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Cystotomy in Cats

By: Dr. David Diamond

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Depending on your pet's age and overall health, blood work may be performed prior to anesthesia. Because general anesthesia is necessary, this information will help your veterinarian assess your pet's kidney and liver function, as well as his overall health. Your veterinarian will also use this information to help determine the safest anesthetic regime for your pet.

Once your pet is anesthetized, he is placed on his back and the hair is removed from the belly with clippers. The skin is then surgically prepared by scrubbing with a surgical solution to decrease bacterial numbers and reduce the chance of infection.

The skin incision is made on the midline of female cats, but must be off to one side to avoid the male cat's prepuce and penis. The bladder is gently elevated out of the abdomen and an incision is made through its wall. Urine is suctioned away and the inside of the bladder is examined.

After opening the bladder, stones (uroliths) are removed from the bladder or they are flushed into the bladder from the urethra and then removed. If a tumor is suspected, a sample of the bladder wall can be excised (cut away) and sent to the laboratory for biopsy. When infection is suspected a piece of the bladder wall and a sample of the stone that was removed are submitted for culture (to determine what bacteria are present) and antibiotic sensitivity (to determine which antibiotics the bacteria are most sensitive to). If ectopic ureters are identified, they are repaired.

The incision in the bladder is sutured and the abdomen is flushed with sterile saline to remove any debris or urine that might have leaked into it. The incision in the body wall and skin are then sutured.

Animals can be painful after any abdominal surgery and they are often given analgesics to keep them comfortable. Injectable or oral antibiotics may also be given to the patient after surgery if a urinary tract infection is suspected.

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