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Bladder Stones in Cats

Bladder Stones in Cats

Our feline friends can experience a variety of uncomfortable ailments, bladder stones are one condition that is seen quite often. Our Bakersfield vets talk about the types, causes, symptoms and treatments for bladder stones in cats.

What causes bladder stones in cats?

Bladder stones are formed when large amounts of minerals in your cat's urine bond together with other substances that can be found in the bladder. There are many reasons why this process can begin and bladder stones may form, including:

  • Poor diet
  • Dehydration
  • Bladder or urinary tract infection
  • Bladder inflammation caused by crystals
  • Unbalanced urine pH levels (too alkaline or acidic)
  • Breed predisposition
  • Congenital portosystemic shunts (liver shunt)
  • Medications or supplements

There is a chance that cats that are male and are overweight or suffering from obesity may have an increased risk of forming bladder stones. 

Are there different types of bladder stones in cats?

There are multiple types of bladder stones that a cat can experience, the two most common types are calcium oxalate and struvite stones.

Calcium Oxalate Stones

Calcium oxalate stones form in cats that are experiencing urine with high acidity levels as well as being more common in cats with high urine and blood calcium levels and in cats suffering from chronic kidney disease.

Frequently, calcium oxalate bladder stones are diagnosed in cats that are between the ages of 5 and 14 years old. 

Struvite stones

Struvite stones are commonly seen in cats with highly alkaline urine. This could potentially be caused by a urinary tract infection but this is not a guaranteed cause. Cats that experience this type of bladder stone are known to consume high amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, chloride and fiber.

There is also potential for Struvite bladder stones to be more common through genetic predisposition since Siamese cats appear to be more susceptible to developing struvite stones.

What are the signs of bladder stones in cats?

Symptoms of bladder stones and symptoms of bladder infections are similar in cats, this is due to both conditions causing irritation within the bladder due to the stones. some of the symptoms you may notice if your cat is experiencing bladder stones might be:

  • Frequent urination in small amounts 
  • Blood in urine
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Urinating outside the litter box
  • Straining to urinate without producing urine
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy

If your cat is suffering from bladder stones it could lead to a urinary obstruction which is considered a medical emergency!  During a urinary obstruction, your cat's urethra becomes blocked with a bladder stone and your cat will not be able to pass urine. Some common signs of urinary obstruction include: 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Repeated trips to the litter box
  • Verbally expressed discomfort while in the litter box
  • Straining to urinate without producing urine
If you become aware of any signs of a urinary obstruction visit your nearest emergency animal hospital for urgent care immediately. 

How are bladder stones in cats treated?

Your vet will determine treatment for your cat's bladder stones depending on the type of bladder stones that your feline friend is experiencing. Depending on the type of bladder stone the treatment may as simple as a specialized diet and medications to help dissolve the stones

Calcium oxalate stones are usually resolved with cystotomy surgery to open the bladder and remove the stones as this type cannot be dissolved. 

Can bladder stones be prevented?

There are some things you can do in order to help reduce the risk of your cat developing bladder stones. Some ways to help protect them are:

  • Feed your cat wet food as most cats struggle to stay hydrated. Adequate hydration can help to flush the bladder and prevent a buildup.
  • Your vet can recommend a specialized diet to help minimize your cat's likelihood of developing crystals that could lead to bladder stones.
  • Ensure that your cat always has easy access to fresh clean water.
  • Provide your cat with many options for exercise
  • Keeping your cats litter box clean so that they do not hold in their urine

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat is experiencing symptoms of bladder infection or bladder stones Contact our Bakersfield Vets to schedule an examination.

If they are showing signs of a urinary obstruction contact the nearest animal emergency hospital for urgent emergency care.

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(661) 398-7121