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Associations between increased body condition score, bodyweight, age and breed with urethral obstruction in male castrated cats

Jukes, A., Lui, M., Morton, J.M., Marshall, R., Yeow, N., Gunew, M.
The veterinary journal 2019 v.244 pp. 7-12
body condition, body weight, case-control studies, castration, cats, disease prevention, males, pedigree, pet ownership, pets, risk factors, veterinary clinics
Identifying potential risk factors for urethral obstruction in male cats may help in disease prevention. The aims of this study were to assess whether breed, pedigree status, age, bodyweight and body condition score (BCS) are risk factors for urethral obstruction in castrated male cats using a primary care population. Within this, a specific question was whether any increase in rate of urethral obstruction in male cats due to excess body condition is because of higher bodyweight. A retrospective hospital-based matched case-control study was performed using 195 cases of urethral obstruction in castrated male cats and 195 control consultations for cats presenting to a feline-only first opinion veterinary practice in Brisbane, Australia.The incidence rate of urethral obstruction did not vary significantly with bodyweight but increased with BCS (incidence rate ratio 1.6; 95% CI 1.2–2.1; P<0.001). The effect of BCS was not due to high BCS cats having higher bodyweights. The incidence was lower in Burmese cats compared to Domestic shorthair cats (incidence rate ratio 0.1; 95% CI 0.0–0.4; P=0.001), and higher in non-pedigree cats compared to pedigree cats (incidence rate ratio 2.8; 95% CI 1.7–4.6; P<0.001). Incidence rate ratios increased with age to 2 to 4years (the ages with highest incidences) then progressively declined with each additional year of age. Further research is needed to define why there is a positive association between BCS and rate of urethral obstruction. In the interim, clinicians should encourage owners of castrated male pet cats to ensure their cat’s BCS is not high.