Gallstones are rarely seen in cats, but when diagnosed, they are most often found in male cats. They are usually found when a veterinarian is examining a cat looking for another disease that causes the feline’s illness. Gallstones, also known as cholelihiasis block, the flow of bile from the small intestine through the bile duct.
Cats with gallstones may show no signs of illness. Others may have a loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, appear jaundiced, seem dehydrated, and may have dark yellowish-orange urine and clay-colored stool.
What causes or why the body creates gallstones is not fully understood, but the common thought is that there is a build up of calcium, iron, and cholesterol in the gallbladder, which creates the gallstones. Generally, gallstones are a result of inflammation or an infectious disease of the liver.
An abdominal ultrasound may show a thickened gallbladder wall or varying degrees of bile sludging within the bile duct. Exploratory surgery may be conducted to help pinpoint the underlying cause of the feline’s illness. In many cases, gallstones are a secondary illness or indicator that something else is wrong.
Treatment should be given for the underlying condition. Most often an antibiotic is prescribed to clear up the bacteria invading the body. Ursodepxycholic acid, 10 to 15 milligrams within a 24 hour period, can be used to help dissolve the gallstones. Like in humans, surgery may be necessary to remove the gallstones.
The best course of action to find the underlying cause of gallstones is to consult your veterinarian. A series of short- or long term-treatments may be necessary to cure your cat.