Bladder stones are common in cats, especially neutered male cats with Burmese, Persian, and Himalayan heritage. Stones can be made up of a wide variety of materials, including struvite, calcium oxalate, urate, and calcium phosphate. Struvite, the most common type of stone, is encountered more frequently. Calcium oxalate comes in at a distant second. Other types of stones are fairly uncommon.
If you have a cat, you always have to be on the lookout for signs of bladder stones. They can cause an obstruction, which may require surgery and can prove fatal in rare cases. Familiarize yourself with the warning signs and learn when you need to take your pet to the veterinarian.
Cats are private creatures, so it can be difficult to know if they're having difficulty urinating. However, some symptoms are easier to spot and don't require you to spy on your cat when they're doing their business. Watch out for the following symptoms:
- Frequent urination
- No urination
- Urine spraying
- Urinating in new places
- Blood in the urine
- Urinary tract infection
- Genital licking
Keep in mind that some cats have little to no symptoms. For this reason, you have to remain vigilant and observant when it comes to your cat's health.
In many cases, struvite stones can be treated with simple diet modifications. In addition to giving your cat more wet food and trying to increase their water intake, your vet may prescribe a special diet that will make your cat's urine more acidic. You may also be instructed to give your cat small, frequent meals. The goal is to raise the acidity in the bladder so that the stones dissolve. Blockages and other types of stones are always taken care of surgically.
As mentioned, bladder stones can be deadly, so you have to know when you should merely make an appointment for your cat and when they need medical attention. Blockages, more common in male cats, always require emergency medical attention. If your cat is passing blood or acting strangely, you should go to the animal hospital. However, if your pet seems comfortable, and is eating, drinking, and urinating, you can make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Bladder stones are fairly common, so you should be familiar with the signs and symptoms associated with them. If you suspect that your cat has a mild case of bladder stones, call your vet. If your cat is experiencing pain or having other worrisome symptoms, go to the emergency veterinarian.