Contributors: William Brewer Jr, Irene Rochlitz

 Species: Feline   |   Classification: Diseases

Introduction Pathogenesis Diagnosis Treatment Outcomes Further Reading


  • Rare.
  • Signs: urinary frequency/mild incontinence to severe urinary retention.
  • Diagnosis: difficult to detect radiographically.
  • Treatment: most are not treatable (except distal urethra in male: amputation and urethrostomy).

Presenting Signs

  • Chronic dysuria.
  • Occasionally signs of uremia Uremia.

Age Predisposition

  • >8 years old.

Special Risks



  • Unknown.


  • Weeks to months.


Presenting Problems

Client History

  • Mild incontinence.
  • Urinary frequency to severe retention.
  • Stanguria.

Clinical Signs

  • Distended bladder if obstructed.
  • May be pain on abdominal palpation.

Diagnostic Investigation

Contrast radiography

  • Positive contrast urethrogram if catheterization possible.
  • Positive contrast vaginogram or excretory radiography may allow urethral visualization if catheterization not possible.




  • Surgical or catheter biopsy.

Histopathology Findings

Differential Diagnosis

  • Granulomatous urethritis.


Initial Symptomatic Treatment

  • Little information on treatment in cats.
  • Preliminary studies suggest a partial response may be seen with piroxicam Piroxicam.
  • Palliative antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Standard Treatment

  • Most tumors are not amenable to therapy.
  • Distal urethral tumors of male: amputation Penis: amputation and urethrostomy Urethrostomy.
  • Tube cystotomy to relieve obstruction (ethically questionable).



  • Poor for most tumors in female.
  • Reasonable for distal urethral tumors in male following surgery.

Expected Response to Treatment

Reasons for Treatment Failure

Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Léveillé R (1998) Ultrasonography of urinary bladder disorders. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 28 (4), 799-821 PubMed.
  • Buffington C A, Chew D J, Kendall M S et al (1997) Clinical evaluation of cats with nonobstructive urinary tract diseases. JAVMA 210 (1), 46-50 PubMed.
  • Swalec K M, Smeak D D, Baker A L (1989) Urethral leiomyoma in a cat. JAVMA 195 (7), 961-962 PubMed.
  • Barrett R E, Nobel T A (1976) Transitional cell carcinoma of the urethra in a cat. Cornell Vet 66 (1), 14-26 PubMed.

Other Sources of Information