The cat is a very sensitive animal to the problems of the lower urinary tract. Among the causes of these pathologies is the formation of microcrystals in the urine that can aggregate and degenerate into stones.
These problems are very often the consequence of a poor-quality diet. Obtained using industrial feeds that contain waste products, appetizers and chemical additives. We also find those at the level of the urinary tract. Let’s see in detail cat pee what do crystals in cat urine look like?
Cat pee what do crystals in cat urine look like
There are several predisposing factors for the formation of crystals in the cat’s urine:
- Surgical sterilization
Beyond these three factors on which the owner cannot do much. It is important to take into account the cat’s diet and degree of physical activity. Because overweight animals are more predisposed. Even the cat that drinks little is more predisposed to the formation of stones.
The crystals most frequently found in the urine are those of struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate hexahydrate), followed by those of calcium oxalate.
They are formed following the intake, through the diet, of microscopic quantities of minerals that aggregate in the urine until they precipitate when a certain concentration is reached, leading to the formation of sandstone (the “gravel”), or to larger formations (real calculations). These irritate the bladder wall, inflame it, and can funnel it into the urinary tract until it becomes blocked.
Symptoms, diagnosis and therapy with crystals in the cat’s urine
If the cat suffers from this condition, it tends to have difficulty urinating and will pee more often but in small quantities because it cannot completely free the bladder. There may also be a few drops or more blood in the urine.
Furthermore, the cat tends to lick its tail often to try to relieve the burning, remaining in the urination position in an attempt to free itself.
In the male cat, obstruction of the lower passages is quite frequent, due to the shape and size of the urethra, which is a tube with a very small diameter lumen that forms an “S”: at the level of the curvature the crystals are deposited, also bringing to its complete occlusion. If this happens the cat is unable to urinate and the liquid will accumulate inside the bladder to its maximum dilation.
The consequences can be severe: stagnant urine is reabsorbed together with its toxic components, leading to self-intoxication. The cat will present with depression, abdominal pain, vomiting, secondary renal failure. If this event occurs, the intervention of the veterinarian is urgent and essential!
The diagnosis of crystals in the urine will be made on the basis of the medical history, analyzing clinical signs, urinalysis, blood, possibly ultrasound and radiography.
The therapy consists of introducing a catheter into the urethra, in order to push the stone into the bladder and free the urethra, allowing urine to escape. This maneuver must be followed by suitable drug therapy. In the most severe and relapsing cases, it may be necessary to resort to surgical therapy.
Following this treatment, it will be essential to do everything possible to avoid relapses, by administering an ad hoc diet and making the cat assume the right habits.
How to prevent the formation of crystals in the urine
The ideal would be to avoid reaching a full-blown pathology, preventing the formation of crystals thanks to a quality diet for the entire duration of the cat’s life. This will ensure the well-being of the whole organism in general, and also a better activity of the urinary tract.
In fact, nutrition plays a fundamental role in the development, therapy and prevention of Flutd (pathology of the cat’s lower urinary tract).
A low-fat diet will serve to minimize the risk of obesity which, as mentioned, is one of the predisposing factors to the formation and precipitation of crystals.
Another good habit is to push the cat to drink: a greater intake of water will lead the cat to urinate more frequently, causing the atoms that make up the crystals to be eliminated, not allowing them to aggregate.
A specific diet against the formation of crystals in the urine
In the event that the cat has a predisposition to the presence of crystals in the cat’s urine, a specific veterinary diet may be necessary. There are products on the market that have a formulation designed to reduce the aggregation of crystals, create an unfavorable urinary environment for the precipitation of salts and bacterial multiplication, and contain active ingredients with a diuretic action to determine greater urinary dilution.
The purposes of this diet are to increase the solubility of the crystals in the urine, to increase urinary production and to prevent, by regulating the urinary pH, the formation of the crystals themselves.
The pH of the urine in fact affects this formation: struvite precipitates in an alkaline environment (contrasted by ammonium chloride and methionine), while calcium oxalate in an acidic environment (contrasted by potassium citrate or sodium bicarbonate).
The right percentage of proteins contained in the diet varies according to the type of crystals to which the cat is predisposed since this affects the urinary pH.
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