Always Remember!:  Tenesmus vs. Dysuria

Constipation is the infrequent or difficult passage of feces, often accompanied by the clinical sign of tenesmus, or straining to defecate.  However, when Eric sits in the litter box and "strains" (according to the owner), the distinction must be made as to whether Eric is straining to defecate or straining to urinate.

Dysuria is painful or difficult urination and may be seen as the result of any disease of the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra) or lower genital tract (prostate and vagina) that results in mucosal irritation or inflammation.  One common cause of dysuria and lower urinary tract disease in male cats is urethral obstruction.  Any such blockages that persist for more than 24 hours result in postrenal azotemia; increased back-pressure impairs glomerular filtration, renal blood flow, and, ultimately, tubular function.  Thus, urethral obstruction is a medical emergency and should be treated as such.  Therefore, it is extremely important that the distinction between the clinical signs of tenesmus and dysuria be made immediately.

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VHUP Department of Clinical Studies
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