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Functional Urinary Retention in Cats: Symptoms Causes and Treatment Options

Functional Urinary Retention in Cats: Symptoms, Causes, and Diagnosis

Cats, like any other animal, can suffer from functional urinary retention, a condition that occurs when the urinary bladder fails to empty completely despite the cat’s effort to urinate. Although it can happen to any cat of any age, functional urinary retention is more common in male cats due to their narrower urethra, which makes them particularly susceptible to urinary tract problems.

This article will discuss the definition, symptoms, causes, and diagnosis of functional urinary retention.

Definition and Complications of Functional Urinary Retention

Functional urinary retention in cats is a condition characterized by the inability to empty the urinary bladder completely, even though the cat attempts to urinate. Functional urinary retention can have various causes, such as hypercontractility of the urinary bladder detrusor muscle, electrolyte disturbances, nerve lesions, dysautonomia, decreased contraction of the detrusor muscle, anterior or excessive urethral resistance.

The primary complication of functional urinary retention is a lower urinary tract infection (UTI). When urine remains in the bladder for extended periods, bacteria can accumulate, leading to inflammation and infection.

Palpably distended urinary bladder, ineffective attempts to urinate, weak urine stream, abdominal distension, abdominal pain, and recurrent urinary tract infections are some of the symptoms of functional urinary retention in cats. In severe cases, the urinary bladder may rupture, leading to life-threatening complications.

Furthermore, atony, or loss of muscle tone in the urinary bladder, can leave the cat with a permanently weakened bladder, necessitating the need for long-term management and treatment.

Symptoms and Types of Functional Urinary Retention

Apart from the palpably distended urinary bladder, ineffective attempts to urinate, weak urine stream, abdominal distension, abdominal pain, and recurrent urinary tract infections, functional urinary retention in cats can present in various ways, including:

Inappropriate urination: When cats experience functional urinary retention, they may develop an aversion to their litter box or start urinating in inappropriate places like floors, carpets, and furniture.

Painful urination: Functional urinary retention can cause discomfort and pain when the cat urinates, which can lead to crying, yowling, or growling.

The cat may also lick its genitals more frequently than usual and appear restless or agitated. Frequent urination: A cat suffering from functional urinary retention may demonstrate an increased desire to urinate frequently, but in small amounts.

This can be a sign of a bladder that isn’t emptying adequately.

Causes of Functional Urinary Retention

Functional urinary retention in cats can have many causes, including hypercontractility of the urinary bladder detrusor muscle, electrolyte disturbances, nerve lesions, dysautonomia, decreased contraction of the detrusor muscle, anterior or excessive urethral resistance, and more. Hypercontractility of the Urinary Bladder Detrusor Muscle: This condition occurs when the detrusor muscle contracts excessively, thus increasing the pressure within the bladder and preventing urine from flowing out correctly.

Hypercontractility of the urinary bladder detrusor muscle is commonly seen in cats with neurological disorders such as spinal cord injuries. Electrolyte Disturbances: Electrolyte imbalances, such as low potassium levels, can cause muscle weakness or abnormal contraction of the detrusor muscle, leading to functional urinary retention.

Nerve Lesions and Dysautonomia: Stones in the bladder, tumors, or other conditions restricted or damaged the nerves that control urination, leading to functional urinary retention. Excessive Urethral Resistance: Urethral obstruction caused by inflammation, trauma, or tumors can exert pressure on the bladder neck and urethra, leading to obstruction and resulting in functional urinary retention.

Diagnosis of Functional Urinary Retention in Cats

Diagnosing functional urinary retention in cats requires taking a thorough history and performing a complete physical examination. The veterinarian may request a blood profile and urinalysis or perform a neurologic examination to diagnose the condition.

Diagnostic Tests: Several tests may be carried out to diagnose functional urinary retention in felines. These tests may include catheterization, myelography, epidurography, computed tomography, and radiocontrast tests.

Differential Diagnosis: When diagnosing functional urinary retention in a cat, the veterinarian will consider several other conditions with similar symptoms. These conditions include extramural urethral compression, oliguria, anuria, and urinary tract rupture, physical and mechanical obstruction, lesions above the spine, or on the sacrum, loss of muscle coordination in the detrusor muscle.

Conclusion

Functional urinary retention in cats can be a serious condition that can cause pain, discomfort, and severe complications if not addressed appropriately. If you observe any changes in your cat’s urinary habits or notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s necessary to take them to a veterinarian immediately.

