Prevention of Feline Struvite Bladder Stones

Struvite bladder stones often occur secondary to bacterial urinary tract infections. In many cases, however, these stones form in sterile urine and may be the result of dietary factors.Typical signs of struvite stones include:

  • Frequent urinations
  • Blood in the urine
  • Straining to urinate
  • Inappropriate urination outside the litter box

If these clinical signs are seen, we will want to assess the urine for abnormalities and possibly take x-rays if bladder stones are suspected.

Once bladder stones have been identified surgery is typically recommended for removal and chemical identification.  If the bladder stones are identified as struvite, the following steps are recommended to avoid recurrence:

  • Diet change - An acidifying diet is fed as these stones form in alkaline urine. The following prescription diets are acceptable to feed:

 Purina UR st/ox cat food
 Royal Canin Urinary SO diet

Do not add table food or other treats without checking first with us.

  • Increase water consumption - This can be accomplished by feeding canned food, watering down the dry food, or adding a small amount of flavoring such as bouillon or clam juice to the water. Some cats prefer to drink from a continuously circulating fountain water bowl that are available at many pet supply centers.  The goal is to increase urine output and thereby flush crystals and mineral,  that may predispose to calcium oxalate stones, out of the bladder.
  • Bring a urine sample in regularly (one month after surgery) and every 3 months thereafter. By assessing the urine we can ensure that the diet changes and other preventative measures are adequate.
  • If the stones have been found to be associated with a bacterial infection, repeat a urine culture after finishing the  prescribed antibiotic regimen.  A urine sample will be collected by us  and submitted to the lab to ensure that there is no bladder infection. Remember one of the causes of these stones is a urinary tract infection. If detected early, the infection can be treated with antibiotics prior to the recurrence of bladder stone formation.
  • Radiograph (x-ray) periodically starting at three months after surgery. This enables us to identify bladder and kidney stones. If detected early enough (ie: when the stones are small), they may be able to be removed by non-surgical means.