Urolithiasis (Cystine) in Cats
Urolithiasis is described as the presence of stones or crystals in the urinary tract. When these stones are made of cystine — a normal compound found in the body — they are referred to as cystine stones. These stones can also be found in the kidneys and in the tubes connecting the kidneys to the animal's bladder (ureters). Urolithiasis is primarily found in adult cats, and the Siamese and Domestic Shorthair breeds show the highest likelihood for cystine stone formation. Fortunately, the stones can be dissolved and removed without surgery in most cases, giving the animal a positive prognosis.
Symptoms & Types of Urinary Tract Kidney Stones
Typical symptoms can include pollakiuria, dysuria, and an abnormal flow of urine (post-renal uremia).
Causes of Urinary Tract Kidney Stones
The exact cause for urolithiasis is not currently known. In some cats, however, the inability to process proteins or amino acids has led to the development of cystine stones.
Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Kidney Stones
Ultrasounds and X-rays are often performed to determine the size, shape, and location of the stones, helping the veterinarian come up with an appropriate treatment regimen. A urine test can also detect the presence of stones. In some cases, a scope with a camera on the end (urethrascope) is used to examine the inside of the urinary tract for any abnormalities.
Treatment for Urinary Tract Kidney Stones
A veterinarian will usually recommend using treatment options such as a special diet and medication [N - (2-mercaptopropionyl) glycine (2-MPG)] to reduce and eliminate the stones without surgery.
Follow all recommended dietary changes and administer prescribed medication. This will help prevent a recurrence of the stones. It is also important to bring the animal back to the veterinarian's office to ensure the stones have been successfully dissolved.
Prevention of Urinary Tract Kidney Stones
There are currently no known preventive measures for this medical condition.