Severe anemia in cats with urethral obstruction: 17 cases (2002-2011)

Kari Santoro Beer, Kenneth J Drobatz
Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 2016, 26 (3): 393-7

OBJECTIVE: To characterize clinical parameters of cats with severe anemia due to suspected urinary bladder hemorrhage associated with urethral obstruction.

DESIGN: Retrospective case-control study.

SETTING: University teaching hospital.

ANIMALS: Seventeen cats with urethral obstruction and severe anemia (group "UO-A") that required transfusion were identified via medical record database search. Thirty cats with urethral obstruction and mild or no anemia (group "UO") were included as controls.


MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The median PCV of all cases at presentation was 28% (range, 9%-47%). Seven cats had PCV ≤20% at presentation, and all transfused cats had PCV ≤20% at the time of transfusion. Three cats did not receive a transfusion despite PCV ≤18%. Cats in the UO-A group had a significantly longer duration of clinical signs (P = 0.001), and were more likely to have a history of previous urethral obstruction (P = 0.011), have a heart murmur (P = 0.002), have a gallop rhythm (P = 0.005), and have lower blood pressure (P = 0.007) compared to those in the UO group. Additionally, UO-A cats had significantly lower pH, more negative base excess, higher BUN, and higher creatinine compared to UO cats. Duration of urinary catheterization was significantly (P = 0.016) longer in UO-A cats. All UO cats survived to discharge, whereas 4/17 (23.5%) UO-A cats were euthanized (P = 0.013).

CONCLUSIONS: A history of previous urethral obstruction and longer duration of clinical signs may be important risk factors for severe anemia in UO cats. Additionally, UO-A cats appeared to be more severely affected, as evidenced by lower blood pressure, more severe metabolic acidosis, higher BUN and creatinine, and worse outcome.


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