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I recently took my cat to the vet because he seemed to be having some discomfort with using the litter box. The doctor discovered some blood in his urine and wants to do an x-ray to see what's going on. He said it is likely to be a bladder stone. The other less common problem is a bladder disease that I cannot remember the name of. The x-ray is scheduled for the end of this week (8/8/2014).

Between now and then, the doctor advised me to provide him with an extra water bowl and change it more frequently. He's an indoor cat in a 2 bedroom apartment. He doesn't have far to go for it.

If it is a bladder stone, what sorts of changes will I need to make for my cat (diet, exercise, etc). He is approximately 5 years old and we got him at a shelter. Should I expect surgery of any kind? Does anyone know the approximate costs associated with this condition?

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At this point, without knowing what stone(s) have formed, it's pretty hard to answer and cost, well, is entirely regional to be honest.

At any rate, a lot of people don't realize this, but there 10 different kinds of stones that can form in the urinary tract and the type is based on the chemical composition. Since this is about cats, I'll comment on the two types common to felines because expectations and resolutions differ a little:

Calcium Oxalate

These are the most common types in cats and, unfortunately, the cause of formation is unknown. As a consequence, non-surgical treatment isn't really an option. So, expect surgical intervention as likely if the circumstances warrant it. Afterwards, there are diets that can be constructed to help reduce incidences of this type of stone and you'll want to do this because recurrence is not uncommon. Increased water intake is also desirable and often a problem doing with cats.

Struvite

Not as common as magnesium (one of the molecules in the composition) is often already reduced in feline diets thus lowering incidences. At any rate, the management of this is about getting the acidity level of the urine increased and further reducing the amount of magnesium in the diet so that the body starts to dissolve the stones. So, aside from the food change, you're also looking at frequent check-ups with the vet to ensure the stones are dissolving and that the diagnosis of the stone type was correct.

Others...

These are pretty uncommon in cats and the treatment is basically surgical. They sufficiently rare that there hasn't really been much research into treatment options for cats.

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