An affliction well-known to be incredibly common in even the healthiest of cats, a trial was recently conducted to determine whether specific herbal compounds might lower the risk of urinary tract diseases in healthy cats (1).
Taking a study group of six random spayed females, three different Chinese medicinal herbs (Alisma, Wei Ling Tang, and San Ren Tang) were administered in either a 500mg dose for most days during a two week period, twice daily. During these trials, all cats were given the same dry adult maintenance diet, at the recommended amount for their age and size.
After the end of every 24 hour trial period, urine samples were collected from each cat with the use of a specially designed litter box, ending with a 1 week washout period as the cats were transferred to another 2 week trial of the next herbal supplement. With each sample, the urine was tested for its volume, pH levels and levels of struvite along with oxate crystals.
While there were high hopes for results of the study, at its end, there was found to be no significant difference in any of the properties within the samples, and it was determined that the administered doses of each herbal compound proved to be ineffective in reducing saturation indices or diluting the urine.
As these tests were conducted on healthy cats, and no actual tests were performed on cats with lower urinary diseases, it cannot yet be entirely determined how effective these herbal compounds may be on lowering its risk. This is partially due to the fact that study was highly limited by the small group consisting of entirely spayed females.
Those that conducted the study believe that a higher dose or more prolonged period of herbal therapy might prove beneficial in reducing a cat’s risk of developing a urinary disease, or that they might be more effective on those who are already afflicted, but at the current time, this had yet to be determined.
For the time being, it is not recommended to use any of the tested herbs for urinary treatment, as results are currently inconclusive (2).