Feline Kidney Stones
"Feline kidney stones are formed in the urinary system when minerals combine to form a stone. The exact cause is not known. Symptoms include problems urinating. Treatment involves surgery and dietary change."
The formation of a kidney stone is much like the formation of a pearl inside an oyster. It forms from a single irritating particle called a nidus, which consists of a tiny particle such as a mineral crystal. Other minerals are deposited on its surface, and over time it grows larger and forms a stone. These stones can travel throughout the urinary system, through the ureters into the bladder and through the urethra and out of the body. Problems occur when they get stuck somewhere along the way.
When stones form in the kidneys, they often block the openings to the ureters. This causes a condition called hydronephrosis, in which the kidney becomes swollen with pressure from backed up urine. It can cause serious kidney damage and can be life-threatening if not treated in a timely manner.
Feline Kidney Stones SymptomsSymptoms of cat kidney stones include frequent urination, often in small amounts, and often in unusual places. Your cat may begin to urinate outside of the litter box. Other symptoms include dribbling urine, straining to e, and blood in the urine. Other symptoms include weakness, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, your cat may not be able to eat at all.
If your cat has kidney stones symptoms, she needs to see a vet. Kidney stones are a serious medical condition that requires prompt medical treatment.
Feline Kidney Stones DiagnosisIf cat kidney stones are suspected, your vet will take x-rays. The stones will usually show up white on the x-ray. Some kinds of stones don't show up on x-rays and can only be seen by ultrasound. Your vet will look for stones elsewhere in the urinary tract as well.
Your vet will also test your cat's urine to see if she has a bladder infection. Bladder infections are very common in pets with kidney stones.
Feline Kidney Stones TreatmentFeline kidney stones usually are removed surgically. In some cases, the kidney has been damaged to the point that it must be removed. Your cat can live with just one functioning kidney if this is the case.
Special diets can also be used to impact on stone formation. Diets that contain lower than usual amounts of protein, magnesium, and phosphorus are helpful because these are things that contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Recent studies suggest a canned diet since it has higher water content. If your cat will not eat canned food, then add water to dry food such as HILL's Prescription Diet Feline which is made for cats with kidney disease. Do not add too much water all at once since it might cause diarrhea.
If changing your cat's diet doesn't help, then a dietary supplement such as potassium citrate might be recommended by your veterinarian.
Sources:Canine and Feline Calcium Oxalate Urolithiasis in Dogs and Cats
University of California, Davis
School of Veterinary Medicine, Davis
Foster, Race DVM and Smith, Marty DVM
Holt, P. E.