Sunday, May 26, 2024

What Causes Crystals In Cat Urine

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Urinary crystals in cats – Dr. Justine Lee

Below, you can find some easy tips on how to help your cat feel better again, and also to prevent cat crystals from recurring.

  • Make sure to feed your cat a variety of wet canned food, which will help a lot in hydrating and promoting the urineâs formation with an acidic or low pH level.
  • Feed small meals frequently as this will cause lesser fluctuation in the pH level of your catâs urine.
  • Provide adequate litter boxes and make sure to keep them in a safe, quiet place.
  • Provide fresh, clean water all the time and consider having a kitty fountain or multiple water bowls. You can also try using a delicious chicken broth in order to encourage your feline friend to drink more.
  • Minimize some major changes in your catâs routine.

What Causes Struvite Bladder Stones

In some cats, struvite bladder stones form as a result of a urinary tract infection. Certain species of urinary bacteria produce a chemical called urease, which leads to changes in urine acidity. Urease-producing bacteria can contribute to the formation of struvite stones.

In most cases however, cats develop struvite stones in the absence of an infection. In these cases, the exact cause is unknown. A number of different factors have been found to contribute to these stones, including the formation of concentrated urine, increased urine pH , and increased levels of magnesium and phosphorus within the urine.

Struvite stones have been shown to be more common in Siamese cats. This suggests that genetic factors may also play a role.

Crystals In Cat Urine Home Remedies And Natural Treatments

Crystals in cat urine home remedies are something cat lovers need to know. These are microscopic precipitants that can form in the urine of your cat. These crystals sometimes solidify into struvite stones. In addition, these crystals are composed of minerals found naturally in a cats body, such as, phosphate, calcium oxalate, magnesium, and ammonium. When the concentrations of these minerals exceed normal levels, these can accumulate and disturb the urinary function.

Several causes are thought to be the formation of urine crystals in cats. In addition, bacteria related to urinary infection can also affect the condition. The bacteria produce urease, a chemical that can change the acidity of urine, causing crystals to accumulate and struvite stones to form. If your cat does not eat a proper, complete, and balanced diet, various types of crystals may form. Crystals can also be caused by any condition which alters the pH of your cats urine, such as kidney disease or long-term medication use.

If you have no idea to changes the dietary for your cat or hesitant to do medication, there are natural ways to dissolve bladder stone in cats:

When added to your cats wet food, this ingredient can enhance the kidneys function, so these can filter out the urine. As the result, the urinary tract will be clean and healthy.


Parsley leaf

Uva Ursi leaf

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What Can You Do

As a pet owner, there are several measures you can take to protect your pets health.1. Make sure your cat gets plenty of water. Cats should have water available at any time of day.2. Include both wet and dry cat food in your pets diet.3. Observe your pet for signs of staining or inability to urinate.4. Contact your vet immediately if you notice these signs.

When Is Crystalluria A Concern

Urinary Obstruction in Cats

Crystalluria is often an incidental finding, and in many cases, no further investigation or treatment is needed your veterinarian can advise you if this is the case with your dog. However, if your dog is showing signs of a urinary tract infection having difficulty urinating, urinating frequently, urinating in unusual locations, or has blood in the urine its important to have a veterinarian examine your dog and perform further diagnostic tests. The signs could be caused by bladder stones, and the earlier the stones are diagnosed, the more options may be available for treatment other than proceeding straight to surgical removal.

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Preventing Male Cat Urinary Blockage

Unfortunately, once a male cat has a urinary blockage, there’s a higher risk of it happening again. At the first sign of urinary issues, you should have a conversation with your vet about selecting proper nutrition to better support your cat’s urinary health to reduce the risk of recurring issues. In highly recurrent cases it’s also possible for your vet to suggest a cat urethrostomy a surgery that creates an opening in the urethra above the blockage to allow for normal urine drainage.

Water consumption is an important part of flushing debris from your cat’s system and preventing blockage try offering them water from a drinking fountain instead of a bowl, flavoring a second water bowl with some tuna juice and switching them to canned food if they currently eat dry food.

Nutrition can also play an important role in preventing blockage. If your cat already experiences urinary health issues, then a therapeutic cat food may help dissolve your cat’s crystals or make it less likely they form new ones and maintain a healthy urine pH that contributes to overall urinary health. This food is available through your veterinarian and should be fed under the supervision of a vet ask your vet if a Prescription Diet cat food might be right for your cat..

