Case of the month – January 2012

The great thing about being a Vet is that no two days are the same.  We see some very interesting cases and thought you might find it interesting to hear about some of them in our ‘Case of the month’ section. This month we had a small cat, Macaroni, present with blood in her urine.  She was very bright in herself but had a ravenous appetite and was losing weight. A urine sample was obtained at home by using clever litter tray stones that do not absorb liquid.  The sample showed no sign of bacterial cystitis but lots of red blood cells and protein.  This was suspected to be the reason for the weight loss as she was losing protein and had to eat more to try and maintain her weight. On examination she was a very happy little cat but had a thickened inflamed bladder which she did not like being palpated.  Under sedation we obtained an x-ray using our fantastic digital x-ray machine.  You can clearly see three stones within her bladder.  The stones are incredibly spikey and sharp resulting in a thick bladder wall that bleeds easily. Stones are formed due to crystals developing in the bladder – a bit like a cup of tea going cold and the sugar dissolving out.  Over time the crystals clump together and a stone is formed.  Cats are very prone to stone formation because they often do not drink very much and thus produce concentrated urine. Given the number and size of the stones on discussion with the owners Macaroni was taken to surgery and had the three stones removed surgically.  As Macaroni was already sedated we converted that into a general anaesthetic and performed the surgery straight away.You can see a picture of the stones after removal in the gallery section hidden at the bottom of the page to save those who are squeamish!  The handle to the side of the photo is 1cm across to give you some idea of size. These stones have been sent all the way to the USA for free analysis!  In America is the world centre for Uroliths (bladder stones) and they will crush up your stones and analyse them for free to help with their world-wide research. Depending on the type of crystals that make the stone we can then change Macaroni’s diet to reduce the likelihood of this happening again.  In the meantime she has made a full recovery and is back to her old self, eating wet food very happily (to encourage her to urinate more often) and is loving the fact that she is still allowed to use a litter tray in the warm and doesn’t have to go outside! More news when the stone results are back in 3-4 weeks.