Is your dog or cat crying or whimpering when they attempt to go to the bathroom? Do they physically strain to urinate, but nothing comes out? If so, your pet is suffering from a potentially life-threatening condition that must be treated immediately. Read on to learn what may be wrong with your pet, why it’s dangerous, and what you must do to protect your pet’s well-being.
Causes of Urine Blockage
If your pet isn’t urinating normally, that means that something is preventing them from doing so. There are a few potential conditions that could be responsible:
- Bladder Stones & Tumors – These stones are made up of deposits of minerals and other byproducts produced in the kidneys and released with urine. Over time, they can accumulate and create a “stone” which blocks the urethra and prevents urine from passing through. A tumor in the bladder or urethra can also block urine from passing in the same way as a bladder stone.
- Inflammation – Inflammation of the urethra may be caused by infection or a disease. As the urethra swells, it squeezes the passageway shut and prevents urine from getting out of your pet.
All of these conditions may develop slowly or quite quickly, so if your pet wasn’t showing symptoms just a few days ago, don’t expect it to blow over. This is a critical health concern that needs medical attention.
What Happens If They Can’t Urinate
If your pet can’t urinate, their kidneys will continue to produce urine until their bladder is completely full. This will make your pet feel extremely uncomfortable and anxious as the pressure builds and they can’t do anything to relieve it.
Once the bladder is full, the kidneys will stop filtering your pet’s blood and will shut down. This creates two problems: the kidneys will begin to fail, and your pet’s blood will become full of toxins, causing other organs like the heart to fail. Your pet can begin going into organ failure shortly after their kidneys fail, so don’t wait to get to a vet.
There are no ways to help your pet at home if they cannot urinate: get them to a veterinarian immediately. If it’s after-hours, look for your closest emergency veterinarian that’s open late at night, such as Metzger Animal Hospital, and take them there.
The veterinarian will examine your pet and may use an ultrasound to figure out what’s causing the blockage. Your veterinarian may insert a catheter into your pet’s urethra as a temporary fix to release the urine that’s waiting so the kidneys can start functioning again.
Removing the blockage depends on the cause of the blockage. The veterinarian may use medication to reduce the size of bladder stones so they can pass naturally, or surgery may be needed to remove large bladder stones or tumors. Inflammation or underlying infections will be treated with antibiotics, but your pet may need to be hospitalized until the inflammation diminishes and the catheter can be removed.
Sometimes, pets can have dangerous health conditions come on suddenly and you need to be aware of symptoms like these so you can get them the treatment they need right away. Thankfully, emergency veterinarians are available when your regular vet is closed for the night, and they can handle life-threatening situations like these.