Calcium Oxalate Crystals in Cats

Calcium oxalate crystals are fine particles that are present in the pet’s bladder. These crystals generally form when the pet’s urine is very acidic in nature. If these crystals are left untreated, they will join together and form urinary stones. Urinary stones can block the urinary passage of the cat and this can become a life threatening condition. To prevent this from occurring, you must look for the symptoms of this condition and seek medical care at the earliest.

How Calcium Oxalate Crystals Form

In the past, most pets used to suffer from struvite stones. To reduce the incidence of struvite stone formation, the cats were fed diets that had lower amounts of magnesium. Although this diet did benefit many pets, several cats started developing calcium oxalate stones due to the dietary change.

Cats that are fed low magnesium diets generally have acidic urine and this makes it conducive for the development of calcium oxalate crystals.

What to Watch For

If your cat is suffering from crystals in the bladder, he will start licking his genitals frequently and may show signs of frequent urination. Even if your cat tries to urinate frequently, he will only pass small amounts of urine every time. Some cats may also cry while urinating and may refuse to use the litter box.

Cats suffering from calcium oxalate stones may also develop urinary tract infections. These infections can travel to the bladder and the kidneys and cause complications.

Diagnosis of Urinary Crystals

To confirm the presence of bladder crystals the vet will perform an X-ray and an ultrasound of the abdomen and the pelvic area. In some cases, the vet may have to inject a dye in the pet’s bladder in order to trace stones and crystals that are radiolucent.

Once the vet confirms the presence of these crystals, the treatment will commence.

Treatment of Calcium Oxalate Crystals

If your cat is suffering from calcium oxalate crystals the vet will try to reduce the acidity of the urine so that the crystals don’t form stones. If the crystals remain in the body, they may form stones and these stones will have to be removed through surgery. The surgery will have to be performed under anesthesia as the vet will have to make an incision in the pet’s body in order to get access to the stones.

The pet will also be hospitalized for a day or two until his condition stabilizes. Your cat will be given a course of antibiotics so that there aren’t any complications once the surgery has been performed.

Diets that Prevent Calcium Oxalate Crystal Formation

Dietary modification is necessary as this will prevent the recurrence of calcium oxalate stones in the future. The Hill’s prescription diet and the Purina CNM UR diet are ideal for cats suffering from calcium oxalate crystals.

You should make sure you switch your cat’s diet gradually so that your pet doesn’t get a stomach upset.

Tips for Pet Owners:

  • Take your cat to the vet as soon as you suspect that he’s suffering from a urinary tract infection.
  • Administer all prescribed medications on time.
  • Make sure your cat drinks plenty of fresh water every day.
  • Try to give your pet meals that are low in proteins.

If your cat has to undergo surgery make sure you conduct follow up vet checks to make sure your cat is on the road to recovery.