June 2009 Issue

Diagnosis: Bladder Stones

This common condition requires prompt treatment.

Your cat normally uses the litter box a few times a day to relieve herself, but today is different. She’s going to the box every few minutes and vocalizing as she strains to urinate. The small amount of urine that finally dribbles out is filled with blood. Your cat may be suffering from bladder stones, a painful condition that, left untreated, can lead to serious illness and in rare cases, death. Causes of Bladder Stones. Bladder stones, or uroliths, are caused by an extensive concentration of salts and minerals in the urine such as magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, and ammonia. "There should always be a certain amount of salts and minerals in the urine," says Richard Goldstein, DVM, an associate professor of small animal medicine at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. "But when the urine becomes ‘super saturated’ — meaning there’s an overabundance of salts and minerals — crystals begin to form."

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