Because most cats take their independence seriously and only go to their people for food, water and shelter, detecting health issues in your cat may be difficult to do—but remain vigilant! For instance, cats are susceptible to kidney stones, and you would hate for them to be suffering long. It’s important that cat owners have some insight about kidney stones—including the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment—so immediate action can be taken to prevent the problem from getting any worse.
The following is some useful information about kidney stones in cats, courtesy of an experienced cat veterinarian in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, that may help you next time your cat is displaying symptoms of urinary trouble.
Symptoms of stones
A condition called nephrolithiasis, or kidney stones, is when a cat develops clusters of crystals in their kidneys or urinary tract. All cats are susceptible to stones, but some breeds are predisposed, including domestic longhair and shorthair breeds, Siamese and Persian. Since serious complications can result from of these stones or fragments passing through the urinary tract, pet owners need to be aware of the symptoms of kidney stones in cats.
It’s not unusual for cats with kidney stones to show no outward signs. Instead, the stones are usually diagnosed through diagnostic testing during blood work and checkups for other health problems. Symptoms to watch for include blood in the urine, recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs), vomiting, difficulty urinating and frequent urination with little to no urine production.
Risk factors and diagnosis
Some of the main causes of stone formation include the oversaturation of stone-forming materials in the urine, increased levels of calcium in the blood and urine, diets that lead to high urine pH and frequent UTIs.
Give the vet a timeline of signs and symptoms, and describe what you observed. A thorough history of your cat’s health will help the vet diagnose kidney stones or other health issues. They will then perform a physical exam, x-rays or an ultrasound and a urinalysis; however, to confirm the diagnosis and start proper treatment, they’ll want to analyze a piece of the stone. A procedure called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) uses shock waves to break up the stones within the urinary tract.
Treatment and prevention
Some kidney stones are considered inactive, meaning there is no infection, the stone is not getting bigger and it’s not causing obstruction. Your vet may choose not to remove inactive stones, but will monitor the cat for changes. They may also prescribe medication to help dissolve the stones and adjust the cat’s diet accordingly. Unfortunately, a severe case of kidney stones may require immediate hospitalization and removal. The most common kidney stone removal options are surgery or ESWL.
Although there’s no way of telling whether a cat will develop kidney stones, you can find out if they are predisposed and take measures to protect them. Talk to your veterinarian about the best types of special foods and dietary management to prevent kidney stone formation.
When searching for a trustworthy cat veterinarian in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, look no further than the compassionate team at Newkirk Family Veterinarians. Call today to schedule an appointment!