Bladder Stones in Cats
Litter box challenges are not out of the ordinary for many cat parents. And while here at “I and love and you” we love to keep things light, the reality is that more serious ailments like bladder stones in cats are increasingly common and require some extra kitty TLC.
What Are Bladder Stones?
Bladder stones, sometimes referred to as “uroliths” or “cat bladder crystals”, are the stony collections of minerals, crystals, and organic material that collect in the bladder.
Most often, they occur as a result of some type of infection or underlying disease. They vary in shape and size, but the two most common types are: struvite and calcium oxalate stones. They can result in a blocked urethra, which can make urination difficult or darn near impossible for your furry friend.
Clinical Signs & Symptoms of Bladder Stones
Cats hold their cards close when it comes to feeling unwell. After all, showing vulnerability in the wild doesn’t work to their advantage. If you’re concerned about their urinary health, pay attention to behaviors and look out for these symptoms:
- Straining to urinate
- Frequent urination
- Genital licking
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Painful urination
- Chronic urinary tract infections
- Urinary tract obstruction (specifically in males)
- Urine spraying
- Crystals in cat urine
- Passing urine in unusual places
How Are Bladder Stones Treated
Your vet will be better able to give you a specific treatment plan, as it will vary depending on the type and size of stone, but most often treatments include:
- Shifting to a special diet to dissolve and prevent stones
- Increasing hydration
- Bladder flushing
- Lithotripsy (the destruction of stones via shock waves)
Alternatively, some vets may recommend surgery to better examine the stone(s), while others may encourage you to let cats pass smaller stones on their own. Female cats are historically more successful with this method.
How to Help Prevent Bladder Stones in Your Cat
Based on the diagnosis that your vet offers, you’ll be able to come up with a targeted preventative plan that will hopefully stave off your four-legged friend’s bladder stones for good!
Adhering to a modified diet may be recommended, and you may even be encouraged to get regular urinalysis, (sometimes as often as every 3 months) and radiographs of X-Rays, (approx. every 6-12 months).
We know that any sign of an ailment in your beloved pet can feel overwhelming. Especially if it’s the first time. But when difficulties arise, know that the team here at “I and love and you” is always striving to keep you knowledgeable and empowered to take on any health challenge! We purromise.