Risks, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Bladder stones, also known as uroliths, are a common health issue in cats. These stones are hard collections of minerals that form in the urinary bladder. This article will explore the risks, symptoms, causes, at-home therapies, and veterinary treatments for bladder stones in cats.
Cats of any age, breed, or gender can develop bladder stones. However, some factors may increase a cat’s risk. These include urinary tract infections, certain dietary factors, and changes in urine pH. Cats that are dehydrated or consume a diet high in minerals such as magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate are at a higher risk of developing bladder stones1.
Symptoms of Bladder Stones
Cats may exhibit various symptoms, including frequent urination, blood in the urine, and painful urination. They may also urinate in unusual places, have a distended abdomen, or show signs of discomfort. In severe cases, if the urethra is blocked, it can be a life-threatening emergency requiring immediate veterinary attention.
Bladder stones in cats form when minerals in the urine crystallize. This can occur if the urine is too concentrated (dehydrated cat) or if the bladder environment is conducive to crystal formation. The two most common types of bladder stones are struvite and calcium oxalate stones. Struvite stones often form in conjunction with urinary tract infections, while the exact cause of calcium oxalate stones is not well understood.
At-Home Therapy & Treatment for Bladder Stones
Dietary management is a crucial part of treatment and prevention. Feeding your cat a diet that promotes a neutral to slightly acidic urine pH can help dissolve struvite stones and prevent them from recurring. Increasing your cat’s water intake can also help, as it leads to more dilute urine and reduces the risk of crystal formation.
Veterinary Treatments for Bladder Stones
Veterinary treatment for bladder stones in cats depends on the stone’s size, type, and location. Small stones may be dissolved using a special diet or medications. However, larger stones or those causing severe symptoms may require surgical removal. In some cases, veterinarians may use a technique called urohydropropulsion to flush small stones out of the bladder.
Bladder stones in cats are a significant health concern that requires prompt attention. With appropriate treatment and dietary management, most cats with bladder stones can enjoy a good quality of life.
For more information, please refer to these resources:
- Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease – Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
- [Urolithiasis in Small Animals – MSD Veterinary Manual](https://www.msdvetmanual.com/urinary-system/urolithiasis-in