We are all aware that cats will attempt to conceal illness from their owners. Is there anything we should look for in a cat who has bladder stones?
Cats who live indoors will most likely spend more time in the litter pan. They may also urinate anywhere other than the litter box. If the pee is outside of the box, it may have a pink tint or contain blood. You may observe your cat squeezing his or her muscles. Even though these symptoms are not exclusive to bladder stones in cats, they should not be disregarded.
If you have an outdoor cat, things may be a little more complicated. You may have to be cautious to spot a change in your cat’s urine habits. Cats with bladder stones will usually exhibit these symptoms immediately, even if they are outdoor cats. It will just require a conscious effort on your side to pay attention to the behavior. If you detect any of these changes in your cat, it is critical that you have your cat assessed as soon as possible.
The information provided here will support you in better understanding bladder stones and their removal in cats.
What are cat bladder stones?
Bladder stones (also known as cystic calculi or uroliths) are mineral-rich structures in the urinary bladder and resemble rocks. There may be a giant, single stone or a collection of stones ranging in size from sand-like grains to gravel, or there may be a combination of both. Many times, a mixture of huge and small stones can be found in the exact location.
What other types of stones can you find in the cat’s bladder?
Gallstones in the gall bladder and contain bile salts, which are toxic to the body. A mineralized structure that forms in the kidney, kidney stones is a type of calculus. Neither of these is associated with the development of bladder stones. Even though the kidneys and urine bladder are both components of the urinary system, the development of kidney stones is not typically associated with the development of urinary bladder stones. All stones are formed as a result of sickness or inflammation in the structure that is being impacted.
Symptoms of Bladder Stones in Cats
In some cases, it might be exigent to determine whether your cat is injured or ill. It is common for cats to seek refuge when they feel uneasy because it is perilous to display weakness in the wild. Because cats are solitary creatures, showing distress will not elicit assistance from others if they are alone. If your cat has bladder stones, you will need to pay close attention to determine whether or not he has them.
The following are some of the most common indications of bladder stones:
- Straining to urinate
- Frequent urination
- Genital licking
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Painful urination
- Chronic urinary tract infections
- Urinary tract obstruction (especially in males)
- Urine spraying
- Passing urine in unusual places
What are the clinical indications of bladder stones in cats?
In cats, hematuria (blood in the urine) and dysuria (incontinence) are the most common signs of bladder stone formation (straining to urinate). Hematuria occurs when the stones rub against the bladder wall, causing irritation and damage to the tissues and bleeding. When there is inflammation and swelling of the bladder walls or urethra, muscle spasms can occur. When there is a physical impediment to urine flow caused by stones, dysuria can develop. Veterinarians presume that the condition is uncomfortable because individuals who have bladder stones complain of discomfort. Many clients have commented on how much more active their cat becomes after having bladder stones surgically removed from the bladder.
In other cases, large stones can behave almost like a valve or stopcock, creating intermittent or partial obstruction at the neck of the bladder, the point at which the bladder joins to the urethra, which can be pretty uncomfortable. In some cases, small stones may be carried along with the urine and stuck in the urethra, causing an obstruction. Because of the anatomy of male cats, this is a problem that arises more commonly in them.
If there is an obstruction, the bladder will not be able to empty. This is extremely painful, especially if pressure is given to the abdomen during the procedure. Eventually, the bladder may rupture if the obstruction is not removed. A total obstruction is potentially life-threatening and necessitates the use of emergency medical services immediately.
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What caused my cat to develop bladder stones?
