Feeling Bloated and Problem Waterworks! - Call the Vet #31

On the show this week, we’ve got:

  1. Why a cat could be leaking urine after suffering from a blocked bladder

  2.  How to prevent cystitis in cats

  3.  The causes of a hard, bloated abdomen in a Chihuahua

call the vet 31 about cystitis + blocked bladders in cats, and a painful bloated dog abdomen

My cat won't stop leaking after a vet appointment because of urethral obstruction. Can you please help? How can I stop him from leaking on himself? - Jamila

  • I recommend that you take your cat back to check that the bladder is emptying properly.

  • A urethral obstruction is a problem that generally happens because of inflammation within the bladder.

    • The tube between the bladder and the outside world, the urethra, becomes blocked. This obstruction is a fatal condition if left untreated.

    • There is a reasonable chance of developing a repeat obstruction after an episode has been cleared. 5%-10% will be obstruction within 24 hours and up to 25% within a month. Appropriate management can significantly reduce this risk but it could be that there is now a partial obstruction.

  • The bladder may not be emptying properly.

    • The bladder might have been very full and stretched for some time, and because of this it can’t now contract and empty as it normally would, even after the obstruction is cleared. This results in retention overflow happens. The pressure of the urine inside the bladder starts to rise and the urine slowly drips out constantly.

    • Another cause of retention overflow is a tail pull injury. With this, the nerve supply to the bladder stops functioning properly.

  • Another alternative cause is that this cat is producing a lot more urine than normal and is simply having accidents because they need to toilet all the time.

    • After an obstruction is cleared, cats will often develop what is known as a post-obstruction diuresis.

    • It is important to make sure your cat is fully hydrated through wet food and by getting them to drink more.

  • Related articles and resources:

My cat stopped leaking today, and he looks healthier. I'm glad. But he still goes to the toilet a lot. What can I do to avoid such a problem again? Should I change his diet? He's been drinking water a lot lately. - Jamila sent this follow up a few days later!

  • There are a number of different causes that can result in a cat having problems urinating or that cause their urethra to become blocked:

    • The most common is a simple cystitis. This is a stress-related condition that causes inflammation within the bladder. Mucus and debris can collect within and congregate together to form a mucus plug that stops the bladder emptying.

    • Bladder stones.

    • A bladder infection.

    • A bladder tumor.

    • Trauma resulting in damage to the pelvis, tail, or spine.

  • Reducing stress is a major part of cystitis prevention in cats

    • The number of food bowls, water bowls, and litter trays should be one more than the number of cats in the house.

    • Make sure litter trays are being cleaned out promptly.

    • Have constant access to 3D “safe” spaces

    • Feliway, Zylkene and Calmex can all help

  • A special prescription diet can be fed. These are proven to reduce the frequency and severity of cystitis flare-ups.

  • Get your cat to drink more water. Feeding a wet diet is going to be ideal, but prescription diets also come as a dry biscuit which has the same proven benefit.

    • There are multiple other techniques to increase water intake.

    • More water alone isn’t going to reduce the frequency of cystitis episodes but it is going to have a flushing effect for the bladder, reducing obstruction risk.

  • Related articles and resources:

My male Chihuahua has recently cut down on his appetite and seems as if he's in pain. He has a hard time going to sleep which is unusual for him because he is usually fast asleep in no time. I kind of rub his stomach a bit, and it feels hard or bloated. - Ruben

  • Pain is best never ignored. If your dog or cat is in pain for any reason, getting them checked over as soon as possible is always the best thing to do.

  • A hard, enlarged or bloated stomach could be due to a number of things:

    • Abdominal pain: due to many issues including pancreatitis, a foreign body (like a bone or chewed-up toy), or stomach cramps

    • A growing mass or tumor

    • Fluid buildup as a result of liver failure or heart failure.

    • Bleeding in the abdomen because of a tumor, clotting disease, or rat bait poisoning.

  • Different investigations needed might be:

    • A physical examination which will give us a lot of information along with this dog’s full history.

    • Imaging: x-rays, or ultrasound

    • Blood tests

  • Treatment is going to depend on what the underlying problem is. Without an examination and appropriate investigations, and suggestion would be pure guess-work and not fare on your pet.

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