--By Dr. Claire Beckmeyer
Just when you think you have your male cat figured out, there he is standing there, squatting in the middle of your bedroom floor and staring oddly at you. "Boots, what has gotten into you?", you say as you cock your head and stare back at him. Then he meows in a strange tone and leaves a drop of blood on the floor. You follow him to his litter box where he continues to strain with little to no urine production. If this is a scene you have never before witnessed, but if you have a male cat, be warned. This scenario is actually an emergency situation! Boots likely has a urethral obstruction. At some point between his urinary bladder and the outside world is something creating a blockade in his urethra, which will not allow urine to pass through. Urethral obstructions are more common in male cats than you may think. If left untreated this condition can ultimately lead to death due to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
What causes this to happen?
The urethra can be obstructed due to a bladder stone(s), an accumulation of urinary crystals, scarring, or simply muscle spasms and/or swelling. When an obstruction occurs we may find that underlying reasons are related to environmental stress (recent move, construction on the house, interactions with other household cats, ect.), obesity, and/or lack of adequate water intake.
What do I do if this happens?
Call a vet. Right away. Even if it is the middle of the night. Someone is always available to help. Remember, this is an emergency. Your cat needs to be evaluated and if obstructed, he will need a urinary catheter placed to allow urine to flow freely again. Once in place he will need this catheter to stay in for approximately 24- 48 hours, or until the urine becomes a clear yellow. Your veterinarian will also ensure that he is rehydrated and comfortable by administering fluids intravenously and that he is given medication to relieve his pain. After his stay in the hospital you will need to closely monitor Boots at home to make sure that he is producing an adequate amount of urine in the litter box. Your veterinarian will likely discuss altering his diet and/or lifestyle to prevent this from happening again.
Urinary issues in cats are common and do not always lead to an obstruction, but should be addressed with a veterinarian as soon as they are noticed so that your veterinarian can start treatment before his issues lead to an obstruction.
Hillside Animal Hospital's veterinarians and staff are happy to announce that they recently enrolled in the the American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s Veterinary Care Charitable Fund.
This program was created to support veterinarians who provide medical services to the lost, neglected and abused animals that find their way into our hospital. The program also allows us to care for animals in our community when their owners face extraordinary hardships.
By partnering with the AVMF's fund, we're able to offer supporters a tax-deductible, convenient way to donate and support our efforts to help pets in extreme need.
We invite you to support us in this new endeavor by making a donation to the AVMF to support our charitable work. The AVMF is the charitable arm of our professional membership organization, the American Veterinary Medical Association. The AVMF has been helping veterinarians help animals for more than 50 years.
Your tax-deductible donations to the AVMF on behalf of our hospital will help us help animals. Click on the AVMF donate button to make your tax deductible donation today!
Thank you in advance for your donation. All gifts, no matter the size, are greatly appreciated. Please
watch for additional messages that will share exciting and heartwarming stories of the animals that are
helped through your generosity.
Spring is on the way. After a long winter, we all want to get out and enjoy the warmer weather. For many of us, that means we are starting to think about our travel plans. When making arrangements, do you find yourself not including your dog because he or she has a difficult time with car rides? Does your dog simply not like traveling? Does he or she become physically ill? Imagine being able to share more experiences with you canine friend without the stress.
Car rides can be an overwhelming experience for dogs. The smells, sounds, and movement can create a perfect storm of sensory overload. These can all lead to motion sickness, a common affliction in our canine friends. Studies have shown that 1 in 5 dogs suffer from this ailment. Unfortunately, most pet owners do not recognize the signs. Do you know what to look for? It can present in a variety of ways in dogs. The most common physical signs to look for are drooling, heavy panting, excessive lip licking, vomiting, pacing, shaking, and whining (visit cerenia.com for a comprehensive list of symptoms). Luckily there is something that can help alleviate their discomfort. It is the first and only FDA approved medication to prevent vomiting due to motion sickness. Studies show it is successful in up to 93% of dogs. Call your veterinarian to talk about your dog's symptoms to see if he or she would benefit from the medication.
Many dogs do not display physical signs of motion sickness, however they simply do not like car rides. In these cases, treating the behavioral aversion to the experience can be beneficial. The process will require some patience, but will be helpful in the long run. To do this you first need to make positive associations with the car. This is known as counter conditioning. Some people will feed their dog in or near the car, or play with their favorite toys around the vehicle. Every time they approach the car or jump in willingly, you should reward that behavior with treats or praise. Once they are comfortable hopping into the car, go for very short rides. In some cases, simply backing the car down the driveway, or just a short ride around the block, is all you need to do. The goal is to get them acclimated to the process. Sometimes playing soothing music in the car and talking in calm, reassuring tones will be helpful as well. Many people have had success with the assistance of the Adaptil spray, a pheromone that has proven to help ease anxiety in dogs. A Thundershirt can also assist in reducing their anxiety in multiple situations. Make sure it is always a positive experience. If your dog appears anxious, discontinue for the day and start at the beginning the next time. Slowly build on the length of time spent in the car until your are able to drive longer distances with no signs of stress.
Now that your dog is more comfortable in the car, you can start planning a fun outing. Before leaving, it is always a good idea to do a little research. Look up the route you are planning to take to be sure there are plenty of rest stops you can make with your dog. Also make sure you find pet friendly hotels and restaurants along the way. In some cases, a health certificate issued by your veterinarian is required for travel. In order to obtain this document your pet will need to be examined by your veterinarian, be current on all vaccines, and be in good health. It is always a good idea to bring your pet's veterinary records and a picture of them with you in case of an emergency, especially if they have a specific medical issue. If your pet is on medications, make sure you have enough for the trip as well as a little extra in case your plans change.
Traveling with your dog doesn't have to be an ordeal. Call us at Hillside Animal Hospital today and together we can come up with a plan to make the ride more enjoyable for everyone. Safe travels!