Immediately we’re discussing stones in cats. Particularly, kidney stones in cats, ureteroliths, bladder stones in cats, and urethral stones in cats. Right here’s what you might want to know to maintain your cat—and their urinary tract—protected.
Was your cat simply identified with one in all these scary-sounding phrases? Cystic calculi, ureteroliths, uroliths, or urethral calculi. Seems like a mouthful, however everytime you see the phrase uro or lith, your cat has a critical medical situation of their “plumbing!” Uro refers back to the urinary system whereas lith refers back to the Greek phrase for a calculus. Principally, it implies that your cat has a stone.
Your cat’s urinary well being
Relating to your cat’s urinary well being, you’ve heard me harp on the hazards of feline urethral obstruction (UO), urinary tract infections (UTIs), and feline decrease urinary tract illness (FLUTD) earlier than. That’s why, as an emergency veterinarian, I’m such a proponent of creating positive your cat’s litter box is hygienic and clean. The dirtier the litter field, the much less often your cat will go to the litter field. And the much less your cat goes to the field, the extra concentrated their urine turns into (e.g., extra yellow and foul smelling too!).
In case your cat occurs to have crystals of their urine, these crystals additionally turn into extra concentrated or doubtlessly even congeal right into a stone. This predisposes your cat to a life-threatening UO or “urinary blockage.” Cats can impede when grit, mucous plugs, crystals, purple and white blood cell clumps, and even uroliths get caught within the tip of their penis. Untreated, it may well trigger kidney failure, shock, and acute dying!
Kidney stones in cats
Much more harmful? Kidney stones. Like people, cats (and canine) can develop them too. Sadly, there’s no technique to predict which cats will develop stones. (Nonetheless, there could also be an inherited element.) Some cats might not present any indicators of kidney stones, and so they could present up randomly on X-rays of your cat. Different cats might present extra imprecise indicators of sickness once they have kidney stones. This sometimes happens when these stones impede the “plumbing” additional down from the kidneys.
The 2 commonest sorts of stones in cats are struvite or calcium oxalate stones, relying on the pH of your cat’s urine. Remember that not all stones present up on X-rays. Struvite stones DO present up on X-rays and sometimes develop in alkaline to impartial pH urine. Calcium oxalate stones DO NOT present up on X-rays nicely, and develop in acidic to impartial pH urine. Usually, cats that develop calcium stones have greater blood ranges of calcium, and may have routine blood work to watch for this.
Ureteroliths or ureteral stones in cats
Sadly, when cats get kidney stones, small elements of those stones can break off and get caught within the ureters, the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder. These small stones are known as ureteroliths, and could be doubtlessly life-threatening. Personally, I hate ureteroliths, because the indicators of a medical drawback aren’t as apparent to a pet mother or father—and even to a veterinarian. As a result of these stones are “greater up” within the plumbing of the urinary system, ureteroliths gained’t present up as indicators of extreme licking or straining to urinate (as in comparison with decrease within the plumbing of the urinary system, nearer to the penis tip, the place the indicators are extra apparent). Being that your cat has two tubes connecting two kidneys, it’s onerous to inform if there’s an issue from ureteroliths till extreme blockage is going on… and infrequently in each tubes/kidneys of your cat.
Bladder stones in cats
If the stones are within the bladder, these are known as cystic calculi. Some cats have stones of their bladder with none consequence. Nonetheless, typically the stones scrape the within of the bladder lining, leading to irritation and secondary white and purple blood cells accumulating within the bladder. This may then lead to a urinary obstruction (UO). About 15-20% of instances with a urethral obstruction have a stone that prompted the obstruction. Because of this I all the time get X-rays on cats after I unblock them underneath sedation.
Urethral stones in cats
Typically kidney stones can journey from the kidney, down the ureter, into the bladder, and get caught within the final a part of the plumbing: the urethra (the tube going from the bladder to the outside of the physique, such because the penis tip). That is the commonest situation I see affecting cat’s urinary tracts within the veterinary ER.
