Urinary stones in cats
There are several reasons why cats can have urinary-related problems, one example of urinary-related problems in cats is urinary stones.
Urinary stones in cats can irritate and create inflammation in the cat's bladder, as well as increase the risk of urinary tract infection. In the worst case, urinary stones can lead to urinary retention if they become completely blocked, meaning that the cat cannot urinate at all, which is a life-threatening situation for cats and should this happen, the cat must be taken to the vet immediately. Unfortunately, urinary retention is so serious that it can lead to death.
Urinary stones can vary in size and they can be either just a few or several in number. As with many other urine-related problems in cats, urinary stones produce similar symptoms. The cat may run to the litter box more often and try to urinate more often than usual even though there is less than usual or no urine at all. They may also start to urinate in places other than the box, behave differently, yawn and exhibit pain when trying to urinate. The cat may lick and wash the penis or vulva more than usual. The general condition may change, the cat may develop a fever, eat and drink less and become hungry.
If you suspect that your cat has any kind of urine-related problem, it is important to go to the vet so that the cat can be examined and given the correct diagnosis and treatment. It is also important that the underlying cause of the urinary problem is investigated in case it becomes a recurring problem in the future.
A urine test, ultrasound or X-ray will be required at the vet to establish a diagnosis. It is also common for a blood sample to be taken from the cat. Depending on the type of urinary stone and other aspects, treatment may include surgery or a change of food. If the cat has a urinary stone once, they may need to eat a special diet for the rest of their life, to prevent recurrence.
There are a number of things that can affect the cause of cats getting urinary stones, including obesity and low physical activity being two risk factors. It usually takes a combination of factors for urinary stones to form, but regardless, it is not yet fully established why cats are affected.
If you suspect urinary stones in a cat, it is best to make an appointment with a vet. As there are different types of urinary stones, it is important for the vet to find out, for example, what type and quality it is, so that they can put in place the right treatment and so prevent a recurrence of urinary stones in the future.