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Cat Bladder Stones Flushing or Surgery
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Cat Bladder Stones Flushing or Surgery

Upon taking my cat to the vet it was diagnosed (by body pulsing and observing) that he had a urethral blockage causing him to not be able to pee.  The vet gave me an estimate of $2,400 - $2,900 for the procedure.  I asked when she would do the surgery and she said it was not surgery, but rather flushing the cats bladder causing the blockage to be pushed out.  The cost included other necessary items including hospital stay (3-4 days) and an XRay. She said this would "fix him". Day 2 in the hospital the vet says that the Xray shows that his blockage was Bladder Stones and that they must be removed surgically at an additional cost of about $2,500.  Together - that's more than my C-Section at a Nicu 5 Hospital.  Why on earth would a hospital not take advantage of this wonder Xray techology we have and make a proper diagnosis the first time?  Now I am to flip the bill - or let my cat suffer - if I don't pay.  Veterinary Malpractice?
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Hi CherylAnn...its very unfortunate that your kitty has developed bladder stones.  Sadly, we see this too often in our feline friends.

I am not sure what you mean by "body pulsing", but it is not uncommon for cats (especially males) to be blocked by stones in the urethra.  Sometimes, flushing the urethra and can help free the blockage, thus "fixing him".  BUT, if there are stones in the urethra, it is common to find stones in the bladder as well.  Your veterinarian was probably describing a procedure where a catheter is inserted into the urethra and then sterile saline is gently "retro-pulsed" back into the urethra in an attempt to drive the stone back into the bladder.  Then, depending on the type of stone, dietary modifications can help to dissolve it.  Xrays would be taken in any case of stones only in the urethra or stones in the bladder.  It sounds like the bladder stones are an ADDITIONAL finding beyond the blockage in the urethra.

We obviously can't see what is on your cat's xray, but your veterinarian seems concerned enough about either the size or number of stones that she is recommending a cystotomy to remove them.  I can't really address the cost factors as different veterinarians have differing price structures depending on their location, equipment, personnel, and style of practice.  What I can tell you is that if you paid less than $5000 for your C-section without insurance, you are a very lucky person!   My wife's C-section and 3 day hospital stay still end up costing us in excess of $10,000 even after the insurance paid their portion.  Remember...with veterinarians, you see the total cost because insurance is not usually a factor.

I don't think this is Veterinary Malpractice.   I think you and your veterinarian simply need to sit down and discuss options for helping out your cat.   Programs like CareCredit and Chase Health Advantage are available to help you stretch out payments and some people keep a credit card clear for emergencies like this one.  But please don't delay...this is a very serious situation for you and your kitty.

You can get some more professional advice and information by posting your question at the expert Ask A Vet forum here at MedHelp.

Good luck and please let us know how things turn out...
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Hi, just wanted to throw in my two cents!  I'm not a vet, but have had cats that have had stones before.  My vet never mentioned anything about "flushing the stones back up into the bladder".  This makes no sense to me, and it does not sound like it's worth the money.  Think about this....If you are flushing the stones back into the bladder, then there would be a chance that the crystals will get stuck AGAIN in the urethra!!  

Another procedure that I've heard about is to remove the penis.  That's usually where the urethra is the most narrow and is where the crystals cause a blockage.  When the penis is removed, this "widens" the urethra and prevents a blockage from happening again.  This is the best way to spend money for surgery for your baby.  This is a more permanent solution.  Please ask the vet about this!!  I don't understand why she wouldn't suggest this!

Please come back with an update!!  I wish you and kitty the best!

ZQ
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