Hello! My name is Joey and I am a 4 ½ year old very handsome, male orange tabby. I recently had trouble urinating. On examination they found blood in my urine. I was treated for an infection but it came back. So I had a funny exam called an x-ray where they took a picture of my tummy. I heard the Doctor tell my mommy that I had something called bladder stones. What are those?
Bladder stones (uroliths) are more common in dogs than cats. Sometimes stones can block the urethra which can be life threatening. Stones can occur because of an infection and/or the body’s the reaction to diet. Bladder stones may start off small, but over time they can get quite big. There are many different types of stones. Cats commonly form either struvite (magnesium phosphate) or calcium oxalate stones.
Sometimes the crystals are seen on urinalysis. Stones may also be palpated in the bladder on occasion. Stones are usually identified by means of radiographs (x-rays) or ultrasound.
Treatment can depend on the type of stone. Struvite stones may respond (dissolve) to dietary therapy and oral antibiotics over the period of a few months. Calcium Oxalates will not respond to conservative medical therapy. These need to be removed surgically. Surgery is also an option for struvite stones.
If stones are removed surgically from the bladder (a cystotomy), they are sent out to a lab for analysis. Further treatment and prevention is based upon the stone analysis.
If you see the following signs in your cat: straining/posturing to urinate but there is no or very little urine in the box, crying when urinating, spending a lot of time in the box, not eating, vomiting, hiding, and/or painful when you touch the abdomen: you need to call your veterinarian and bring your pet into the clinic immediately. It can be a life-threatening situation when your cat becomes blocked and cannot urinate.
For more questions, please do not hesitate to call and talk with one of our friendly staff.