What causes bladder stones in cats?

Bladder stones are basically little rocks that form inside a cat's bladder when various minerals from the cat's urine clump together. One part of urine is crystal compounds, and these are what form the actual stones.

   

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What is the cause?

Dietary problems and also feline urinary tract infections can both be a potential cause. If your cat is eating poorly, it can raise the amount of crystals in the urine, making clumping more likely. Prior infections can cause general problems with the bladder of the cat in the future, leading to stones.

What are the symptoms?

Your cat may have trouble urinating or you may see blood in the cat's urine. That's hard to find sometimes, and if you suspect bladder stones or a urinary problem you may have to look closely at the clumps of litter to see. They can block up the flow of urine, and will cause discomfort and pain even if they don't. These symptoms are very similar to a bacterial infection though, so be careful about that as well.

What is the treatment?

You either need to have surgery on the cat to remove the stones or give it a prescription diet to get rid of them. The diet is the preferred option, because it avoids the risks to your cat from anesthesia. However, it's not going to work on all cats, because many stones are made up of different minerals, and the prescription diet may not do anything for some of them. Your vet will have to make the call. Vets usually test for them in cats by doing an x-ray, and they will have to get your pet to pass one or do an analysis of the urine to figure out what it's made of.

One other option is medication designed to raise the urine acidity of your cat. This increased Ph level will make them less likely to form. Ammonil is an example of a medication that does this. However, these do not work on all kinds of stones.

Sources and Useful Links:

http://www.westlakeanimalhospital.com/Encyclopedia/Acral_Lick/Addison_s_Disease/Adrenal_Gland_Disease__Ferrets/Anal_Sac_Disease__Canine/bladder_stones__feline.html

http://www.animalhelp.com/hometown/articledetail.cfm?artid=39

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