How Does Diet Play A Role

When it comes to helping prevent struvite crystals and stones in your cat and maintaining their urinary tract health, nutrition plays a significant role! Both diet and water consumption can play a role in your cats urinary health. Cats arent natural water drinkers. As theyve evolved over millions of years and derived most of their moisture from their prey, its common for cats today to not always drink enough water. This is important to understand because struvite stones tend to form in a concentrated urine. Therefore, it is important to encourage adequate fluid intake can help prevent mineral concentration in urine and discourage stone formation. Dry cat food provides your cat with very little moisture in their diet, so considering incorporating wet food can be a great way to increase your cats water consumption.

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How Can I Treat My Cats Struvite Crystals At Home

Struvite crystals can be harmless or minor, but they can also indicate a more serious urinary condition. You should call your local veterinarian if you detect struvite crystals, but you can also assist your feline friend at home:

  • Encourage ample hydration with a pet fountain or by placing several water bowls throughout the house.
  • Feed them a struvite dissolution diet of wet canned meals that encourage diluted, pH-balanced urine.
  • Provide a quiet, stress-free area for your cat to urinate comfortably in.

What Are Struvite Crystals And Stones

Cat Urinary – Struvite Crystals In Cats

Struvite, crystals or stones are made up of ammonium, phosphate and magnesium. Often, they can be normally present in the urine without raising any problems. However, there are some cases where these crystals can form over time into a stone-like consistency where they become hardened. Ouch! Like in humans, bladder stones can be flushed out through the urine but are often very painful. In some cases, these stones can be dissolved with special prescription diets, but occasionally will require surgery to remove them. Struvite crystals and stones can form in both male and female cats and can make it difficult for them to urinate despite the persistent urge to do so. Yep, this is a recipe for one unhappy cat.

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Signs Of Crystals In Cat Urine

Crystalluria doesnt contribute to the development of many clinical signs, and one of its signs is crystals in the freshly passed urine that can be visible. But this sign is hard to notice because the expelled urine is mixed with the litter kit and thus the sight for the tiny crystals is often missed.

However, there are some other signs that can be attributed to the severity of the condition, the pathological conditions associated with Crystalluria and other Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. Knowing all these signs is helpful. They include:

  • Irregular or Abnormal urine patterns
  • Frequent urination
  • The cat is less active

Causes Of Bladder Stones In Cats

No two cats are completely alike. Since there are several different types of bladder stones that can form, the cause of bladder stones in cats can vary. Some of these causes may include:

  • Excess phosphate, ammonium, or magnesium in the urine
  • Urine pH out of balance
  • Dietary supplements or drugs that affect the urine
  • Congenital liver shunt
  • Breed predisposition

Do cats get bladder stones at certain ages? Cats can develop bladder stones at any age. Some types of stones are more likely to form at different life stages. The risk of developing calcium oxalate stones, for example, increases as your cat ages. These commonly show up in cats between 5 and 14 years old.

Do some cats have a higher risk of getting bladder stones? Common belief has suggested that neutered male Burmese, Persian, Siamese, and Himalayan cats may be genetically predisposed to developing calcium oxalate stones, but more research is needed to prove this for sure. Overweight cats, male cats, and older cats are more likely to develop these stones as well.


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Preventing The Recurrence Of Struvite Crystals

Though the root cause of urine crystals is largely unknown, there are a few preventative measures you can take to make sure your cat stays struvite stone-free. Unfortunately, if a cat has already experienced bladder stones, the likelihood of a recurrence increases. Regular visits to the vet are recommended to monitor the mineral concentration in your cats urine.

Since cats are carnivores, their urine is slightly acidic. Urine with high alkaline levels is more likely to develop crystals, so maintaining proper pH levels through a balanced diet is important. Your cats diet should incorporate plenty of animal proteins and moisture, whether through high-quality wet food, or an entirely homemade or raw diet. Cats who consume only dry food are at higher risk for developing bladder stones.

A dry food diet thats high in meat and low in carbohydrates and fillers will help to maintain optimal urine pH.

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Water intake is also very important for eliminating toxins and keeping the urinary tract clear. Make sure your cat always has fresh water, and consider switching up their diet so theyre consuming more wet food, which contains 7 times more moisture than dry food.

Symptoms Of Crystals In The Urine In Cats

What Do Crystals In Cat Urine Look Like

Though the main symptom of crystalluria is the appearance of fine crystals in freshly-expelled urine, other symptoms from accompanying conditions may also occur. Because crystals in the urine that are passed in the litter box may be missed by pet owners, other symptoms may help pet owners discover something is wrong with their cat. These symptoms may include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Passing only small amounts of urine
  • Frequent licking of the genitalia
  • Urinating outside of the litter box, such as on the bed or carpet
  • Depression
  • Irritation
  • Passing no urine, which is a medical emergency.