There are multiple hypotheses as to how bladder stones arise. The Precipitation-Crystallization Theory of stone production is the most widely accepted explanation for how stones are formed. According to this theory, one or more stone-forming crystalline chemicals are present in high concentrations in the urine, causing the stone to develop. This could be caused by dietary inconsistencies or by a past bladder infection or other condition that has manifested itself. When this component in the urine hits a certain threshold level, the urine becomes saturated and cannot contain any more compounds. The saturation level is determined by the presence of particular minerals in the urine and the pH of the urine. Extraneous material precipitates out of solution and crystallizes into tiny crystals. In addition to irritating the bladder lining, the sharp crystals cause mucus to be produced in the urine. The crystals and mucus adhere to one another, forming clusters that grow in size and harden into stones over time, depending on the environment. This is comparable to the process by which “rock candy” is created.
What is the rate at which bladder stones form?
Bladder stones can occur in as little as a few weeks or as long as several months to form. The rate of urolith production and growth is variable. It depends on various parameters, including the amount of crystalline material present in the urine, the pH of the urine, and other characteristics such as age.
Do cats get bladder stones at a given age or a different age than humans? Cats can get bladder stones at any age, even when they are young. Some sorts of stones are more likely to form at particular phases of a person’s life than others. The likelihood of your cat having calcium oxalate stones, for example, increases as he gets older. These are most typically seen in cats between the ages of 5 and 14 years old.
Is it true that some cats are at a higher risk of developing bladder stones? It is widely believed that neutered male Burmese, Siamese, Persian, and Himalayan cats are genetically susceptible to forming calcium oxalate stones, but further research is needed to confirm this. The likelihood of developing these stones increases with age, and overweight cats, male cats, and senior cats are all at increased risk.
Treatment options for cat bladder stones
The type of stone that has formed in your cat will determine the course of treatment. Following an examination of the stone, your veterinarian may recommend one or more treatments, which may include:
- Special diet to dissolve and prevent stones
- Bladder flushing
- Better hydration
- Lithotripsy, or the destruction of stones via shock waves
Surgery to remove the stone may be recommended by your veterinarian to alleviate any obstruction and determine what type of material the stone comprises. It is also possible that your veterinarian will advise you to wait and see if your cat passes the stone on its own. Female cats are frequently capable of giving tiny bladder stones on their own.
Cat surgery to remove bladder stones is also known as cystotomy.
In a broader sense, cystotomy is a surgical procedure that involves creating a hole in the urinary bladder wall. The bladder can be examined from the inside by the surgeon during this surgery. Even though abdomen x-rays, ultrasound inspection, and cystoscopy (scooping the bladder) are all less intrusive means of peering into the bladder, cystoscopy plays a significant role in diagnosing and treating urinary bladder disorders.
What are the indications for undergoing a CYSTOTOMY procedure?
When it comes to bladder disorders, cystotomy is the procedure of choice to remove bladder stones, bladder tumors, and blood clots, among other things. This method can also be used to collect a sample of the urine bladder for biopsy purposes. Cystotomy is performed to repair a ruptured urinary bladder or one that has been severely traumatized. Occasionally, a cystotomy incision is required to improve aberrant ureteral insufficiency (the ureters are the long thin tubes that convey urine from the kidneys to the bladder). In these circumstances, a cystotomy incision will be required to correct the condition.
Before having a cystotomy, what kinds of preoperative examinations or tests are required?
The general health and age of the animal and the cystotomy are all factors that influence the preoperative examinations. Before surgery, radiographs (x-rays) or abdominal ultrasonography are often performed to diagnose the underlying condition. Preoperative tests such as serum biochemistry tests, a urinalysis, complete blood count, and potentially an EKG are routinely conducted before surgical procedures.
What type of anesthesia is required for a cystotomy?
A surgical technique that includes accessing the abdominal cavity is performed in this setting. The use of general anesthesia is required to achieve unconsciousness, total control of pain, and muscle relaxation. Pre-anesthetic sedative-analgesic medication is given to the pet to help him calm before the surgery, followed by a brief intravenous anesthetic to allow installing a breathing tube in the windpipe and then inhalation (gas) anesthesia in oxygen during the actual surgery.
How Is the Cystotomy performs?
