Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care – Most Recent



To investigate the influence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the incidence of urethral obstruction (UO) in male cats.


Retrospective study.


One veterinary university teaching hospital and 6 private practice veterinary specialty and emergency centers.


A total of 24,937 total feline cases presenting to the emergency room (ER) between March 2019 and March 2021.

Measurements and Main Results

Out of 24,937 total cases, 1793 male cats met the inclusion criteria for diagnosis of UO. Of those, 327 cases were identified in which an additional diagnosis of either urolithiasis or neoplasia was made and were therefore excluded. The remaining 1466 UO cases were presumed to be idiopathic urethral obstruction (iUO) caused by feline interstitial cystitis (FIC) alone. Of those, 637 cats presented during the prepandemic year and 829 cats presented during the pandemic year.

Key Findings

Incidence of presumptive iUO increased by 30% during the COVID-19 pandemic. Total feline emergency caseload increased by 38%. iUO accounted for 6.08% and 5.73% of total feline emergency cases during the prepandemic and pandemic years, respectively.

Clinical Significance

The reported increase in incidence of feline UO is likely due to the increase in overall emergency feline caseload.

Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, EarlyView.Wiley-Online-Library: Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care: Table of Contents

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