Signs to look at for
Relying on the place the stone is caught in your cat’s urinary system, indicators of an issue embrace:
- Appearing painful
- Not consuming
- Blood in the urine
- Extreme grooming of the perineal area
- Irregular urination
- Making a number of journeys to the litter field
- Squatting to urinate in uncommon locations (e.g., like proper in entrance of you, on a plastic bag, in a potted plant)
- Ache while you decide your cat up across the stomach
- A distended abdomen
- Halitosis (from kidney poisons increase and inflicting secondary ulcers within the mouth and gastrointestinal tract)
- Weight reduction (seen extra with kidney stones)
- Loss of life
How do you deal with or handle stones in cats?
The easiest way to deal with or handle kidney stones in cats, bladder stones in cats, or any urinary “plumbing” drawback is by:
- Rising water consumption
- Discussing what to feed your cat along with your veterinarian
- Doing routine blood work (particularly as your cat approaches middle-age at 7-10 years)
- Conserving the litter field clear
I’m an advocate of tempting your cat to drink as a lot water as attainable, so I supply a number of water bowls or pet fountains all through the home. Be certain that to wash the bowls and refill them with filtered contemporary water no less than as soon as every week. Subsequent, be sure to supply your cat canned or moist meals: This accommodates 60-70% water, and helps hydrate your cat extra and flush out their urine so it’s extra dilute. I really practice my cats to eat grueled-down canned meals—I combine it with heat water in order that they drink much more.
Purina simply launched a product known as Hydra Care, which is a nutrient-enriched water that promotes hydration in cats, because it accommodates dietary osmolytes which assist take in water by the physique. I haven’t tried this, however this can be an choice to debate along with your veterinarian in case your cat’s water steadiness is actually delicate (e.g., stones, diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, continual kidney failure, and so forth.).
Subsequent, dietary adjustments. I don’t suggest altering the weight loss plan with out consulting your veterinarian, as we have to discover out which prescription weight loss plan is greatest for the crystals or stones that your cat might have. Fortunately, with sure prescription veterinary diets, struvite stones could be dissolved (e.g., Hill’s c/d, Purina UR, Royal Canin SO), but it surely sometimes takes a number of months to dissolve. Sadly, calcium oxalate stones can’t be dissolved with weight loss plan adjustments, however some prescription diets will assist forestall additional growth of them.
NOTE: With any weight loss plan change, it needs to be transitioned very, very slowly to assist your cat adapt to the brand new weight loss plan. Remember that different meals or treats shouldn’t be fed as soon as your cat is transitioned 100% to their new weight loss plan, as this negates the profit!
Routine blood work
Doing routine blood work to watch your cat’s calcium, salt steadiness, kidney operate, and purple and white blood cells, together with urine testing, is essential as your cat ages. That’s as a result of the earlier we establish an abnormality, the earlier we are able to deal with it. For my cats, I do a bodily examination and blood work yearly as soon as my cat is over 7-10 years of age, after which twice a yr as they method 12-13 years of age. In actual fact, I’d fairly you skip the vaccines (except for the usually legally-required one, rabies) as your cat ages to splurge on blood work as an alternative!
Surgical procedure or interventional radiology
In case your cat has stones, surgical procedure or interventional radiology could also be an choice. In some instances, surgical procedure could also be essential to take away the stones from the bladder or to widen the diameter of the urethra (known as a perineal urethrostomy). I solely suggest this when a cat has had repeated issues or fails to answer medical administration. Sadly, much less invasive measures like lithotripsy are usually not an choice in cats as in comparison with people or canine, because the small stones can nonetheless lead to obstruction decrease down within the “plumbing” of the urinary system. Different choices embrace a referral to a veterinary specialist, who could possibly do superior methods or re-routing of the urinary tubing to assist deal with uroliths (relying on the situation).
A clear litter field
Lastly, hold your cat protected from urinary issues by retaining the litter field clear. Personally, that’s why I really like utilizing a Litter Robotic in my cat-friendly family. I all the time wish to present a contemporary, clear mattress of kitty litter every time my cat makes use of the litter field. And that’s why I particularly use the WiFi-enabled, self-cleaning Litter-Robot 3 Connect, as I can monitor what number of occasions my cat is utilizing her litter field.
Don’t despair in case your cat was simply identified with crystals or stones. Oftentimes, the ideas and methods above will assist dissolve or deal with kidney stones in cats, bladder stones in cats, and extra—and forestall an obstruction!
Photograph by Caleb Woods on Unsplash