Following general anesthesia, the cat is placed on its back on the surgery table, with its head resting on the table. The lower abdomen’s hair is cut back, the skin is cleaned with surgical detergent to disinfect the region, and a sterile drape is draped over the surgery site to prevent contamination. The incision is comparable to that of a spay incision (midline). A typical scalpel is used to incise the skin of the lower abdomen and open the abdominal cavity, which your veterinarian performs. With the help of sterile sponges, the urinary bladder is isolated, and an incision is made. Any pee that remains in the bladder is evacuated to prevent abdominal contamination. The surgeon may next proceed to remove bladder stones, a tumor, or many blood clots, among other things. A urinary catheter is frequently inserted towards the conclusion of surgery to allow urine to drain more readily from the bladder after the procedure. After the surgery, sutures (stitches) are put in the urinary bladder to close the incision process. These sutures disintegrate over time. Once the abdominal incision has been closed with one or two layers of self-dissolving sutures, the procedure is complete (stitches). Sutures or surgical staples are used to close the skin’s outer layer, and they must be removed within 10 to 14 days.
How long doe it take for the cystotomy to be preformed?
In most cases, the procedure takes between 45 minutes and 1-1/4 hours to complete, not including the time required for preparation and anesthetic administration.
What are the risks and complications of going through a cystotomy operation?
The overall risk associated with this procedure is low. Postoperative infection, general anesthesia, urine leakage, bleeding (hemorrhage), and wound disintegration (dehiscence) over the incision are the most severe hazards. Although the overall complication rate is modest, significant problems can result in mortality or require further surgery.
The usual postoperative aftercare for cystotomy
Postoperative medication should be administered to alleviate pain, which is usually deemed light to moderate in intensity and can be eradicated entirely with safe and effective pain medications in most cases. During surgery, it is typical for a urinary catheter to be implanted. In most cases, this can be removed within 24 to 72 hours of being applied. As part of the home care regimen, you must limit your activities until the stitches are removed in 10 to 14 days. You should check the suture line daily for signs of redness, discharge, swelling, or pain, as well as keep track of your pet’s urine patterns and behavior. For the first few days, some blood-tinged urine should be expected; however, evident pain, straining, or a lack of urination are not typical and should necessitate a visit to your veterinarian.
How long does a cat have to stay in the hospital following a cystotomy?
The average length of stay after a cystotomy is 2-3 days, although this might vary depending on the pet’s overall health and the underlying reason for the procedure.
Complications of Bladder Stones in Cats
Sometimes, bladder stones in your cat can be a symptom of a more serious health problem that your cat already has. In addition, if bladder stones are left untreated, they might lead to further complications. It is critical to get therapy to determine what caused them and ensure they do not cause any other problems.
Bladder stones that have not been addressed. Bladder stones that are left untreated might result in a variety of complications. The urethra may become wholly blocked if your cat’s bladder stones become lodged in the tube. Vomiting, loss of appetite, nausea, and swollen stomach are all possible side effects of this condition, among others. Urine can back up into the kidneys in this situation. A total urinary obstruction is a medical emergency that can be fatal to your cat, so get medical attention as soon as you are able.
There are underlying health issues. Yes, bladder stones have been connected to a variety of different health issues. They can develop due to hyperthyroidism or diabetes, both of which are known to cause urinary tract infections and inflammation in the urinary system.
Preventing Bladder Stones in Cats
Your cat’s bladder stones will be diagnosed, and you will have a better understanding of what has been causing them in your cat. With this knowledge, you may put measures in place to keep them from recurring. Make sure your cat has continual access to freshwater, and talk to your veterinarian about permanently altering his or her feeding plan.
Your veterinarian may recommend regular urinalysis to look for new stones, sometimes as often as once every three months, to ensure no stones have formed. Aside from that, they’re likely to prescribe regular, frequent radiographs of X-rays every six to twelve months. You may also want to consider heartening your cat to get some activity to prevent the production of any further stones.