By diagnosing the condition early and treating it effectively, you can reduce the risk of complications and help your fur baby maintain its quality of life. Treatment of Functional Urinary Retention in Cats: Managing the Condition for A Better Quality of Life

Functional urinary retention in cats is a condition that requires immediate intervention to prevent complications such as urinary tract infections, bladder rupture, and other life-threatening complications.

The treatment of functional urinary retention in cats will depend on the severity of the condition and underlying causes. This article will discuss the various treatments available, including inpatient care, surgical options, and lifetime management.

Inpatient Care

Inpatient care is crucial for cats with severe functional urinary retention, where there is a risk of developing complications such as urinary tract infections. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the better the prognosis.

Inpatient care involves admitting the cat to the veterinary hospital for observation and treatment. Urinary Tract Infection Management: Cats with functional urinary retention are at high risk of developing urinary tract infections due to the accumulation of urine in the bladder.

Treating the infection with antibiotics is crucial to prevent further complications. Addressing Primary Disorders: Addressing the primary condition causing functional urinary retention is necessary to alleviate the symptoms and prevent recurrent episodes.

This may involve treating bladder stones, correcting electrolyte imbalances, or addressing other underlying causes. Managing Azotemia: Azotemia is the buildup of nitrogenous waste products such as urea and creatinine in the blood.

Cats who have had prolonged functional urinary retention may suffer from kidney problems due to the increased pressure in the urinary system. Management of azotemia comprises fluid therapy, dietary changes, and medications that can help improve kidney function.

Electrolyte Imbalances and Acid-base Disturbances: Electrolyte imbalances and acid-base disturbances are common in cats with functional urinary retention. These issues must be addressed to normalize the cat’s physiology.

This may involve intravenous fluids, electrolyte replacement therapy, and medications.

Surgical Options

Surgical intervention is necessary in some cases of functional urinary retention in cats for long-term management. The most common surgical procedure recommended is the perineal urethrostomy.

Perineal urethrostomy: This surgical procedure involves removing a section of the urethra and creating a new opening in the cat’s perineum. The new opening bypasses the narrow portion of the urethra, making it easier for the cat to urinate.

Perineal urethrostomy is an effective treatment for cats with recurrent urinary tract problems caused by physical obstructions in the urethra.

Lifetime Management

Lifetime management of functional urinary retention in cats aims to prevent recurrence of the condition and ensure a better quality of life for the cat. The management plan will depend on the underlying cause of the condition, the severity, and the presence of any concurrent problems like chronic kidney disease.

Frequent Manual Compressions: Manual compression of the bladder can help the cat to empty its bladder effectively. This involves applying external pressure to the cat’s lower abdomen, just below the umbilical region, until the bladder is emptied.

Intermittent or Indwelling Urinary Catheterization: In some cats, intermittent or indwelling urinary catheterization may be an effective way to manage functional urinary retention. An indwelling urinary catheter is a tube inserted through the urethra into the bladder, allowing urine to drain out continuously or periodically.

Periodic Urinalysis: Periodic urinalysis is necessary to monitor the cat’s urinary tract health, detect signs of recurrence, and initiate prompt management. Regular visits to the veterinarian for checkups are essential to monitor the cat’s health and adjust the management plan accordingly.

Conclusion

Functional urinary retention in cats can be a debilitating condition, which, if not treated promptly, can lead to life-threatening complications. The treatment of functional urinary retention in cats will vary depending on the underlying cause, severity, and presence of any concurrent health issues.

Inpatient care, surgical options, and lifetime management strategies, including frequent manual compressions, intermittent or indwelling urinary catheterization, and periodic urinalysis, may help manage the condition and improve the cat’s quality of life. With proper care and management, cats with functional urinary retention can lead happy, healthy lives.

Functional urinary retention is a condition that affects cats of all ages, where the urinary bladder fails to empty completely. The causes of functional urinary retention in cats vary, from hypercontractility of the urinary bladder detrusor muscle to electrolyte imbalances.

It is essential to diagnose and treat the condition early to prevent complications like urinary tract infections and bladder rupture. Treatment options include inpatient care, surgical options like perineal urethrostomy, and lifetime management strategies like frequent manual compression, intermittent or indwelling urinary catheterization, and periodic urinalysis.

With proper management and care, cats with functional urinary retention can lead fulfilling and healthy lives. It is crucial for cat owners to keep a lookout for any changes in their cat’s urinary habits and seek veterinary attention promptly.

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