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Occurrence and clinical management of urethral obstruction in male cats under primary veterinary care in the United Kingdom in 2016

Beeston, Dave; Humm, Karen; Church, David B.; Brodbelt, David; O'Neill, Dan Gerard


Dave Beeston

Karen Humm

David B. Church

David Brodbelt

Dan Gerard O'Neill


Background: Urethral obstruction (UO) has a negative effect on welfare of cats.

Objectives: This study aimed to determine incidence, case management, and outcomes of UO in cats in primary-care practice in the United Kingdom.

Animals: All male cats under veterinary care within the VetCompass database in 2016.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed. The electronic records of all male cats with a clinical note during the study period were searched for UO cases and were manually reviewed for inclusion. Additional demographic and clinical information were extracted on cases.

Results: From the study cohort of 237 825 male cats, there were 1293 incident cases. The estimated UO incidence risk during 2016 was 0.54 (95% CI: 0.51-0.57). Demographic and clinical data were available for 1108 cases. Antibiotics were administered to 641/1108 (57.9%) cases. Overall repeat catheterization rate was 253/854 (29.6%). Repeat catheterization at 48 hours was less frequent in patients with indwelling catheters (10.1%) vs those that had a catheter placed and then immediately removed (14.8%; P = .04). Death during a UO episode was 329/1108 (29.6%), and 285/329 (88.0%) deaths involved euthanasia.

Conclusions and clinical importance: Antibiotics were commonly prescribed in cats for treatment of UO despite minimal evidence in the clinical records of bacterial cystitis. Repeat catheterization was common and case fatality rate during a UO episode was high. Repeat catheterization within 48 hours of elective removal of a urethral catheter was less common in cats that had previously had indwelling catheters. The majority of cats requiring repeat catheterization survived until the end of the study.

Keywords: FLUTD; antibiotics; blocked; feline lower urinary tract disease; primary care; recurrence; urinary blockage.


Beeston, D., Humm, K., Church, D. B., Brodbelt, D., & O'Neill, D. G. (in press). Occurrence and clinical management of urethral obstruction in male cats under primary veterinary care in the United Kingdom in 2016. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 9, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 24, 2022
Deposit Date Feb 24, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 28, 2022
Journal Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Print ISSN 0891-6640
Electronic ISSN 1939-1676
Publisher Wiley Open Access
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords General Veterinary
Public URL
Additional Information Received: 2021-05-03; Accepted: 2022-02-03; Published: 2022-02-24


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