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Pets and Vets: Relatively new veterinary technique saves cat from kidney failure

'Oki' is now back home with her owners—two UC-Davis veterinarians.
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Mar 01, 2014
By dvm360.com staff

Oki, an 8-year-old Burmese cat, wasn't acting like herself. She was normally very social and liked to perch on the shoulders of her owners—both University of California-Davis veterinarians. She began having difficulty passing urine so they brought her to the UC-Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital's Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care Service. Oki was diagnosed with kidney failure and an obstruction in her right ureter from a birth defect.


Apparently, one of Oki’s favorite spots is atop the shoulders of one of her owners, UC-Davis’ Karl Jandrey, DVM, MAS, assistant professor of clinical surgical and radiological sciences. (PHOTO COURTESY OF UC-DAVIS)
Oki spent four days in the intensive care unit while being treated with medications. Although she was able to return home, her ureteral obstruction remained. Seven months later, Oki's condition worsened. She returned to the ICU. After a week, her condition stabilized with medications, but the emergency specialists knew that the obstruction was causing kidney failure and something more needed to be done.

It was decided that Oki should undergo surgery with the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital's Soft Tissue Surgery Service to have the obstruction relieved. Due to the type of obstruction, a technique known as a "subcutaneous ureteral bypass" was chosen. The procedure creates a new "ureter" out of specialized tubing that connects the kidney to the bladder, resulting in the bypassing of the native ureter.

Oki's condition has steadily improved since the procedure. Her blood work is now normal, and she is feeling like herself again. With the success of Oki's case, the doctors at UC-Davis feel that although this is a relatively new technique, there is tremendous promise for the use of this treatment in cats with ureter issues.