What Are The Clinical Signs Of Oxalate Bladder Stones
Bladder stones can cause significant inflammation and irritation of the bladder wall. Therefore, they cause signs similar to those of a urinary tract infection or any inflammatory bladder disease.
Signs may include frequent urination, straining to urinate, blood in the urine, and urinating outside of the litterbox. Some cats may also show nonspecific signs of discomfort, such as lethargy and decreased appetite.
“Signs may include frequent urination, straining to urinate, blood in the urine, and urinating outside of the litterbox.”
In some cats, small oxalate bladder stones may be asymptomatic. These stones may be detected as part of the workup of another condition.
Preventing Bladder Stones In Cats
After the diagnosis, youll have a better idea of whats been causing your cats bladder stones. With that knowledge, you can work to prevent them from returning. Provide constant access to fresh water, and consult your veterinarian about modifying your cats diet permanently.
Your veterinarian may recommend regular urinalysis to check for new stones, as often as every three months. Theyre also likely to recommend regular frequent radiographs of X-rays every 6 to 12 months. You may also consider encouraging your cat to exercise to prevent the formation of further stones.
What Is The Treatment For Oxalate Bladder Stones
Treatment of oxalate stones usually requires surgical removal, known as a cystotomy. This surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Your veterinarian will make an incision into your cats abdomen and then open the bladder to remove the stones. The stones are then sent to a laboratory to confirm their chemical composition. Cats typically are uncomfortable and have blood in their urine for several days after surgery they also must have their activity restricted for 1-2 weeks to allow their incision to heal.
“Treatment of oxalate stones usually requires surgical removal, known as a cystotomy.”
Less commonly, bladder stones may be removed via a process known as cystoscopy. This involves inserting a small camera into the bladder, with a basket or retrieval device that can be used to remove the stones. Other techniques have also been described to remove bladder stones, but they are less commonly utilized.
How Will My Veterinarian Diagnose Oxalate Bladder Stones
If your cat presents to the veterinarian for urinary signs, your veterinarian will first perform a urinalysis. This test involves obtaining a small sample of urine for biochemical analysis and examination under the microscope. If your cat has oxalate bladder stones, the urinalysis will likely show the presence of a low urine pH, red blood cells , white blood cells , and increased numbers of oxalate crystals in the urine.
Your veterinarian will also likely perform blood tests, including a complete blood cell count and serum biochemistry profile. These tests will assess your cats overall health and rule out other medical conditions that may be contributing to your cats urinary signs. Some cats with oxalate stones have high blood calcium levels, which can be detected on bloodwork.
Finally, your veterinarian will likely recommend abdominal radiographs . Many types of bladder stones, including oxalate bladder stones, are visible on radiographs. Oxalate stones often have a spiculated appearance within the bladder, similar to a sandspur . Ultrasound may also be used for imaging.
Are Bladder Stones Dangerous For Cats
Bladder stones can create infections just as infections can create bladder stones. The size of the stones can also increase over time and cause a blockage to form which can lead to irreversible damage to the kidneys and in severe cases where there is a complete blockage, the bladder can rupture and this is fatal. It is important to watch out for the signs and seek treatment ASAP.
Take Your Cat To A Vet ASAP
If your cat is straining to urinate and very little urine is passing, it is important they are seen by a veterinarian ASAP. A blockage can form and this can be fatal for some cats.
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What Are Urinary Tract Stones
Kidney stones are always made up of calcium oxide minerals, whereas bladder stones can be composed of calcium oxide, struvite , ammonium urate, cystine, or a compound of these. The stones are formed when the body is overwhelmed with too many natural minerals for the urinary tract to process, leading to the development of crystals.
Urinary tract stones are clusters of mineral crystals that form anywhere in the kidneys, ureters , bladder or urethra. Depending on the size of the stones, the condition can be life-threatening. They can vary in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a chunk of gravel. Male cats are more prone to life-threatening complications with urinary tract stones, referred to as complete blockages, due to their narrower urethra. Either one large single stone or many stones of different sizes can develop.
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Prevention Of Bladder Stones
It is always best to clean up your cats diet and ensure they are getting enough water every day. Some cats will require a specialty diet that a vet will recommend while others will see improvement from simply removing any food that has cheap fillers, grains, or chemicals. You should NEVER feed a cat who is prone to bladder stones a dry only diet. They should be on just the opposite, wet only and no dry. It is best to use only natural freeze-dried or fresh treats as well. If you notice your cat not drinking much, try changing the water to something else. Some cats do not like the taste of tap water and will prefer bottled or filtered water. Moving water is also an option to increase water consumption and you can do this by investing in a pet drinking fountain.
