Most of us haven't heard of a bladder stone, as it's usually a kidney stone humans struggle with. However, this problem can occur in a cat or dog because of a mineral deposit that has formed in its urinary bladder. Many times these stones or crystals will dissipate on their own, but it becomes problematic when they bond together. Then the cat's bladder stones become so large it's hard for a cat to pass it through urination.
|X-ray of a Struvite bladder stone in a cat |
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
These bladder stones are actual stones made of minerals like calcium and magnesium. They can be a single deposit or can be a collaboration of smaller pieces. The stones can become quite large and take up most of the bladder or be very fine so they pass through while the cat urinates.
This formation of stones is called urolithiasis and develops within the urinary tract, the ureter, the kidneys or in the bladder. Most times this problem happens in the cat's bladder. Part of the issue is the pH difference in the urination, which causes the mineral deposits to develop and turn into crystals or stones.
If you want to stop cat's bladder stones from forming, then give your cat a balanced diet. Sometimes people unknowingly feed their pets a cat food which is high in minerals. Some cat food makers report that when cats consume magnesium ammonium, they'll develop bladder stones or crystals. This is why the manufacturers increased the acidity in the food so magnesium ammonium phosphate crystals won't develop. The problem is very few cats have this urinary issue, and when the rest of the cat population eats this food, they are more acceptable to calcium oxalate crystals. This is as problematic and can also cause painful results for your cuddly pet. The best way to know what your cat is eating is to look at the cat food's ingredients. It needs to be low in calcium and magnesium.
When you feed your cat correctly, it will be easier to achieve a urination pH level that ranges from 6.4 through 6.6. You want your cat's digestive system to be functioning with the highest efficiency. The digestive enzymes need to be formulated with the right mineral balance, and when this happens, bladder stones aren't going to develop as easy.
However, if you suddenly see signs of a problem, then take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Some of them are similar to a bladder infection, but both need to be treated appropriately. Symptoms don't always appear with some cats, but there can be urinating troubles, straining or blood. Even a never-ending bladder infection can be because of a stone. At times, a vet can feel the cat's bladder stones through their abdominal wall. Other times the stones can be discovered through an x-ray or ultrasound.
The best way to prevent cat's bladder stones from starting is to feed them correctly - it's the best kind of love! This is why it's important to stop these stones from starting in the first place.