Cat at vets

Which cats have the highest risk of kidney stones?

A new study has identified the cat breeds that have a greater risk of developing stones (hardened accumulations of minerals, also known as uroliths) in the kidney and ureter.

Researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) found that there is a higher risk of diagnosis in five breeds: British shorthair, Burmese, Persian, Ragdoll and Tonkinese. However, non-purebred cats (most frequently Domestic shorthair) still represent the majority of cats seen with this condition.

As part of the RVC’s VetCompass Programme, the research team performed an observational cross-sectional cohort study of all the cats seen as referral patients at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals over a 10-year period. The team examined 11,431 cats that had been assessed using abdominal imaging such as ultrasound, x-ray and CT scans and identified 521 cats with evidence of upper urinary tract uroliths.

In terms of age, cats aged 4-8 years were found to have the highest risk of being diagnosed with upper urinary tract uroliths.

Risk factors for cats with these uroliths developing a potentially life-threatening ureteral obstruction include being female and having uroliths in both kidneys. The study also found that the younger a cat is when diagnosed with kidney stones, the higher the risk of the cat developing a ureteral obstruction.

Vets should be aware that cats presenting with azotaemia (increased kidney markers), particularly those under 12 years of age, could have a ureteral obstruction and require abdominal imaging to rule this out, said Rebecca Geddes, lecturer in Small Animal Internal Medicine at the RVC.

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