My Experience: Cat Cystotomy & Complications – PART 1 DIAGNOSIS

Before I start, I’d like to acknowledge that the subject of veterinary medicine is far from what my blog is generally about. I am not educated in veterinary medicine and what is stated is my experience, as well as my interpretations. I will not be using the names of the veterinary offices. Instead, I will use “Vet 1” as my primary vet and “Vet 2” as my secondary vet. Any veterinary professionals mentioned have had their names changed for the purpose of this/these post(s).

While I was doing research, it was extremely difficult to find people who have written about their experiences regarding surgery in a cat and have really been detailed about it. I want to help. This is a very emotional experience and I want people in the same situation to have confidence in their vets and surgeons. I also want them to feel less alone in their journey.

This was supposed to be a routine, straight-forward surgery, until a rare complication was discovered.

Lotus is a 2 year old (b. 06/05/2017) domestic short haired tuxedo cat. Although shy, she is very loving and playful. I adopted her from a rescue when she was 12 weeks old and she had no known complications or illnesses when I got her.

In June/July 2019, I started to notice a red tint in her urine. It wasn’t much, but it was still visible enough. I took her to our primary vet, Dr. L at Vet 1, strictly out of precaution. Lotus was otherwise behaving normally and showing no other concerning symptoms, such as straining to urinate or having pain during urination. Because of this, our vet suspected Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC) resulting from stress. She recommend we go home, take away any possible stressors, exercise Lotus more, and play with Lotus more. If her 1 symptom continued through 2 weeks, we would begin testing.

As you might have guessed, there was no change and blood was still present in her urine. Dr. L recommended we start testing with a urinalysis, so that’s what we proceeded to do. The following day, Dr. L called with the results of the urinalysis. Lotus indeed had blood present in her urine, as well as proteins. However, there was no evidence of crystals being present in her urine which would be an indication of stones. Dr. L was still unsure about what it could be and stuck with her initial diagnosis of FIC.

The following week, I was still feeling uneasy with the lack of answers. I made a call to our vet for the next round of testing: a CBC and blood chemistry. Again, we were left mind-boggled. Her CBC and blood chemistry tests were fairly normal, with only a few things very slightly out of range. These tests still didn’t give us any new information. Our next step was to come back for an ultrasound.

On the day of the ultrasound, I dropped her off in the early morning and was able to pick her up around 2 hours later. Dr. L had us go into a room to discuss results. “We have good news and bad news,” she said. “The good news is we finally found what was causing the blood in her urine. The bad news is she has bladder stones and will need surgery.” Well, I’m glad that we finally discovered the issue, but the thought of surgery terrified me. I’ve had cats and dogs before, but none of them have ever needed surgery outside of spay/neuter. The surgery would be a Cystotomy, going into her bladder to retrieve the bladder stones.

Deep breath. Okay, let’s schedule surgery. The next available appointment for surgery would be the following week. Sounds good. Meanwhile, Lotus is still being her fun, spunky, and stubborn self. A couple of hours after we leave Vet 1, I receive a call. The vet would like Lotus to have surgery as soon as possible, recommending the following day as her new surgery date. An additional vet, Dr. M from Vet 2, has been called in to assist with her surgery.

I don’t think my initial shock had time to set in before I had to take Lotus in the next morning for her surgery. Oh, dear.

To be continued in PART 2…….

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