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Types Of Bladder Stones In Dogs And Cats
The type of bladder stones a dog or cat develops depends on the minerals present in their urine, the pH level and other factors. Certain types of stones are more common than others.
- Struvite These stones are made up of ammonium and are the most common type of bladder stone in female dogs. Miniature Schnauzers, Miniature Poodles, Bichon Frises and Cocker Spaniels tend to be the most susceptible breeds.
- Calcium oxalate These stones are made up of calcium and are the most common in male dogs and cats.
- Ammonium urate These stones are made up of uric acid and can occur in dogs whose livers aren’t properly cleaning the blood. They’re most common in Dalmatians because the breed lacks a specific enzyme needed to clear uric acid from the blood.
- Cystine These stones can occur as the result of a genetic disorder and are common in male Dachshunds.
- Silicate These stones may be caused by foods that are high in silicates. They occur most often in Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds.
How Bladder Stones Can Be Treated In Cats
When your cat has bladder stones, it basically means that he has accumulated minerals in his urinary bladder that have developed into stone-like formations. These interfere with his ability to urinate normally.
Bladder stones are formed from different minerals, with most diagnosed cases involving struvite or calcium oxalate. These minerals may also combine with other crystal substances and organic elements to form a more complex mass. A sizeable mass may cause inflammation in the urinary tract hence painful urination. This condition should be treated as soon as possible at a Pleasantville, NY animal hospital before it becomes worse.
Common symptoms of bladder stones
Observe your cats behavior regularly especially during urination. If you realize that they are uneasy or releasing little amounts of urine, then the stones may be obstructing their urethra making it painful to urinate. This is called dysuria. You may also notice some blood in the urine, a condition known as hematuria. Blood comes about when the stones scrape the walls of the bladder as they move around in the abdomen. In more severe cases, the urethra may be blocked completely making it hard for your pet to urinate. If the stones are not removed, the pressure in the bladder may accumulate to a rupture point.
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What Causes Oxalate Bladder Stones
The exact cause of oxalate bladder stones is unknown. A number of risk factors have been identified. Certain purebred cats are predisposed to developing oxalate bladder stones. These breeds include Burmese, Himalayans, Persians, and Siamese. Oxalate stones are more likely to form in males, obese cats, and in middle-aged to older cats.
Cats are more likely to develop oxalate stones when their urine contains high levels of calcium and oxalate. In some cases, this is also associated with high blood calcium levels.
Additionally, a low urine pH promotes the formation of oxalate stones. This factor likely has contributed to the increasing incidence of oxalate stones in recent years. Historically, cats were much more likely to develop another type of bladder stone, known as struvite stones. Pet food manufacturers began creating more acidic diets in order to reduce the formation of struvite stones, but this has led to a rise in oxalate stones in cats.
Preventing The Recurrence Of Struvite Crystals
Though the root cause of urine crystals is largely unknown, there are a few preventative measures you can take to make sure your cat stays struvite stone-free. Unfortunately, if a cat has already experienced bladder stones, the likelihood of a recurrence increases. Regular visits to the vet are recommended to monitor the mineral concentration in your cats urine.
Since cats are carnivores, their urine is slightly acidic. Urine with high alkaline levels is more likely to develop crystals, so maintaining proper pH levels through a balanced diet is important. Your cats diet should incorporate plenty of animal proteins and moisture, whether through high-quality wet food, or an entirely homemade or raw diet. Cats who consume only dry food are at higher risk for developing bladder stones.
A dry food diet thats high in meat and low in carbohydrates and fillers will help to maintain optimal urine pH.
Water intake is also very important for eliminating toxins and keeping the urinary tract clear. Make sure your cat always has fresh water, and consider switching up their diet so theyre consuming more wet food, which contains 7 times more moisture than dry food.
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How Is A Diagnosis Made
Most cats that have bladder infections do not have bladder stones. These cats will often have blood in the urine and will strain to urinate. Therefore, we do not suspect bladder stones just based on these clinical signs.
Some bladder stones can be palpated through the abdominal wall. However, failure to palpate them does not rule them out because many are too small to be detected in this manner.
Most bladder stones are visible on radiographs or an ultrasound examination. These procedures are performed if stones are suspected. This includes cats that show unusual pain when the bladder is palpated, cats that have recurrent hematuria and dysuria, or cats that have recurrent bacterial infections in the bladder.
Some bladder stones are not visible on radiographs. They are said to be radiolucent. This means that their mineral composition is such that they do not reflect the x-ray beam. These stones may be found with an ultrasound examination or with special radiographs that are made after placing a special dye in the bladder.
Bladder Stones In Dogs And Cats
Have you noticed your dog or cat straining to urinate or urinating more frequently than usual? Do they seem restless and constantly need to go out or use the litter box? These can be serious symptoms of a larger issueand bladder stones could be the cause. Bladder stones in dogs and cats are uncomfortable and can lead to a blockage if not treated. At Petco, our full-service pet hospitals are equipped to help your pet. Read on to find out more about this relatively common condition.
