What is Posterior Displacement of the Bladder?
Proper placement of the bladder is essential to a healthy and normal function of the urinary tract. Posterior bladder displacement can cause a variety of urinary issues caused by misalignment of the bladder and the urethra (the tube through which urine exits the body), or other side effects.
Posterior displacement of the bladder occurs when the bladder becomes displaced, or is located in an inappropriate position, within your cat’s body. While displacement can occur in a variety of ways, posterior displacement refers to the fact that this condition occurs when the bladder is located near the tail, or caudally. This condition is also known as pelvic bladder, since the bladder moves from its normal position in the abdomen to the lower pelvic region.
Symptoms of Posterior Displacement of the Bladder in Cats
While some cats may be asymptomatic (show no effects of the condition) most animals will experience some degree of difficulties with urination. These symptoms may include:
- Frequent urination
- Urinary incontinence or leaking urine
- Difficult or painful urination
- Urine burns or scalding around genitals
- Frequent grooming of genitals
- Repeated urinary tract infections
- Fever, lethargy, vomiting or diarrhea as a secondary effect of infection
Causes of Posterior Displacement of the Bladder in Cats
The exact cause of your cat’s posterior displacement of the bladder may be unknown, but there are four main common causes of this condition.
In overweight cats, excess fat surrounding the abdomen and the organs within may cause displacement of the bladder. Excessive weight can also place additional pressure on the urethra and bladder, exacerbating the symptoms caused by the displacement.
Severe injury, impact, or other trauma may cause displacement of your cat’s bladder. This may occur in an isolated event in which only the bladder is affected or as the result of some pelvic injury which causes the surrounding organs to become displaced and potentially damaged.
Tumors, hernias, or other masses may also cause posterior displacement of the bladder in your cat. These growths act much the same way as excess fat, increasing in size and crowding the bladder out of its normal location.
In some cats, posterior displacement of the bladder may be due to an unknown hereditary or genetic defect present since birth. There is no particular genetic condition that has been connected with this generalized defect.
Diagnosis of Posterior Displacement of the Bladder in Cats
Diagnosis of posterior displacement of the bladder in your cat will begin with a thorough physical exam performed in your vet’s office. You should provide a thorough history of your cat’s symptoms to aid your vet in making an accurate diagnosis.
During the exam, your vet will begin by collecting blood and urine samples. The blood sample will be collected through a simple needle stick procedure in which your vet or an assistant will withdraw a small amount of blood to be sent to an outside lab. These samples will be analyzed for elevated white blood count levels, which could indicate an infection or other potential diseases.
Urine samples will allow your vet to determine appropriate kidney and liver function. Your vet will also look for the presence of white or red blood cells in the urine, which may indicate a urinary tract infection, which can have similar symptoms to posterior bladder displacement.
Your vet will also palpate your cat’s abdomen, attempting to locate the bladder and potentially feel for any abnormalities. An experienced vet will gently massage and squeeze your cat’s abdominal area, identifying the various organs by feel. If the bladder is located, your vet may be able to feel that it has become displaced and whether the muscle tissue is smooth and normal or if there are rough patches or bumps that may indicate tumors, stones or growths. Your vet will also be able to feel for any swelling, inflammation or excessive variations in size.
Finally, special x-rays and ultrasounds may be performed to help your vet definitively locate and identify the size of your cat’s bladder. This will also identify the presence of any tumors or growths. X-rays may also be done with the help of a contrast dye which is injected into your cat’s bladder to help delineate the basic outline and structure of the bladder. This will clearly show any displacement or irregularities in size.
Treatment of Posterior Displacement of the Bladder in Cats
Treatment of posterior displacement of the bladder in your cat will typically involve surgery to correct the condition. Surgery will require your cat to undergo anesthesia and be admitted to the hospital at least overnight. Your vet will then surgically repair the structure and location of the bladder, often using small sutures to “tack” or attach the bladder to the nearby organs or stomach lining to hold the bladder in place.
In cats which obesity is the main suspected cause, your vet may prescribe medications to help your cat urinate more easily and a limited diet to help reduce weight. Overweight animals can often face additional risks when undergoing anesthesia, which is why conservative treatment is usually preferred prior to surgical correction.
Recovery of Posterior Displacement of the Bladder in Cats
Prognosis for recovery of posterior displacement of the bladder is usually very good. Your cat will need a quiet and safe place to recuperate from their surgery once they have been released and are able to return home. You will need to follow up with your vet for removal of any sutures and for additional ultrasounds or other imaging to confirm the condition has been corrected.
In cases of successful correction, your cat should be able to have a good quality of life with little to no lasting adverse consequences.