Bladder stones in your pet cat are problematic as well as life-threatening, and they are one of the top reasons for surgery. However, there is a possibility that they can be prevented and treated without surgery if caught early. It's important to know the signs of this ailment so that you can spot the problem. Here are more things you should know about what bladder stones are, how cats get them, what treatments can be done, and how to prevent them in the future.
Types of Bladder Stones
Bladder stones are crystallized pieces of urine and minerals which form in the bladder and urinary tract and potentially cause blockages. There are two main types of bladder stones in cats that cause the most problems: Struvite and calcium oxalate stones. Both kinds are commonly caused by diet, bacterial infections, physical defects, or metabolic issues (such as diabetes).
Symptoms of Bladder Stones
The symptoms of bladder stones often present themselves in a way similar to a bladder or urinary tract infection. Your cat will strain and possibly cry out in pain while urinating. You may also notice blood in the urine. The frequency of urination may also increase as well as an increase in grooming in the genital area. When you take your cat to your veterinarian, they can be felt through abdominal palpitation and are visible with ultrasounds and x-rays.
Common Treatment For Bladder Stones
Treatment depends on the type of stones your cat has. Struvite stones can often be treated with a change in diet. Calcium oxalate stones frequently require surgery for removal, but this surgery is considered fairly routine and not expected to cause unusual problems. If your cat's urinary tract is already blocked or partially blocked, then it becomes an emergency and surgery is likely to be prescribed no matter what type of stone your cat has.
Preventing Bladder Stones
While not all bladder stones can be prevented, especially if your cat has a genetic or physical condition, there are some steps you can take. For one, you can ask your veterinarian for diet recommendations related to your cat's specific needs. Make sure your cat doesn't get dehydrated and that he or she gets plenty of exercise.
One of the ways to spot bladder stones early is to make sure your cat has his or her annual veterinary inspection. Once bladder stones are suspected, they can be easily verified, and treatment can begin according to its type. If your cat is showing signs that he or she has a bladder problem, contact your veterinarian immediately as bladder stones can be potentially life-threatening if not treated.
For more information, contact a vet office like Pitts Veterinary Hospital PC.