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Ask the Veterinarian/DIatomaceous Earth and cats


Hello Jana,

I read the question from Christy and your answer about DE and cats. I have been using DE for bug control in my apartment. My cat was jumping on the counter and getting it on his feet. He is 16 years old and recently  got very sick. He stopped eating and seemed very lethargic. I took him to an emergency vet and they hospitalized him. He was severely dehydrated and had a kidney and bladder infection.

They did an abdominal ultrasound to see if he had cancer. They saw some shadows in his bladder and wanted to do further tests to determine if he actually had cancer. His regular vet took over after he was released. She reminded me that he had had a kidney/bladder infection last year and he got over it with antibiotics.

It dawned on me to do some research on the effects of too much DE getting into a cats body. He tracked it all around on a regular basis. This sludge that you say can be produced in the bladder by this... what can be done to get rid of it???

He is still on antibiotics. His kidney test came back normal this week, he was almost in kidney failure at the height of the crisis. Do you think that all of this could be caused by too much DE??? I have read all these reports that it is good to feed it to animals. I have never done this but he must have licked it off his feet. Thank you very much for your help with this.

Hi Venita,

It is in all likelihood that your sweet boy got sick because he is 16 and has had this previously. DE, as long as it's food grade, is pretty safe stuff. It is actually fed to cats, dogs, pigs, chickens and cattle!

The sludge I was speaking of in the bladder is a combination of bacteria, dead white blood cells and other bits crystals (which are minerals from the blood,etc) that form in the bladder during an infection. This sludge grows until it cannot be dislodged via the urethra in male cats as it is smaller in the male's penis than in female cats.
Thus it tends to plug up with this toothpaste-like sludge. This results in cats that become plugged or blocked- which is a life threatening medical emergency.

Your kitty is getting kidney/bladder infections due to age more likely. Kidney failure is one of the number one diseases geriatric cats get. I lost a 19 yr old and a 16 yr old cat to it.

They say that a good 30% of all cats will get it as they age.

So it's very doubtful that the DE he might have ingested would cause this problem. Make sure you are using FOOD GRADE DE and not pool grade. That is important as well.

But again, the chances of this having anything to do with his illness is pretty slim. Antibiotics, and a change of food to Hills K/D could keep him going for quite a while longer.

Here is a website that extolls the virtues of DE:

and another one:

Remember to be wary of All websites. Do not take medical advice from non medical websites.

I hope your kitty recovers quickly.  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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