Scanning Electron Microscopy


Infrared spectroscopy of feline urinary stones revealed that struvite was the main constituent in 77.6 % of all concrements. However, only in 30.8% (16/52) of struvite stone patients were any infections of the urinary tract detected.

Scanning electron microscopical comparison of non-infected feline struvite stones and human struvite concrements which had grown in the presence of infection revealed clear differences. All the feline struvite concrements were of coarse crystalline construction with the crystalline form typical of struvite. Traces of partial solution and stratification were frequently detected on the crystalline surfaces. The human struvite stones whose growth had been accompanied by infection did not display these features; the predominant structures in these concrements revealed very little evidence of any ordered growth. Examination of the urine and calculation of the relative supersaturation showed that where physiological pH values and physiological concentrations of lithogenic substances were present sterile urine can become supersaturated with struvite.

The morphological peculiarities of the feline concrements and the results of urinary analysis indicate slow crystalline growth rates. Phases of growth alternate with periods of stagnation. This process may be influenced by dietary factors. In contrast to this, struvite stone formation in the presence of infection is characterised by rapid growth in continually supersaturated urine.

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