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How Can I Prevent Bladder Stones From Forming Again
Once your cat has been diagnosed and treated for bladder stones, you’ll know what kind of stones he suffered from. Always have fresh water available for him and ask your vet if you should continue feeding your cat a special diet. Exercise is also important for keeping your cat’s system healthy. Your vet may recommend a urinalysis and urine culture several times throughout the year to test for crystals and/or infection.
How Are Bladder Stones In Cats Treated
The best treatment for your cat’s bladder stones will depend upon the type of stones that your cat has. Some types of bladder stones, including struvite stones, can often be dissolved with the help of a therapeutic diet and medications.
Calcium oxalate stones cannot be dissolved and are typically treated with cystotomy surgery to open the bladder and remove the stones. This surgery has an excellent success rate and most cats recover from surgery very quickly.
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Gallstones In Cats Causes:
There are several causes for gallstones that can be considered. A failure in the function of the gallbladder can interrupt the flow of bile, or the bile can be muddy bile may be supersaturated with pigment, calcium, or cholesterol stone formation can be caused by inflammation, infection, tumor, or shedding of cells Or, the stones can cause inflammation and allow the invasion of bacteria. In cats, cysts or inflammation of the bile ducts can cause the bile to not flow normally.
What Are Kidney Stones
Kidney stones don’t typically present symptoms until they grow large, irritating the kidney ducts and potentially causing a serious infection or obstruction. Male cats and domestic Shorthairs are more likely to develop kidney stones than females and other breeds of cats.
The kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood, removing wastes such as mineral salts, urea, and toxins, and excreting these filtered wastes with water in the form of urine. Some of these wastes that are normally excreted by the kidneys aren’t completely soluble and remain in the kidneys, forming crystals or renal calculi. Over time, these crystals can form stones, known as nephroliths, and cause a condition known as nephrolithiasis.
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Causes Of Bladder Stones In Cats
No two cats are completely alike. Since there are several different types of bladder stones that can form, the cause of bladder stones in cats can vary. Some of these causes may include:
- Excess phosphate, ammonium, or magnesium in the urine
- Urine pH out of balance
- Dietary supplements or drugs that affect the urine
- Congenital liver shunt
- Breed predisposition
Do cats get bladder stones at certain ages? Cats can develop bladder stones at any age. Some types of stones are more likely to form at different life stages. The risk of developing calcium oxalate stones, for example, increases as your cat ages. These commonly show up in cats between 5 and 14 years old.
Do some cats have a higher risk of getting bladder stones? Common belief has suggested that neutered male Burmese, Persian, Siamese, and Himalayan cats may be genetically predisposed to developing calcium oxalate stones, but more research is needed to prove this for sure. Overweight cats, male cats, and older cats are more likely to develop these stones as well.
Treatment Of Bladder Stones In Dogs And Cats
Treatment for your pet’s bladder stones will depend on the size or the stones and if your pet is in danger of suffering a blockage. Here are six options you may be presented with when you bring your pet to your neighborhood Petco Pet Hospital.
Diet for bladder stones in dogs and cats For smaller stones caught early, special diets may help. These diets can increase thirst, and the extra water dilutes the urine and helps dissolve the obstruction. Diets for bladder stones in dogs and cats are typically strict and include limits on treats and bones. Results may not be apparent for three to four months.
Hydropulsion For small stones, hydropulsion may be your vet’s first recommendation. In this nonsurgical procedure, which is effective for female pets only, the bladder is filled with saline and squeezed to force out the stones.
Urohydropropulsion Your vet may be able to put a catheter into the bladder and flush the stones out through a process called urohydropropulsion. This is most effective for removing small stones. While it’s a nonsurgical option, your pet will need to be under general anesthesia.
Cystotomy Cystotomy is the most common form of surgery for bladder stones in dogs and cats. Your vet will open the bladder and take out the stones. While it sounds complex, it’s a relatively routine surgery for most vets, and your pet should recover quickly.
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How Much Does It Cost To Have Bladder Stones Removed From A Cat
As with all veterinary procedures, the cost of a cystotomy to remove bladder stones in cats can vary from hospital to hospital, and even more from region to region. However, most cystotomies will cost over $1000 US.
This can understandably be a hard swallow for some kitty parents. You may be able to find a veterinary facility within your region that performs lower cost surgical procedures through subsidizing and donations, getting the cost down to a few hundred dollars.
If surgery is not an option at all, a prescription diet to dissolve the stones may work, but only for struvite stones. Struvite stones are still the most common stone type in cats, so it is certainly worth trying.