Prescription Diets for Bladder Stones – Hocus Pocus or Life and Money Saver?

A Case Study by Jordan C (Veterinary Assistant)

When it comes to a recommended prescription diet from your veterinarian, many people feel unsure. We get the question: “Can a change in food REALLY treat allergies?”, or “cure my cat’s bladder stones?” The answer is yes! I know, I know, it does seem too good to be true, only having to feed your pet to treat their medical problems. Therefore I want to introduce to pet owners our clinic mascot and precious feline, Mishka Puddles.

Mishka’s story: Bladder Stones

Mishka’s first visit at MetroPet was one that consisted of every cat owner’s biggest fear (but a pretty common complaint); Mishka was urinating out of the litter box. The cause was unclear, but not only was she urinating everywhere around the home, there was also blood in her pee. After a thorough examination by Dr. Alice and taking x-rays of her bladder, we discovered she had two stones causing the inappropriate urinating and discomfort in her bladder (Panel A, below – stones are circled). Urinary stones are potentially deadly if they obstruct the ureter, so we gave her some pain medication to keep her comfortable, scheduled a surgery to remove them used a prescription diet until the surgery day to avoid surgery if possible. We used Hills Science Diet c/d urinary care food, which has been shown to dissolve certain types of bladder stones.

The shocking results of her diet change to a prescription diet

After about two weeks of eating nothing other than the c/d formula, the surgery morning finally arrived. In the meantime, her symptoms had completely resolved since switching to the prescription diet. Before proceeding with the surgery, we took one more x-ray of her bladder (Panel B, below – stones are circled) to confirm that the stones were still there- and they had almost completely dissolved! The food had done its job, and the surgery was no longer needed. Dr. Alice decided to wait another week to let the diet work before moving forward with other treatments (if they were even necessary). One week later and one more x-ray (Panel C, below – arrow points to the bladder) revealed there was no trace of any stones, and Mishka was back to perfect health and free of bladder stones! All we had to do was feed her.

Was the prescription diet really a lifesaver?

Urinary blockages from stones can cause death in pets. So aside from relieving Mishka’s pain and inappropriate urination, this treatment saved her life. Hills Science Diet c/d Multicare is proven to dissolve stones in as little as 7 days and is recommended as a lifelong diet to ensure optimal bladder health and reduce the risk of bladder stones. Not only does it promote good bladder health, but also provides adult pets with the appropriate nutritional balance they need. I stand by their diets 100%, and it truly is a cost saver in the long run.

How much money would it really save?

The cost of the surgery Mishka would have needed to remove the stones was about $1,400. A two-month supply of Hills c/d diet costs $40! In any event, I’d like to think any pet owner (and their wallet) would be willing to try a prescription diet as a preventative or as a first try for treatment. Medications can often times be expensive, and giving them to pets can be quite the task, but remembering to feed them is easy (and they even remind you!). Prescription diets are not much more expensive than other pet food, and the savings from keeping your pet healthy well outweigh the increased costs.

How the diet works:

Urine stones form in a certain pH range when concentrations of minerals are too high. Hills c/d works by modulating the pH of the urine and controlling the amounts of minerals in the food. If you feed only the prescription diet, then your pet will have a much less chance of developing bladder stones.