Since many of these signs can indicate a problem, it is best to have your cat seen right away if they are displaying any of them.

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Urinary Tract Diseases In Cats

Urinary problems are a very common cause of veterinary visits for cats. As desert animals, cats drink very little, because in the wild they get the fluid they need from their prey, and feline water metabolism is adapted to produce very concentrated urine. Cats that eat only dry food are especially susceptible to dehydration. Insufficient intake of fluids exposes the cat to urinary saturation and various urinary problems, which affect both males and females. The most common urinary problem in cats is stress-related inflammation of the lower urinary tract. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease and Feline Idiopathic Cystitis commonly occur in neutered and overweight cats. Urinary tract infections in cats are not very common compared with dogs.

You can try to prevent urinary tract problems by providing your cat with high-quality meaty food, making sure it has plenty of drinking water, and avoiding stressful situations. The water should be clean and fresh, served in a clean bowl, and changed regularly. A cat should have several litter boxes, with litter chosen according to the cats preferences. Litter boxes need to be cleaned often, because cats are tidy animals and do not want to visit a stinky toilet. It is good to observe the weight of the cat, and it is also advisable to play with the cat so that it can act out its natural predatory behaviour.

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Crystals are microscopic precipitants that can develop in your cats urine. Theyre usually discovered when you bring your feline to the veterinarian because of common urinary issues, such as urinating too frequently, not enough, or having accidents outside the litter box. Your veterinarian will run a urinalysis to check for sediment or crystals in your cats urine.

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Urinary Diseases And Your Cat

The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The development of urinary tract disease in cats is common, however, males have a greater risk of urinary disorders becoming life-threatening if not treated early.

Symptoms of urinary tract disorders can involve one or more of the following signs listed below. It is important to become familiar with the warning signs so your cat can commence treatment as early as possible. Some of the warning signs listed below can be a medical emergency please contact your Greencross Vets immediately should your cat show these signs.

How To Eliminate Crystals And Uroliths In Cats


The treatment of crystals in cat urine will depend on the type of crystal present. This is why it is important to achieve a proper diagnosis from a veterinarian. From a urine sample, the vet can identify the crystals by viewing them under a microscope. It is not always easy to appropriate a urine sample, which is why the veterinarian often has to extract it directly from the bladder of the cat. Stones can be seen with an x-ray, ultrasound or both.

Drugs can be used to remove some crystals. In addition, an important part of the treatment is diet and hydration, as we will see in more detail in the next section. With a specific diet, the struvite crystals can be dissolved. On the other hand, those of calcium oxalate are not going to be treated by dietary modification. If necessary, they will have to be removed with an operation. Cases of total obstruction are also resolved by surgical intervention.

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What Exactly Are These Crystals

When a cat produces urine in its kidneys, it is stored in its bladder and then released out of the body through the urethra. Along the way, the urine washes away dissolved protein waste and excess minerals, including struvite crystals, which are made up of phosphate, ammonium, and magnesium.

Typically, these crystals are microscopic and able to pass out before they become big enough to cause problems, but in the event that they arent excreted from the body, they can join together to form small, sand-like grains.

As they continue to grow into larger stones that vary in size and shape, these stones may start to restrict the outflow of urine, causing a build-up of urine and waste elements in the bladder. The tension in the bladder then causes pain, and the retained waste elements can seriously harm your cats body.

These stones can also form anywhere in the urinary tract, with those in the bladder being referred to bladder stones while those in the kidney are known as kidney stones. However, in some cases, the obstruction can occur in the urethra, which comes with a fatal risk of complete blockage of the urinary tract!

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Treating Pet Urinary Stones And Crystals

Once a vet identifies urinary crystals in dog urine or cat urine, the next step is to assess whether the crystals are likely to cause a problem. In some cases it is more important to treat a pet’s underlying condition first. For crystals that may lead to stone formation or urinary obstruction, dissolving or eliminating them is a higher priority. Nutritional adjustments and convincing your pet to drink more water will often treat crystals effectively, but surgery is also an option in severe cases.

While it’s rare for crystals to form as the result of poor nutrition or inadequate diet selection, nutritional imbalances can play a role. Nutrition is crucial when it comes to reducing crystals in cases where stone or urethral plug formation is a risk. Your vet will likely prescribe a therapeutic food to a cat or dog at risk for a urinary obstruction.

Make sure your pet always has access to plenty of fresh water. Keeping pets hydrated keeps their urine from becoming concentrated and makes crystals less likely to form. Offering additional sources of water along with wet food is strongly recommended.

As always, follow your vet’s advice on feeding and home care. Being vigilant about nutrition and water intake goes a long way toward reducing or even preventing crystal formation.

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