The first thing you should know is that all stones (also known as uroliths) are not the same. This fact matters since different types of bladder stones have different properties and tend to be found in different age groups and breeds. Of course just like with most things different doesn't necessarily mean completely different since there is some overlap.
The two most common types of stones are struvite and calcium oxalate.
Struvite characteristics: Mainly found in female cats; have been found in kittens as young as 1 month and cats as old as 20 years; tend to form in cats whose urine contains a high concentration of magnesium; tend to form in cats whose alkaline pH is over 6.8; make up about half of all uroliths; and account for more than 85 percent of all urethral blockages.
Calcium Oxalate characteristics: Primarily found in neutered male cats; tend to occur in old animals for 10 to 15 years of age; occur more often in certain breed with the most notable being Persians, Himalayans, and Burmese; high pH levels increase the risk; account for about 39 percent of all uroliths; and only cause urethral blockage less than 15 percent of the time.
As you can plainly see we have a lot of generalizations to guide us but when it comes to bladder stones nothing seems to be 100 percent certain.
What happens when a fatal blockage occurs?
Female cats do not obstruct as often as males but pet parent can't let their guard down since females can become obstructed by urethral stones.
Once the bladder stone has managed to either block urine flow, or severely restrict it, pressure will start to build in the upper urinary tract. As the pressure builds the kidney will start to shut down producing less and less urine until finally no urine is being produced at all. Once the kidneys quit filtering impurities out of the bloodstream toxins flood the bloodstream leading to toxic urea.
As all this is occurring there should be a number of fairly obvious signs that something is terribly wrong including loss of appetite, frequent visits to the litter box with no success, uncharacteristic self-imposed seclusion, lethargy, and vomiting. If the bladder stone obstruction is not rectified and normal kidney function restored within 48 hours (possibly less) irreversible kidney damage will have occurred resulting in death.
In conclusion, not only can cat bladder stones kill cats but often do when the obstruction is not recognized and treated in record time. The best advice is to take preventative steps to make sure this terrible conditions never get far enough to become fatal.
A few preventative measures worth considering are to make sure your cat drinks plenty of water; lean towards wet food instead of dry; keep urine pH levels neutral to slightly below normal; opt for pet food slightly lower in calcium and magnesium; add a few drops of cranberry or raspberry juice to their food; and consider implementing a homeopathic pet urinary tonic containing Berberis and Cantharis to provide an extra bit of insurance against bladder stone formation.
Robert D. Hawkins is an enthusiastic consumer advocate for natural pet health with over 10 years experience in the field. To discover more about cat urinary tract health along with information about a herbal and homeopathic urinary tract tonic specially formulated to reduce the chances of crystals and bladder stone formation Click Here
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