Urethral obstruction (UO) is an extremely common clinical veterinary condition; however, descriptions of common risk factors are limited. Urethral plugs, uroliths, and idiopathic conditions are among the most common causes. This study evaluated UO risk factors, clinical signs, outcome, and recurrence rates. Cats diagnosed with UO (n = 82) and matched control cats (n = 82) were included in the study. Medical records were examined for signalment, clinical presentation data, location, nutrition, complete blood count, serum biochemical profile, urinalysis, urine culture/sensitivity, presence of other animals in the house, and outcome/recurrence data. Cats with UO were significantly younger than control cats and had significantly higher body weights than controls. There were significantly fewer indoor/outdoor cats in the UO group; however, there were more strictly outdoor cats in the UO group. Significantly more cats in the UO group ate only dry cat food. Mortality in the UO group was 8.5%, and ionized calcium measurements were significantly higher in surviving cats. Accordingly, hypocalcemia was significantly lower in the case group than in the control group. Recurrence rates were reported at 6 months (22%) and 2 years (25%) after discharge. Cats that experienced recurrence had significantly lower urine pH values.

Commentary: This study is very useful to the practicing clinician. Cats with UO are common in the clinical setting. Any interventional behaviors or techniques to potentially decrease UO prevalence are welcome in the clinical setting. Emphasis on optimal body weight and canned food intake as treatment recommendations is important in the management of many chronic feline diseases.—Indu Mani, DVM, DSc

Urethral obstruction in cats: Predisposing factors, clinical, clinicopathologic characteristics, and prognosis. Segev G, Livne H, Ranen E, Lavy E. J FELINE MED SURG 13:101-108, 2011.