Urine, or urine, is a type of excrement, an aqueous solution that contains about 5% of various organic and inorganic compounds. Normal urine of animals is transparent and has a light yellow color. But with an increase in salt concentration in it or a change in the metabolic processes in the body, dissolved salts may precipitate.
In urine, whose pH is lower than neutral, salts of uric and oxalic acids crystallize more easily; in an alkaline medium, crystals of phosphoric acid salts, tripelfosphates, form faster. They can combine into conglomerates (stones), and be deposited in the kidneys, bladder or urethra. This pathology is called urolithiasis (ICD).
What is dangerous ICD
According to statistics, this urological syndrome is diagnosed in 10% of cats, and in animals under the age of 6 years, urolithiasis is more often caused by tripelfosphates, in older cats, in most cases, urate and oxalate stones are found. Males are more likely to have MKD than females — their urethra is narrower and longer.
Growing to a considerable size, stones can clog the ureter or exit the renal pelvis, causing urinary retention, the inflammatory process, and in severe cases, necrosis of the urinary tract tissue or acute renal failure.
Causes of the disease
Cats of long-haired breeds (Persian, Siberian, Maine Coons, Bobtail) are most prone to the development of MKD; these breeds have a genetic predisposition to the accumulation of tripelfosphates in the urine.
To cause a change in the composition of urine and an increase in its level of triphenphosphates can also:
- a diet in which proteins and low carbohydrates predominate (protein food, when digested, gives metabolites prone to crystallization);
- insufficient amount of water in the diet, which causes an increase in the concentration of substances dissolved in the urine and their precipitation;
- the predominance of fish in the diet (it contains a large amount of phosphorus); deficiency of vitamins A and D, regulating metabolic processes
- imbalance in the body of acid-base balance (as already mentioned, tripelphosphates crystallize quickly in an alkaline environment);
- passive lifestyle, overweight (according to statistics, obesity and a passive lifestyle cause ICD in 50-70% of cases);
- early castration or sterilization of the animal, which often leads to hormonal imbalance;
- infectious diseases of the genitourinary system, accompanied by changes in urine pH.
Good to know! The opinion that an increase in the level of tripelphosphates in the urine may be a consequence of feeding the cat croquet is incorrect. High class dry feeds are a balanced product, in which the content of nutrients, vitamins, macro- and microelements is precisely calculated. In addition, many feeds contain components that prevent the formation of salt conglomerates. It is only necessary to ensure that the cat has constant access to water.
Urolithiasis caused by tripelphosphates can last for a long time without any symptoms, and is detected either during a routine analysis or when the stone blocks the ureter (obstruction).
If you carefully observe your pet, then if there is a large amount of salt in the urine, it becomes cloudy, there is a precipitate or even traces of blood in it (hematuria). The cat often licks the opening of the urethra, in this area it may appear a little swelling. The animal sits for a long time in the tray, or urinates often, in small portions not in the toilet, but in any place (this phenomenon is called pollakiuria). With the further development of ICD, the cat loses its appetite, becomes apathetic, it may experience vomiting.
Any of these signs of ill health should be the reason for going to the veterinarian - a running disease can cause the death of the animal, since toxic metabolic products accumulate in the blood, leading to uremia (acute poisoning of the body).
Diagnosis and treatment
The doctor can make a preliminary diagnosis after examining the animal, collecting an anamnesis (information on symptoms, living conditions, past illnesses, etc.). An accurate diagnosis is made after receiving the results of a urinalysis, and if there is a need for a more thorough examination, an ultrasound or radiography is performed.
In the absence of obstruction (blockage) of the ureter, therapy of urolithiasis or nephrolithiasis (urolithiasis), which developed against the background of an increased content of tripelphosphates, aims to:
- reduction in the amount of food containing phosphorus and calcium compounds supplied to the feed;
- compliance with the drinking regime, which allows to increase the volume of urine;
- maintaining a neutral or slightly acidic pH level of urine.
To dissolve salt crystals and loosen the formed stones, the doctor prescribes medication or herbal medicine for the cat - taking decoctions of diuretic herbs. To eliminate small urethral plugs, drugs that stimulate the muscles of the bladder are usually used. If pain is present, analgesics or antispasmodics can be prescribed, if an infection is detected - antibiotics or sulfonamides, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs.
Caution! You can’t try to “drive out” the stone yourself with the help of diuretic tablets or herbal decoctions, not knowing its size and location. This can only aggravate the situation: the conglomerate will tightly block the ureter, and if an urgent operation is not performed, an overflowing bladder may burst.
If a blockage of the urethra occurs, urine catheterization is performed. Under general anesthesia, a rubber catheter is placed in the urethra; after urine evacuation, the urethra is washed with an antiseptic solution.
In some cases, when a large number of large stones are found in the cat's bladder, cystotomy is prescribed. This is a cavity operation, during which the stones are removed through an incision in the peritoneum and bladder.
Prevention of tripolyphosphate deposition consists in a balanced diet and control of urine pH. The analysis is recommended to be carried out 2 times a year, the veterinarian will help you choose the right food for your pet. It is recommended to include products in the cat's diet that help to remove well-defined stones and sand from the bladder: boiled vegetables, decoctions of parsley, and bear’s abalone.
An active lifestyle is also important: the movement prevents the development of obesity, and does not allow salts dissolved in urine to crystallize and combine into conglomerates. Stones in the urine are formed if the animal "suffers" and does not empty the bladder on time. And since many cats disdain to use the toilet, which smells bad, the owner needs to ensure that the tray is clean.
You can also ask a question to the staff veterinarian of our site who will answer them as soon as possible in the comment box below.