The team from the College of Veterinary Medicine is hopeful the new diet will help cats dissolve certain bladder stones and prevent future occurrences, and prevent a disorder known as feline idiopathic cystitis, in which cats suffer from bladder inflammation.
John Kruger, a professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, is leading the four separate clinical studies on a new commercial diet funded by a leading pet food manufacturer.
"The new diet is unique in that it is designed to help manage three common bladder disorders, which if left untreated can cause frequent painful urinations, house soiling and even urinary blockage and death," he said.
Minimising bladder stones
The new diet minimizes the building blocks of bladder stones by controlling levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and oxalate.
It also has high levels of potassium citrate and vitamin B6 to interrupt stone formation, Kruger added, and it is high in antioxidants to moderate inflammation and to reduce symptoms.
As part of the clinical trial, half of the felines will receive the new diet while half will receive a placebo diet formulated to represent the premium quality adult cat foods on the market.
The diets look exactly the same, and as cats are enrolled into the study they are randomly assigned.
Enrollment began in June 2009 and continues through December 2010. The study covers all costs related to the diagnosis and monitoring of the cat’s urinary disease and provides free food for up to two years.