Occasionally, your cat may experience symptoms of a urinary blockage. If not treated immediately, these blockages can become life-threatening. Your vet may recommend a perineal urethrostomy. Here, our Sacramento vets define a perineal urethrostomy surgery and what to expect from a cat's PU surgery and recovery. 

What is Perineal Urethrostomy (PU) Surgery?

The surgical reconstruction of the tube your cat urinates through — the urethra — is called a perineal urethrostomy (PU). The purpose of this procedure is to create a larger opening through which your cat can urinate. PU surgery is typically considered once your veterinarian has determined that urinary obstructions either cannot be corrected by catheterization, or if a cat has been experiencing repeated obstructions. 

Your cat's life can be in danger due to urinary blockages. While this surgery will likely decrease the likelihood of repeat blockages, it will not guarantee that obstructions will not happen again. Post-op surgical care will help to ensure that the procedure was a success and lower the risk of recurring blockages in the future. 

While possible in both, male cats are much more likely to experience urinary blockages than female cats due to the female urethra being much wider and shorter than the male urethra. The male urethra extends the length of the penis before becoming more narrow, increasing the risk of an obstruction occurring. 

When is PU Surgery Recommended for Cats?

Your veterinarian will likely recommend perineal urethrostomy surgery in these situations:

  • Recurrent urethral obstructions. Some male cats may experience common and recurring obstructions. While it's possible to continually remove blockages in these cats, they may also benefit from perineal urethrostomy surgery to try to avoid or lower the risk for future obstructions.
  • A urethral obstruction within the penis that cannot be removed. Urethral obstructions are most often treated using a urinary catheter. The veterinarian will pass this catheter through the external opening of the urethra, forcing any stones or mucus within the urethra into the bladder, at which point they can be managed using surgery or medication. If this method proves ineffective in clearing the blockage, perineal urethrostomy may be needed to allow the cat to urinate. 

What is the goal of PU surgery?

The PU surgical procedure will address the narrow urethra in the distal penis. During the operation, your vet will widen the urethra by incising the penis and suturing it open to create a stoma (opening) and drainage board. In the weeks after surgery, the drainage board will shrink and your cat's fur will grow back, leaving your cat with more of an appearance of a female cat as opposed to a male. 

How much will PU surgery for my cat cost?

Prices for this procedure will vary depending on the diagnostic tests required and the severity of the condition. Your veterinarian will be able to give you a cost range estimate for your cat's PU surgery. 

What after-care is required after PU cat surgery?

Because cats are notorious for attempting to clean and lick their wounds as well as the chance that they may attempt to scratch or bite at the area it is recommended that your cat wear an Elizabethan collar for the duration of the recovery process.

Your vet will also recommend having your cat kept in an area of the home where they can relax and will not be able to climb or jump onto furniture. Your cat should also be isolated from other pets to limit interactions and possible playtime which could further injure your cat.

What to Expect Once Your Cat Has Had PU Surgery

If your cat has undergone PU surgery that was successful and the recovery process was without complications then there should be no further concerns. There may be a rare case where a cat experiences another obstruction after having PU surgery, but this is highly unlikely.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you have questions or concerns about your cat's surgery or recovery? Contact our friendly team at South Sacramento Pet Hospital