Calcium Oxalate Stones in Cats

Calcium Oxalate stones are the most common form of bladder stones that cats suffer from. They are stones that form in the confines of the urinary tract. These stones are made up of the mineral calcium oxalate.

Causes of Calcium Oxalate Stones in Cats

There are no real known causes for these stones.

There are, however, several factors that could contribute:

  • Diseases that can cause abnormal levels of calcium to be present in the blood
  • Large amounts of oxalate in the cat's urine
  • Excessive protein
  • Excessive sodium
  • Excessive dietary calcium
  • Large amounts of some diuretics or cortisone-like drugs

Calcium oxalate stones are also more likely to form in cats between the age of 5 and 14 years of age. Breeds such as Himalayans, Persians and Burmese are also more prone to developing these stones.

Symptoms of Calcium Stones in a Cat

There are several symptoms that can indicate stones, though some cats display no symptoms at all.

  • Inability to urinate
  • Straining when attempting to urinate
  • Urinating in small amounts
  • Pain when urinating
  • Urinating in places that are abnormal for your cat
  • Licking of the genitals

If your cat is displaying any of these symptoms, it is important that you get your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible so that the stones may be properly diagnosed and taken care of.

Diagnosing and Treating the Stones in a Cat

Several tests can be run to determine whether or not your cat has calcium oxalate stones, including urine tests, x-rays and ultrasounds.

Once your cat has been diagnosed with the stones, treatment is in order. Some smaller female cats may be able to pass the stones on their own, but otherwise it is not typical that your cat will be able to get rid of the stones on her own and therefore will need treatment, which can include:

  • Lithotripsy - This is a procedure where shock waves are used to break up stones.
  • Urohydropulsion - This is where the stones are flushed out with sterile saline. This is usually only productive if the stones are small and located in the lower urinary tract.
  • Catheter retrieval - Like with the Urohydropulsion, this is best used for small stones that are found in the lower urinary tract.
  • Surgery - In most cases, surgery will be needed to remove the stones.

Other treatments, such as antibiotics and fluids, can be used if needed. These won't treat the stones themselves, but can treat conditions that can occur alongside the stones, such as urinary tract infections or dehydration.

Home Treatments

It is important that you keep an eye on your cat, as these stones can sometimes reoccur. If your cat has had surgery to remove the stones, try to get your cat to rest as much as possible and make sure that you keep the area clean and dry at all times.

It is also possible to change your cat's diet to help lower the risk of the stones occurring or reoccurring. This diet consists of low protein food that is high in fiber, often consisting more of wet cat food than dry. As always, consult with your pet professional before making any major changes to your cat's diet.