Just as humans can have problems with the formation of stones in the urinary tract, the same is true of your feline friend. While these stones, which are referred to as uroliths or calculi, can be found anywhere in the urinary tract or the kidneys, they are most commonly found inside the bladder.
What Causes Feline Urinary Stones to Occur
Feline urinary stones are formed when the urine becomes overly formed with certain types of minerals. There are a number of different factors that can cause the oversaturation to occur. For example, your cat may experience changes in pH level, certain minerals may become more concentrated in the urine or certain stimulators and inhibitors may become present in the urine. Some things that can cause these factors to develop include:
o Changes in diet
o Changes in water intake
o Certain metabolic diseases
o Congenital problems
o Bacterial infections
How to Recognize Feline Urinary Stones
The symptoms associated with feline urinary stones are fairly easy to recognize. These include:
o Frequent urination
o Difficulty with urination
o Urination inappropriate places
o Blood in the urine
o Back pain
o Abdominal pain
o Abnormal odor in the urine
Unfortunately, many pets do not show any symptoms at all. In these cases, it may be quite difficult to realize your pet has a problem.
How to Diagnose Feline Urinary Stones
If you suspect your kitty may be suffering from stones, it is important to see the veterinarian as soon as possible. When you visit the vet, he or she will run a number of different tests to determine whether or not your cat is suffering from urinary stones. Some of these tests include:
o Performing a medical history as well as a physical examination of the abdomen
o Evaluation of the urine
o Abdominal x-rays
o Blood tests
o Abdominal ultrasounds
o Contrast dye x-rays
How to Treat Feline Urinary Stones
If your veterinarian confirms that your cat is suffering from urinary stones, there are several different treatment options that he or she may may pursue. Some of these include:
o Antibiotics to treat any bacterial infections that may have developed
o Removing the stones through diet changes or surgery
o Medication, which will need to be given to your cat over a period of time
You can also help your cat pass the stones by making certain it has regular access to fresh, clean water. In order to make sure your kitty has returned to good health, it is important to take your cat to the vet for a follow-up visit about 5 to 7 days after treatment started. This way, new urine cultures can be taken and your vet can check to see whether or not the treatment program has been a success.
Although most stones are difficult to prevent, you can help reduce your cat's risk of developing urinary stones by making certain to always provide it with fresh, clean water and encouraging it to drink on a regular basis. In addition, it is important for you to keep a close eye on your pet's habits. This way, when you notice a change that may be consistent with urinary stones or other disorders, you can take your feline friend to the vet as soon as possible.