise pass?
    At two blockages, I knew I could afford no more. I called up the CareCredit support from the ER parking lot after admitting him for his second blockage to ensure we could cover a third. Gut feeling. After coming home from the second blockage, he was readmitted within 24 hours, as he had heavier blood when he'd try to urinate and the amounts were getting smaller and smaller.
    Three Strikes.
    I told them this is the last blockage I could afford. We need to move towards surgery. I can get enough credit from the rest of my cards together to get it performed because I could either pay for a surgery that gave him a much better chance, or I could consolidate my remaining credits cards to pay for 1 last final fourth blockage, and anything after- I CAN'T.
    The ER vet tried to talk me out of it at least four different ways. I love him, and whatever keeps causing this problem with his generic FLUTD diagnosis isn't working out in his favor, and a skilled soft tissue surgeon could give him a much better quality of life moving forward.
    I left him at the ER, I made a bunch of phone calls, I found him a surgeon, I got them to schedule him way ahead of Dr Nguyen's availability, and I told the ER I could pick him up Thursday morning and drive him to Virginia. They never removed the catheter for the pickup, and it was not removed until he was prepped for surgery. No further aggravating it between visits and appointments and transfer - just keep it in until it's time to reassign him.
    He did so well from the three days at the ER to surgery, that he urinated within 24 hours on his own and we picked him up Friday night.
    He had no complications. He was absolutely amazing. His PU surgery was February 2017 around $10,000 later, said and done.

    I hate it. I want a happy and healthy cat, and this is what I had to do to him to maintain that happy and healthy cat. My bub is fantastic. Plus, a new wider urethra is no free pass. You do need to continue to support the bladder for the rest of their life. Debris can pass through his wider urethra, but that doesn't mean me may not have some discomfort from time to time that he can't convey to me.

    I've got more information, but I've already written quite a bit.
     

  12. Mello<3Simba

    Mello<3Simba Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jul 6, 2018
    He as free access to dry food but I feed him wet food in the morning and he drinks quite often out of his water fountain
     

  13. Daisy6

    Daisy6 A cat's best friend Super Cat

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    Floriida
    Why do vets think they need to put off PU surgery until after the third blockage?
     
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  14. sweetblackpaws

    sweetblackpaws TCS Member Super Cat

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    Aug 13, 2016
    I think I paid around 3K for the PU. That was after several ER visits for blockages. They did mention the PU, but I thought he would be okay each time. PU is not 100% cure they told me. Scar tissue can form and kitty can block again (stricture). But it beats going to the ER every few weeks.

    There is also a TPU, transpelvic urethrosotmy (sp?). This costs thousands, but has a higher success rate (although the PU success rate is high).

    Keep him on the inflammatory and Rx food. Do not feed any other food.

    I am so sorry you are going through this. I know how frightening it is.
     

  15. Stinky15

    Stinky15 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Jun 9, 2018
    My cat never had to have surgery and I don't know what they did to unstop him. The first time the Vet kept him so I assume they must have put a catheter or something in to unblock things. Second time at a different Vet. the Dr. did something very quickly, no sedation or anything. I fed him wet and kibble also but I got lax (lazy) on feeding him the meat which I think caused the problem. After the stoppages I switched to a Purina kibble for Urinary health.
     

  16. Daisy6

    Daisy6 A cat's best friend Super Cat

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    Jun 2, 2018
    Floriida
    Stinky, there is no such thing as a urinary health kibble. Dry food directly causes the urinary blockages that send tomcats to the ER. No matter what brand you feed the food must be 100% wet to even have a slight hope of avoiding the PU surgery.
     

  17. Ginger Tabby

    Ginger Tabby TCS Member Young Cat

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    Jan 13, 2018
    My kitty had a blockage many years ago, and the ER doctor told us to get him off dry food. It took some time, but eventually we got him to eat wet food and weaned him completely off dry. He hasn't had a blockage since.
     
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  18. 2BSH

    2BSH TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Apr 24, 2018
    Connecticut, USA
    I would be terrified to feed a male cat dry food. I’d be constantly worried about him blocking. My Milo has never been fond of dry food so both my cats ,Milo and his sister Buttercup are an all wet diet. I’m hoping to prevent urinary problems bc that is so so so scary.
     

  19. Stinky15

    Stinky15 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Jun 9, 2018
    Daisy, I fully realize that male cat's do better eating meat only. This cat I mentioned was in the past, I know better now. The "Urinary Health" kibble supposedly raises the PH of the Urine. He got meat in the a.m. and Urinary kibble in the p.m. and had no more problems. I also avoided fish flavor cat meat as well because of possible problems. There are Male cat's that don't have urinary problems on kibble. My current cat, who is having intestinal problems and inappetance, is partially on kibble solely because that is all he will easily eat. If he gets better he will go back to Meat. Every pet owner should read:
    Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition – Common Sense. Healthy Cats.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
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  20. catlover73

    catlover73 TCS Member Top Cat

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    Sep 3, 2006
    Chicago area
    What you are saying here actually does make sense. I went through a blockage with my male cat Sonny. His blockage also caused his Potassium levels to shoot up and caused his kidneys to start shutting down. He was treated for 3 days at the ER vet just like Simba. His kidney function also went back to normal.

    Did the vet ever tell you what caused the blockage? My Sonny's blockage was caused by a bad UTI and there were no crystals present. The ER vet's did an ultra sound on Sonny. It does make a difference in how this issue is treated if the blockage is being caused by crystals versus another temporary fixable medical issue. There are different types of crystals that influence what diet the cat is supposed to be on. I do not know much about crystals since I have not dealt with this issue but perhaps someone else here does.

    If the current vet can not tell you what is causing this issue then I would get a 2nd opinion from a different vet. A 2nd opinion saved my Sonny's life because the first vet did not explain things to us correctly. My friend who is Sonny's former foster mommy went with us to the 1st vet appointment because she was worried about him. The answers the vet gave did not make sense to her. She demanded Sonny go to her vet for a 2nd opinion. Her vet was the one that hospitalized Sonny. He would have died if I had not gone to her vet for that 2nd opinion.

    I am sorry you are going through this with Simba and I really wish you could get some answers about what caused this blockage. Also I would try applying for care credit. One of my friend's used this to pay for PU surgery for a kitten years ago.
     

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