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Guide to Bladder Stones In Cats

Uroliths (also called “Urocystoliths”) or bladder stones in cats refers to the condition “urolithiasis”. Cats with bladder stones develop “Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease” (FLUTD); which may be characterized by difficult urination, blood in the urine and reduced volumes of urine passed. The specific symptoms depend on the nature of the bladder stones. Calcium Oxalate stones are the most common type of bladder stones found in cats. Along with primary signs, stress, anorexia, abdominal pain and failure of litter box training are notable. Diagnosis is based upon the clinical manifestations, detailed urinalysis and radiographs (x-rays). Surgical removal is the most convenient way to treat, while managing the cat’s diet can help in preventing recurrence."

Overview

Stones, which are found in the bladder, are more commonly found in the lower urinary tract; which not only causes partial or complete obstruction in the tract, but also may cause Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), and intractable (difficult to cure) bacterial infection.

Calcium Oxalate Stones are the primary type of bladder stones, particularly in cats. These may range at least 3 mm in size and are irregular shaped in most cases, thus causing injury to the urinary walls and leading to a diseased condition. Bacterial infections are dependent upon the degree of damage a bladder stone causes to the walls of the urinary tract.

Signs and Symptoms

Cats with feline bladder stones appear to have rough coats due to a lack of self-grooming since they are often too stressed to take part in their usual activities. These cats pass  low volumes of urine which can contain blood and puss which are signs of infection in the urinary tract.

The cat may urinate in unusual places, and may ignore general commands.

Clinically, cats may show signs of severe pain and strain, while urinating. Abdominal pain can be noticed on palpation (when feeling a cat's stomach). Note that and care should be taken while palpating the abdomen; as cats may react aggressively.

In severe cases,cats with bladder stones and bladder infection may show signs of generalized illness such as fever.

The clinical signs and behavior may help in suspecting bladder stones in cats, but it is never possible clinically to differentiate a case of bladder stones with that of FLUTD. Laboratory examinations, urinalysis; which involve detailed study of urine samples for different contents, i.e. pH, nature, red blood cell and/or white blood cell  presence, and the presence of crystals or minerals.

Radiographs (x-rays) of the lower abdomen, emphasizing the urinary bladder can help in diagnosing either the type of stones, crystals or the mass in it. Radiographs can also help in deciding if a surgical option is necessary to physically remove the feline bladder stones.

Supplying large volumes of clean and hygienic water to drink, and feeding the cat a low protein food with magnesium in it; is a helpful way to resolve mild cases. Magnesium can act as an inhibitor for calcium oxalate stone accumulation in the bladder.

In advanced cases, surgical removal of the bladder stones cat is the only effective option. The procedure, called a Cystotomy, can be conducted in this regard, through which complete removal of the bladder stones is possible. Post surgical administration involves extreme care as required . Surgical removal does not ensure the prevention of bladder stone recurrence, due to some breeds and aged cats being predisposed to the problem.

Prevention of Feline Bladder Stones

Prevention can only be done by lifelong care in avoiding high proteins, minerals, vitamins C, and D in cat foods. Recovered cats should given large amounts of hygienic, clean water to drink continuously.

Homeopathic (natural) remedies as part of the diet may also help prevent future urinary tract infections and other bladder related problesms.  Products such as UTI-Free Formula contain combinations of natural herbs that are known to support the body's own ability to fight infection.  

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References:

The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health

 

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