Any cat can develop kidney stones regardless of their age or breed. Kidney stones have a crystal-like appearance and are made up of uric acid, calcium and oxalate, which are byproducts of the kidney. They tend to be painful and can cause a urinary tract obstruction, and when urine can't flow freely along the urinary tract, a bacterial infection can develop. It's not always possible to pin down the cause when a cat develops kidney stones, but they can occur as a result of your cat's diet causing their urine to be too alkaline. They can also occur as a result of repeated urinary tract infections. It's important to be aware of the signs of kidney stones in order to prevent your cat from suffering unnecessarily. Read on to learn about the symptoms of kidney stones in cats and how the condition is treated.
Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can make it difficult for your cat to pass urine, and when they do pass urine, it will often be a smaller volume than would be considered normal. Urination may also be painful, and this type of pain can cause your cat to vomit directly after passing or trying to pass urine. If your cat associates urinating with pain, they may stop eating and drinking in order to avoid having to urinate. This can quickly lead to them becoming dehydrated and lethargic. When kidney stones are causing a complete or partial blockage, a fever is often present, and your cat will show typical signs of being unwell, such as developing a dull coat and withdrawing from social contact.
Treating Kidney Stones
Your vet will make their diagnosis by noting your cat's symptoms and taking blood and urine samples to check for the presence of bacteria, traces of blood or protein in the urine and signs the kidneys and urinary tract are not functioning optimally, such as raised inflammatory markers. Additionally, an ultrasound will be performed to determine the exact location and number of stones present.
If the kidney stones are small, medication will be prescribed to dissolve them and your cat will have another ultrasound at the end of their treatment to confirm the medication has been effective. If the stones are causing an obstruction or are particularly large, surgery will be required to remove them from the urinary tract. This type of surgery is typically carried out using keyhole techniques, and your cat will be discharged when they are passing urine normally.
Suspected kidney stones should be investigated by a vet without delay, so contact a vet service right away if your cat has any symptoms of kidney stones.