Tag Archives: Cat

Keeping your pets safe this Summer – Blocked Cats the Medical Emergency

A cat that cannot urinate is a medical emergency. This can be life threatening in a short time!
We often take calls from owners who think their cat is constipated and it turns out they are actually trying to urinate but they have a blockage preventing urine from being passed.
Cats have two kidneys that filter their blood and remove the waste products from the blood into the urine. The urine flows down tubes called ureters from the kidneys to the bladder. It is then excreted from the body through a tube called the urethra which connects the bladder to the penis where it is expelled out of the body. A ‘blocked cat’ is one where the urethra is blocked which prevents the urine from being passed.
Male cats are most at risk of this because of their anatomy. The urethra runs from the bladder through the penis but there is a bend in the urethra and it becomes narrower at the bend. The blockage is often comprised of protein, cells and crystals or stones.
Male cats that are overweight, confined indoors, don’t consume enough water or are fed dry food only are at greater risk of becoming blocked.
Signs to look for: straining to urinate, vocalizing when trying to urinate, frequent visits to the litter tray but not passing more than a few drops, discoloured urine. As the condition progresses the cat may move restlessly or hide because of the discomfort and eventually lose their appetite and become lethargic.
If you see your cat straining to urinate, seek veterinary help immediately.

Pet Insurance

(This post is archived on our website at https://www.hallvet.com.au/about/pet-insurance/)

Some perspective…

According to the Australian Companion Animal Council,

  • vet fees only account for about 1/4 of the cost of your pet,
  • about 1/3 is spent on other services (toys, kennels, grooming, holiday accommodation etc) and
  • the rest – nearly 1/2 – is spent on food.

Big Bills

But there are times when vet bills loom large because of accident or illness. In the last four years at Hall Veterinary Surgery, about 90% of invoices over $1000 were for dogs. They included conditions as diverse as dog-fight injuries, pancreatitis, surgery for cancers, blocked waterworks, broken bones or cruciate ligaments, snake bite, heart failure, car accidents, tick paralysis, vomiting, diarrhoea, and chemotherapy for cancer.
Big bills hit young pets as well as old.


If unexpected vet bills would blow your budget, you could try one of these strategies to minimise the fallout:

  1. Pet insurance costs range from about $18/month (cats, accident only) or $33/month (dog, accident only) up to $65/month (dog select breed, accident/illness.
    Depending on pre-existing conditions and payout limits, pet insurance will reduce the impact of most big bills. Some plans work on a co-payment system, which reduce the premium if you pay 20% or more of any bill.
    Most insurance companies reimburse you after you’ve paid the vet.
  2. A low-fee credit card kept for emergencies only.
  3. Self-insure by putting a monthly contribution into an interest-bearing account. This is the most cost-effective method for small costs; you don’t have to worry about pre-existing conditions and you can economise on multiple pets -as long as they don’t all get sick at the same time. You can also budget for costs that aren’t covered by the pet insurance companies. These include vaccinations, worming, flea and tick protection and wellness programmes. The average monthly costs below will give you an idea of what to put aside. If a big cost comes up before you’ve accumulated enough you’ll still have to bridge the gap.

Total Spend

The table below shows amounts carers spent on individual pets over the last four years. It breaks this down to the average monthly cost of vet care and the percentage of dogs and cats in that spend category. This is the average per pet for all products and services offered at Hall Vet Surgery, including flea and tick products, prescription diets, dental work, big surgeries, cancer treatment, desexing and vaccinations.

Total spent over 4 Years Ave per Month Dogs Cats
$500 $10 54% 38%
$1,000 $21 28% 17%
$2,000 $43 9% 4%
$5,000 $104 1% 0.4%
$10,000 $208 0.1%

So you can think of the percentages as indicative of the chance that your pet will cost at least that much in vet bills. eg if you own a cat, there’s a 1:250 chance your cat might total $5,000, or a 1:10 chance that your dog might cost over $2,000 over four years.

Pet insurance is more cost-effective if your pet is unlucky enough to have a bad accident or becomes ill. But you have to have your pet insured before it happens!

Cat Care Information Evening

You are invited to Hall Veterinary Surgery’s

Cat Care
Information Evening

On Wednesday 21st September, 2011, 7pm

at Hall Pavilion

Gladstone Street, Hall ACT

Learn why your cats behave (or misbehave) the way they do, how to care for your older cat and why regular checkups are vital to cats’ health and comfort. Win heaps of prizes and join us for supper.

Entry is FREE but you MUST R.S.V.P. by 14th September, 2011

Phone 62302223, or talk to one of our Receptionists




Mojo is very popular with us all at Hall Vet Surgery, and of course much loved by his family. Two weeks ago he disappeared for a night and when he came home couldn’t get interested in his food – very unusual for MoJo and most distressing for all his fans!
When we saw him we found a few scabs on his head, presumed he’d been in a brawl and sent him home with antibiotics.
Although we noticed a heart murmur we didn’t take much notice of it because many cats have murmurs and never show signs of them.
Next day his owner searched the house for him. She found him hiding in a cupboard and still not the slightest bit interested in breakfast. His breathing seemed a little laboured so we took an X ray of his chest. His heart was hidden by fluid around the lungs.
We drained the fluid and he was much happier. It was clear fluid, possibly as a result of his heart murmur. An ultrasound confirmed that he has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and that his heart is failing to pump efficiently.
Just as we thought we could let him go home on fluid removal medication he started limping on a front leg.
Cats with heart failure sometimes throw clots into the bloodstream which end up blocking vital arteries. Poor Mojo had a clot in the artery to his front leg. Fortunately it must have been a small one because with heparin therapy it dissolved and Mojo is on aspirin to prevent more clots forming.
Signs of heart failure are rare in cats even when they have murmurs we can easily hear with a stethoscope. When the blood is so turbulent that it causes clots the outlook can be very poor because clots are so hard to prevent.
Mojo is stable for the moment, enjoying his meals and spending a lot of time on his owner’s lap. Regular checks of his chest and blood pressure should help keep him feeling good and his fans happy for a long while yet.