What is Out-of-Place Urethral Lining?
Urethral prolapse is more common in younger animals, although it can also affect older cats or those with immune issues. It is also more likely to occur in male cats than in females. In most cases, an out-of-place urethral lining is not life-threatening, but it can cause severe issues within the urinary tract or kidneys. If your pet is demonstrating symptoms of an out-of-place urethral lining, seek veterinary assistance.
The urethral lining is a mucous membrane that lines the urethral tract. When this lining slips out of place for any reason, it results in a medical condition known as urethral prolapse. When the urethral lining is out-of-place, it can cause discomfort and create a variety of problems related to passing urine and voiding the bladder.
Symptoms of Out-of-Place Urethral Lining in Cats
An out-of-place urethral lining can cause issues with urination. The primary symptoms associated with urethral prolapse are similar to those of a urinary tract infection. The most obvious clinical sign of the condition is the exposed urethral lining appearing as mass at the end of the urethral tract. This is easier to observe in males of the species than in females.
- Urine stream stops and starts
- Inability to pass urine
- Urine leakage
- Pain and related vocalizations when attempting to urinate
- Blood in the urine
- Avoidance of the litter box
- Urinating in unusual places
- Abnormal urine odor
- Exposed urethra mass at the end of the penis in males
- Exposed urethra mass from the urethral tract in females
- Excessive licking of the area
- Bleeding from the urethral opening
- Swelling or inflammation of the genitalia or surrounding area
- Localized red to purple discoloration
- Agitation or restlessness
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive thirst
Causes of Out-of-Place Urethral Lining in Cats
Several issues and conditions can result in an out of place urethral lining in cats. Younger cats and those of an increased age have a higher risk of developing urethral prolapse. It is possible for an out-of-place urethral lining to be a congenital defect or it can be caused as a complication of another disease or disorder. Some of the common causes of out-of-place urethral lining in cats include:
- Urinary tract infection
- Testicular disease
- Congenital defect
- Fractures, trauma, or injury
- Abnormal development
- Urethral disease
- Irritation due to sexual activity
- Plugging or blockage in the urethra
- Kidney or bladder stones
- Immune disorders
- Reproductive problems
- Certain viral infections, like feline leukemia virus
Diagnosis of Out-of-Place Urethral Lining in Cats
With the similarities between symptoms of urethral prolapse and urinary tract infections, it can often be challenging to properly diagnose your cat’s condition. If the urethral lining has moved far enough out of place to protrude from the urethral tract, it is much easier to diagnose and will generally be identified during a physical examination. If the lining is still internal, additional diagnostic methods will need to be employed. Be prepared to discuss your pet’s medical history, recent activity, and any symptoms you have observed. A physical examination will be conducted with special attention paid to the lower abdomen and genital regions.
Additionally, blood and urine samples may be taken for analysis. Urinalysis and urine cultures are common laboratory tests used for urethral issues. Routine blood tests like a complete blood count and biochemistry panel are also likely. Cystography is the most effective diagnostic method used by veterinary staff for identifying the underlying cause of urethral issues. Cystography uses a series of x-rays to check the bladder and urinary tract for signs of infection, blockage, tumor growth, and to determine the extent of the lining’s prolapse. Additional diagnostic imaging techniques like ultrasound may also be used. In some cases, exploratory surgery may be used to locate the issue.
Treatment of Out-of-Place Urethral Lining in Cats
Treating an out-of-place urethral lining is generally designed to repair the damage to the urethral tract. Additional treatments may be prescribed to assist with associated symptoms like pain and infection. The majority of cats with urethral prolapse will require surgery to properly treat the out-of-place lining. Treatment methods may include:
Bacterial infection is a common symptom and potential cause associated with urethral prolapse. If blood or urine cultures indicate an infection is present, antibiotic medications will be prescribed for treatment. There is a low risk of side effects with most antibiotics. Dosing instructions should be followed to reduce the risk of side effects and ensure the medication is able to work properly.
NSAID Pain Relievers
This category of pain medication is used to treat pain and inflammation. It can also assist in reducing fever. It is commonly prescribed to treat cats that are experiencing pain and swelling related to urethral prolapse. It may also be prescribed as a post-surgery treatment. Although this type of medication is commonly used, proper dosing for your pet’s size is necessary to prevent complications.
In most cases, surgery will be needed to correct your cat’s urethral prolapse. This surgery is fairly common but, as with any surgery, there is a moderate risk of side effects and complications. Stitches will be used to seal the area and your pet may require a follow-up visit to remove the sutures.
Recovery of Out-of-Place Urethral Lining in Cats
Most cats with an out-of-place urethral lining will make a full recovery with proper treatment. Ensuring that your pet is seen by a veterinary professional in a timely fashion will aid in improving their prognosis. Be sure to follow all of your veterinarian’s instructions for post-treatment care, including the proper dosing of all medications and returning for any requested follow-up visits. Be sure that your pet has plenty of food and water available, and take steps to limit their mobility, especially in the first days after surgery. Routinely check the suture site for signs of infection. Seek veterinarian assistance if signs of infection are present or if your pet’s symptoms worsen.