Comparing Therapies to Treat Hyperkalemia (Elevated Potassium) in Feline Urethral Obstructions

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting cats recently diagnosed with urethral obstruction for a clinical research trial.  This trial is to compare two therapies used to treat hyperkalemia associated with feline urethral obstruction.

  • Inclusion Criteria: Any male cat presenting to the Emergency and Critical Care clinic and does not have other life threatening diseases.  The doctors will explain this to you.
  • Treatment: Participation in this study will be concurrent with your cats inpatient care to treat the obstruction. Your cat will have blood drawn to measure levels of electrolytes for the study analysis.  If your cat does not have severe hyperkalemia, then your cat will be randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatment groups (A, B or A+B).  Your cat will proceed to the unblocking procedure and will have repeat blood draws at 30 minutes and 60 minutes after completion of the procedure.   Your cat’s participation in the study will be complete after the 60 minute blood draw unless further monitoring is required.
  • Cost: The study will pay for the cost of the medications used in this study and the 2 post procedure blood draws to monitor the levels of electrolytes.  You will be charged for all other expenses related to treatment and  hospitalization.  These costs will be discussed with you prior to enrollment into the clinical trial.
  • Contact:  Contact the Emergency and Critical Care Specialty at the Small Animal Hospital 352-392-2235


Electrolyte abnormalities can occur with feline patients due to the obstruction of urine flow. Potassium is readily excreted in the urine, but with a urethral obstruction, our feline patients develop elevated potassium levels, known as hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia has a number of life-threatening effects such as arrhythmias and low heart rates with severity directly proportional to the degree of hyperkalemia. We are asking for your consent to enroll your cat in this study whose goal is to compare the efficacies of terbutaline and a combination of insulin & dextrose in treating cats for hyperkalemia.