Bladder stones in cats can result in severe disease, infection, and if the blockage is total, even the death of your cat.
Depending on the type of bladder stones or crystals that your cat has developed, they will definitely have to be placed on a diet.
Because of the severity of this condition, any diet and treatment should be thoroughly discussed with your veterinarian.
Using the wrong type of diet will not only magnify this condition; it can actually increase your cat’s chances of developing either stone or crystal formations.
The term, bladder stones in cats, is quite misleading as the problems they cause are not always from what would be considered a stone, as it could also come in the form of crystals.
Some cats will develop extremely small microscopic crystals in their urine, while other may develop much larger growths that are referred to as stones.
Crystals may or may not be associated with urinary tract infections, but they are still very dangerous.
They are almost like a very fine form of sand, and they can seriously irritate your cat’s bladder.
In male cats these crystals can very easily plug the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from your cats bladder through the penis, and then to the outside of their body.
Although these are much different than stones, it is still a life threatening situation as your cat will not be able to urinate.
The larger stones are referred to as urinary calculi, and this condition is called urolithiasis.
These stones can form anywhere in your cats urinary tract, as they can found in the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or the urethra.
This is where bladder stones in cats can become very challenging for an owner, as there are several distinctive signs you cat may show you, but that key words are may show you.
It is estimated that in over 50 percent of the cases, cats will demonstrate no signs or symptoms and they are only discovered during a routine examination.
If your cat does show signs, the first sign that you will see is a gradual but building of frequent urination.
As this builds, you may also start to see small indications of blood in the urine.
It is never normal to see blood in your cats urine, and this sign should be taken very seriously.
Other symptoms to watch for is a sudden straining while trying to urinate, as well as holding their body in the urinating position much longer than normal.
As their owner, only you will able to notice these subtle changes in habits.
However, if your cat starts to lick their genital area, this is not only a warning sign, but understanding this sign combined with any of the other small changes, may save their life.
Most cats will start to do this when they cannot urinate at all, which is now a life threatening emergency.
In understanding bladder stones in cats, it is very helpful to understand how they form, what kind of stones they are, but more importantly, how they can successfully be treated.
Contrary to a lot of misconception, there are actually three types of crystals or stones, not just two.
The types include Struvite, Oxalate, as well as Urate stones; however, the most common are Struvite and Oxalate.
It is also very interesting to note that though the late 1980’s the ratio of stone development was 75 percent Struvite as compared to only 2 percent Oxalate.
However, in the last few years this ratio has changed dramatically to 49 percent Struvite and 41 percent Oxalate.
Bladder stones in cats are formed by minerals, which in most all cases precipitate out of the urine as very small crystals.
Once this process occurs, additional precipitation starts to form on the stones surface where they can eventually grow to be as large as one inch in diameter.
However, with any type of crystal or stone that develops in your cat, they all have one thing in common; your cats diet.
The development of any type of stone also depends on two other factors; the urine pH as well as the concentration of minerals in your cat’s urine.
This form of bladder stones in cats is made up of magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate, and is usually formed in alkaline urine.
The major factors in your cat’s diet that contribute to this type of crystal or stone are urine pH and the amount of water they consume.
Commercial pet food has been radically modified in the last few years to minimize the chance of this occurring, which is the major reason for the shift in the ratio.
Most commercial food is now lower in magnesium, and as a result, the pH levels drop in your cat.
However, specialized diets are available through your veterinarian and they should be the only source to recommend which type of commercial food your cat is placed on.
Although this ratio has dropped in bladder stones in cats, this is still the most common type of crystals or stones that will develop in your cat.
Prior to the development of these specialized cat foods, Vitamin C was also given to help to lower the pH level.
This vitamin is still recommended by several in the medical community as part of the diet.
Urinary acidifies were also used, but it is extremely important that if you have your cat on a special diet to reduce acids, you should never, under any circumstances, use these in conjunction.
If the acid in your cats urine is reduced too much, it is just as serious and in some cases, could have catastrophic effects on your cat.
The way in which you feed your cat if they are on a specialized diet and prone to these types of stones, is also very important. However, the most important aspect is the amounts of water they receive.
You should always feed a cat prone to these stones in an ad libitum environment, meaning they can eat anytime they want to.
It is also extremely important to make sure you cat drinks enough water. The more water consumed, the lower the chances on developing these stones.
In conjunction with the importance of water, you may also need to switch to canned food or a liquid centric raw diet.
Cats on raw diets have a dramatically lower chance of developing these stones.
These forms of bladder stones in cats are much more likely to occur when the acidic urine in their blood has elevated amounts of calcium.
This is usually caused by excessive intakes of calcium, protein, sodium, or Vitamin D.
There are also some diseases such as cancer and Cushings disease that also cause these stones to develop.
However, these stones can also develop in some cats with normal calcium levels, although it is quite rare.
There are also specialized commercial diets that are formulated specifically to make your cats urine more alkaline.
Increased water consumption is also very important to help produce dilute urine, and urinary acidifies are also very dangerous if used in conjunction with these stones or crystals.
This form of bladder stones is legendary in Dalmatians, and although not nearly as common in cats, they can occur occasionally.
They occur in acidic urine but are commonly associated with liver disorders and some metabolic disease.
Because they are not nearly as common, there is no specialized commercial diet available.
Bladder stones in cats can be a very serious situation if they cause any type of major obstruction.
Once your cat has developed them, there are several treatments options, but the most severe of cases will require surgery to effectively remove them.
Specialized diets can dissolve them in some cases, but the key is to prevent them.
If your cat is prone to developing these dangerous mineral growths, moist diets and raw diets with a plentiful and fresh water supply is the most effective defense.