Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Urinary tract obstruction

Synonym(s): Urinary blockage

Contributor(s): Narelle Walter, Richard Saunders, Sarah Pellett

Introduction

  • Complete urinary tract obstruction is uncommon in the rabbit, especially the female.
  • Incomplete blockage through deposition of sediment is more common.
  • Other causes of urethral obstructions include strictures, inflammation or neoplasia.
  • Cause: high calcium diet, catheterization, urolithiasis, trauma.
  • Signs: self-trauma, tense abdomen, enlarged bladder, straining/pain on bladder palpation, bladder may have a granular feel on palpation.
  • Diagnosis: radiography, ultrasonography, urinalysis.
  • Treatment: antibiotics, NSAIDs, analgesia, cystocentesis, bladder lavage, diuresis, surgery.
  • Prognosis: reasonable although reoccurrence possible; guarded for advanced cases, unless surgical removal performed.

Presenting signs

  • Stranguria, either with complete absence of passage of urine, or only very small quantities.

Acute presentation

  • Absence of urine production, especially following straining to do so.

Geographic incidence

  • None known.

Age predisposition

  • Adults are more commonly affected.

Sex predisposition

  • Males are more commonly and seriously affected by lower urinary tract blockages.
  • In males, calculi are most commonly found at the distal urethral opening.

Breed predisposition

  • None noted.

Public health considerations

  • None.

Cost considerations

  • Urinary tract obstruction if not causing complete cessation of urine output, may be treated medically with pain relief (plus or minus urolith retropulsion). There are no effective urolith dissolution diets for rabbits. This can be a relatively inexpensive treatment although repeat obstruction may be possible.
  • Complete obstruction is an emergency requiring urgent intervention, including sedation Sedation or anesthesia Anesthesia: overview, and possible surgical treatment, with moderate costs.

Special risks

  • The use of ketamine Ketamine should be considered with caution in animals with complete urinary tract obstruction due to renal clearance.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Sequelae

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Duhamelle A, Tessier E & Larrat S (2017) Ureteral stenosis following ovariohysterectomy in a rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). J Exotic Pet Med 26 (2), 132-136 VetMedResource.
  • De Cubellis J (2016) Common emergencies in rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas.  Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 19 (2), 411-429 PubMed.
  • Huynh M, Boyeaux A & Pignon C (2016) Assessment and care of the critically ill rabbit. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 19 (2), 379-409 PubMed.
  • Clauss M, Burger B, Liesegang A et al (2012) Influence of diet on calcium metabolism, tissue calcification and urinary sludge in rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl) 96 (5), 798-807 PubMed.
  • Martorell J, Bailon D, Majó N et al (2012) Lateral approach to nephrotomy in the management of unilateral renal calculi in a rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). J Am Vet Med Assoc 240 (7), 863-868 PubMed.
  • Capello V (2004) Diagnosis and treatment of urolithiasis in pet rabbits. Exotic DVM 6 (2), 15-22 VetMedResource.
  • Coke R (2002) Surgical removal of a urolith from a rabbit's distal urethra. Vet Med 97 (7), 514-518 VetMedResource.
  • Göbel T (2002) Transurethral uroendoscopy in the female rabbit. Exotic DVM 4 (5), 23-27 VetMedResource.
  • Porzio P, Pharr J W & Allen A L (2001) Excretory urography by intraosseous injection of contrast media in a rabbit model. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 42 (3), 238-243 PubMed.
  • White R N (2001) Management of calcium uretorolithiasis in a French Lop rabbitJSAP 42 (12), 595-598 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Keeble E & Benato L (2013) Urinary Tract Surgery. In: British Small Animal Veterinary Association Manual of Rabbit Surgery, Dentistry and Imaging. Eds: Harcourt-Brown F & Chitty J. BSAVA, UK. pp 190-211.
  • Pare J A & Paul-Murphy J (2004) Disorders of the Reproductive and Urinary Systems. In: Ferrets, Rabbits & Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. W B Saunders, USA. pp 183-193.
  • Harcourt-Brown F (2002) Urogenital diseases. In: Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. pp 335-351.


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