A ruptured bladder occurs when the urinary bladder tears, releasing urine into the abdomen. The most common causes of a ruptured bladder are trauma, such as being hit by a car, a fall from a height, gunshot wound or a urinary blockage caused by calculi or mucous plugs, bladder cancer or during catheterisation. Once the bladder ruptures, urine leaks into the abdomen (uroabdomen) resulting in uremic poisoning, a life-threatening condition due to a dangerous build-up nitrogenous of toxins in the bloodstream.
Any cat who has had a serious trauma should be evaluated for a ruptured bladder, especially where a pelvic fracture has occurred. Obviously, a traumatic injury will cause a bladder that ruptures quickly, however, if a urinary blockage is a cause, there may have been symptoms of a urinary prior to the bladder rupturing. These would include:
- Straining to urinate
- Frequent trips to the litter tray
- Blood in the urine
- Abdominal pain
Presenting symptoms relate to uremic poisoning and may include:
Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination of your cat and obtain a medical history from you. If he has been involved in a trauma, they will assess him for a broken pelvis and a ruptured bladder, both of which are common injuries.
- Abdominal x-rays and ultrasound will be taken to evaluate the pelvis and bladder.
- Bloodwork to evaluate for elevated BUN (blood urea nitrogen), creatinine and potassium levels.
- Urinalysis to evaluate for blood in the urine (hematuria).
It will be necessary to stabilise the cat to prepare him for surgery. This will include:
- Intravenous fluids to correct electrolyte imbalances, azotemia (high levels of nitrogen-containing compounds in the blood), and cardiac arrhythmias due to high blood potassium levels.
Repairing the bladder:
- Drain any urine remaining in the bladder or abdomen.
- Surgical repair of the bladder.