What is Inflammation of the Urethra?
If your cat’s urethra is inflamed, he may begin to strain when trying to urinate. Some cats may have spots of blood in their urine, while others may have blood or discharge coming from their genitalia. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
The urethra is the part of the lower urinary tract that transports urine from the bladder out of your cat’s body. When the urethra becomes inflamed, this narrow channel begins to swell, making it more difficult for the cat to pass urine. Although less urine is coming out, the cat may have the urge to urinate at all times when inflammation is present. This condition, known as urethritis, can be caused by a number of factors, including bacterial infections, bladder stones, trauma, and even cancer. Sometimes, urethritis is idiopathic, meaning there is no known cause.
Symptoms of Inflammation of the Urethra in Cats
When the urethra becomes inflamed, your cat will most likely experience discomfort when trying to urinate and may find it difficult to pass urine. Some of the symptoms you should look out for include:
- Straining to urinate
- Bloody urine
- Excessive urination
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Blood or discharge from the genitals
- Inability to urinate
Causes of Inflammation of the Urethra in Cats
If the vet is unable to find an underlying cause of the condition, your cat may be suffering from idiopathic urethritis, which means there is no known cause for the inflammation. However, there are a number of known causes for inflammation of the urethra, or urethritis. Known causes include:
- Bacterial infection
- Bladder stones
- Bladder infection
- Vaginal infection
- Prostate infection
Diagnosis of Inflammation of the Urethra in Cats
If you notice any of the symptoms of urethritis, take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Tell the vet what symptoms you have observed and when they first began. The vet will immediately know something is wrong with your cat’s urinary tract after hearing about the symptoms, but he will need to perform some tests to determine the issue.
Tests such as a complete blood count and blood chemistry profile may be performed as part of the standard procedure, however they will not give much insight into what is causing the problem. A urinalysis will also be performed, which will show the presence of bacteria if your cat has any sort of infection.
The vet may also need to perform X-rays to see if there are any bladder stones. If cancer is suspected, the vet may suggest either an urethral cytology or an urethral biopsy, which are the most effective ways of diagnosing cancer of the urinary tract. If the vet finds cancerous cells, he might need to take X-rays of the rest of the body or perform additional tests to see if the cancer has spread.
If no underlying cause can be identified after performing all of these tests, the vet will likely make a diagnosis of idiopathic urethritis.
Treatment of Inflammation of the Urethra in Cats
The treatment your cat receives will depend on the underlying cause, if any is found. If the cause is a bacterial infection, the vet will prescribe antibiotics to your cat to help eliminate the bacteria from his system. However, if bladder stones or cancer is causing the inflammation, surgical treatment may be necessary. The bladder stones will need to be removed to prevent blockages in the urethra.
Treating cancer is a bit more difficult, and may involve a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. The vet may perform surgery to remove cancerous tumors or tissue, and then suggest radiation or chemotherapy afterwards if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Regardless of the underlying cause, the vet will need to make the cat more comfortable while he recovers. To reduce the cat’s discomfort, the vet will prescribe anti-inflammatory medication that will reduce inflammation in the urethra and make it easier to urinate.
Recovery of Inflammation of the Urethra in Cats
Unless the diagnosis is cancer, your cat will most likely make a full recovery from urethritis. If your cat does have cancer, the sooner it is treated, the more likely it is that he will recover.
Be sure to administer all medications as advised by the veterinarian. This is especially important for bacterial infections since missing one dose could allow the bacteria to build a resistance to the antibiotics. Monitor your cat closely as he recovers to ensure he is not still having trouble urinating. If he is, take him to a veterinarian for reevaluation.
Your vet will need to see the cat again for a follow-up visit after the surgery or the treatment with medication. Tests will be performed again to ensure the underlying cause of the condition has been successfully treated.