Cystotomy in Cats

Cystotomy in Cats - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention
Cystotomy in Cats - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention
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What is Cystotomy?

Cystotomy is a surgical procedure used in cats to treat bladder stones. Although it is sometimes used for exploratory purposes, cystostomy is more invasive than other exploratory measures, including cystoscopy and ultrasound. Cystotomy is typically recommended to remove obstructions within the bladder, such as tumors, stones, and clots, which cannot be treated conservatively. This procedure may also be used to collect tissue samples for biopsy.

Cystotomy Procedure in Cats

The approach and procedure steps may vary according to the expertise of the surgeon as well as the underlying condition.

  1. Prior to surgery, the veterinarian or surgeon will run tests to ensure it is safe for the cat to undergo anesthesia.
  2. The cat will be anesthetized. An oxygen tube will also be placed to administer gas anesthesia intraoperatively.
  3. The abdomen will be shaved, cleaned, clipped, and draped.
  4. Using a scalpel, the surgeon will incise the skin and abdominal muscle in order to access the abdominal cavity.
  5. The surgeon will use sterile sponges to pack and isolate the bladder.
  6. If urine is present in the bladder, it will be removed to avoid contamination.
  7. The surgeon will remove obstructions such as bladder stones, clots, or tumors.
  8. If the procedure is exploratory, the surgeon will explore the bladder and urinary organs during this time to identify the underlying condition. They may choose to take tissue samples.
  9. The surgeon may choose to place a catheter. 
  10. The abdominal cavity will be lavaged, or flushed, with a sterile saline solution prior to incision closure.
  11. If cystotomy was used to remove stones or obstructions, an x-ray will be taken after surgery to ensure all obstructions have been removed.
  12. The cat will be hospitalized for up to three days.
  13. The catheter is generally removed between 24 and 72 hours after surgery.
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Efficacy of Cystotomy in Cats

The efficacy of the procedure will vary based on the underlying condition. Cystotomy is generally considered a safe and effective procedure which presents few complications. Most cats make a full recovery within two weeks following surgery. However, the prognosis will vary based on the underlying condition as well as the efficacy of additional treatment methods.

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Cystotomy Recovery in Cats

The vet will prescribe the cat pain medication to manage postoperative pain. An Elizabethan collar may be required so that the cat does not irritate the surgery site. Owners should prevent their cat from engaging in activity for up to two weeks following surgery to prevent wound rupture. They should also check the incision site daily to ensure no drainage, bleeding, or swelling has occurred. Surgeons typically use absorbable sutures for cystotomy. If non-absorbable sutures are used, the surgeon will schedule a follow-up appointment for ten to fourteen days after surgery to remove them.

The cat’s urine should be monitored throughout the recovery period. Small amounts of blood in the urine are normal for the first few days after surgery. However, if the cat is having difficulty urinating, or if the bloody urine lasts for more than three days after surgery, owners should seek immediate veterinary attention.

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Cost of Cystotomy in Cats

The cost of cystotomy may vary based on standards of living and additional costs incurred. The national average cost of cystotomy, not including preoperative testing or postoperative medications, is $300.

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Cat Cystotomy Considerations

There are few risks associated with cystotomy, since it is a relatively simple procedure. However, complications are possible with any surgical procedure. Complications of cystotomy, although rare, may include:

  • Remaining stones or obstructions
  • Allergic reaction to anesthetic
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Recurrence of the condition
  • Wound rupture
  • Leakage of urine
  • Hemorrhage
  • Infection
  • Anesthetic death

Unfortunately, there is a chance that the surgeon will not remove all the stones or obstructions. This may happen for many reasons, which is why the postoperative x-ray is imperative for ensuring all obstructions have been removed.

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Cystotomy Prevention in Cats

Bladder stones may be caused by a cat’s diet. Dietary changes are recommended for certain cases of bladder stones, since an improper diet can cause bladder stones. Owners should follow their veterinarian’s dietary guidelines carefully. Other conditions, such as cancer and congenital defects, cannot be prevented. Cats with congenital defects treated by cystotomy should not be bred.

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Cystotomy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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MAINE COON

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7 MONTHS

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3 found helpful

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3 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Inapropriate Urination

Hi, MY KITTEN WAS SPAYED, AND HAVE A DIVERTICULUM BLADDER THAT WAS CORRECTED DURING THE SPAY. ITS BEEN A MONTH, AND WHILE SHE IS PEEING BETTER, SHE STILL PEES IN THE SINK, AND CRYS SOMETIMES. IS IT STILL PART OF THE HEALING PROCESS?

July 12, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Hello, This may be the bladder still healing. If she is not improving, it may be best to discuss these signs with the vet that did her surgery. Your cat may also need to have their urine check to make sure that there is not a bladder infection causing some of these issues. I hope your cat gets better soon.

July 12, 2020

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Bob

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DOMESTIC

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9 Years

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5 found helpful

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5 found helpful

Has Symptoms

None

My male cat had bladder cystotomy for calcium oxalate stones in 2016. The vet said his stones are back after seeing an X-ray for another concern. I have heard there is a less invasion option called PCCL that will use a scope and a basket to obtain all traces of stones, so we do not have to keep surgery every two years. However, no one in Dallas/Fort Worth has this equipment. What options do I have?

Aug. 17, 2018

Bob's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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5 Recommendations

I am not aware of any veterinarians that perform this surgery. I'm not sure that you will need to have the surgery performed every two years, but the best option for Bob at this point is to have a 2nd surgery. If you are able to control the pH of his urine through diet, he should not continue to get the stones.

Aug. 18, 2018

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