Urethral Obstruction

is seen in only male canines and felines

The urethra is the passageway that carries urine from the bladder to the penis and out of the body. When the urethral passage enters the penis, it becomes narrower. This causes any potential obstruction to create urinary problems in the already narrower portion of the urethra that lies inside the penis.

Soft Tissue - Urethral Obstruction

In male dogs, the urethra is encased in bone. Stones, which are basically a build-up of mineral substance, that develop in the urinary tract can get stuck behind the bone within the urethra, blocking the urethra from urine flow. Other causes of obstruction in male dogs include fracture of the bone that encases the penile portion of the urethra, tumors of the penis, and scar tissue from injury to the penis.


Mostly found in male cats

– Inability to urinate

– Constant licking of genitalia

– Weakness

– Vomiting or lack of appetite

– Dehydration


If the blockage is the result of stones, the preferred procedure is to attempt to flush the stones back in to the bladder and surgically remove them. If this is not possible or the obstruction is the result of other issues, the surgical correction involves forming another opening to the urethra which will be either temporary or permanent, depending on the cause of obstruction, which will allow urine to leave the body. In dogs with penile tumors, the opening is always permanent and the penis is completely removed.

In male cats, urethral obstruction can develop quickly and easily because the urethra is very small. There is no bone casing the urethra in cats, but stones and plugs of inflammatory material are the primary causes of urethral obstruction in felines. These stones and plugs can sometimes be attributed to diet and viral infections.

Urethral obstruction in cats requires emergency medical treatment. Using a urinary catheter, the obstruction is flushed back into the bladder and depending on the obstruction, can be surgically removed. In cats that have chronically recurring urethral obstruction, there is a surgical revision of the urethra that widens the passage from the bladder to aid in urine flow.

After Care:


– Your pet will need to stay overnight one night and will need to be picked up during our regular business hours the day after surgery. There will be staff overnight to monitor your animal.

– When you get your pet home, place your pet in a cool/warm (season dependent), quiet and dark room. If you leave your pet alone, he/she will sleep and be comfortable. You can increase your pet’s anxiety by doting. Your pet will have adequate medication for pain so you do not need to worry about discomfort.


– Continue medications as directed by discharge letter.

– A transdermal pain patch will be sutured on to your pet and will provide pain relief for three days following surgery. On the fourth day after surgery, you may remove the patch by clipping the sutures with a nail clipper and peeling it off like a band-aid. Please dispose of the patch by flushing down the toilet. (The transdermal pain patch used for pain relief can cause constipation. Dr. Dew will ask that you feed your pet a certain amount of tuna in oil for 4 days following surgery to prevent constipation. The tuna in oil is to be given in addition to your pet’s regular feedings.)

Food & Water:

– When you get your pet home, offer him a small amount of water. If he drinks it and does not vomit, offer twice the original amount.

– 2 hours later if no vomiting has occurred, offer ¼ of the amount of food in a normal meal. If your pet eats and no vomiting occurs in a 2-hour time period, then you may resume normal alimentation.

– Please call Dr. Dew’s office or your regular veterinarian if your pet does not drink within the first 6 hours of being home or if vomiting occurs.


– Your pet should be rechecked in 7-10 days by Dr. Dew.

– Please call 479-964-4300 to schedule this appointment.

Exercise Restriction:

– Limit to short leash walks 3-4 times daily for 2 weeks.

– Running, jumping and play activity should not be allowed during this time.