A Complete Urinalysis of Your Pet Dog or Cat : All the Gruesome and Gory Details!
Making Sense of Urinalysis for your Pet Dog or Cat:
Has your Golden Retriever Tim been his usual self lately? Or is he exhibiting signs of tiredness and irritability? Do you see him passing urine all over the house, losing control of himself? If so, you shouldn’t waste any time in getting him to the friendly neighborhood veterinarian, who will then have Tim subjected to a Complete Urinalysis.
What’s an “Urinalysis”? It’s a screening test that your pet dog or cat is subjected to if the veterinarian suspects any damage in its urinary tract or any abnormality. Such abnormalities may include a pronounced difficulty in urinating, the urine being of an unusual red or cloudy color, an abnormality in the urine flow, or an increase in the frequency of your pet’s urination.
So if your pet dog or cat exhibits any such abnormalities, then it definitely is a cause to be concerned about. It could indicate damage in your pet’s urinary tract – kidneys and bladder, an imbalance in glucose levels or a liver malfunction. Sufficient reasons for the vet to subject your pet to a Complete Urinalysis.
How is Your Pet’s Urine Collected?
The collection of your pet’s urine is done by a method called Cystocentesis. Basically, this involves piercing your pet dog or cat’s bladder with a tiny needle which is attached to a syringe, and collecting the urine sample. The urine thus collected is sterile and free from dirt. Also, this method is quick and painless.
Urinalysis Strip Test or Dipstick Test:
After the collection of the urine, the sample is subjected to a Urinalysis Strip Test or a Dipstick Test. In this test, your pet dog or cat’s urine sample is examined for the following.
1. Acidity Test : Here the pH of the Urine is measured. In healthy pets it should be in the range of 6.5 to 7. If it’s not in this particular range, then this indicates the presence of harmful bacteria.
2. Urine Specific Gravity: This gives a measure of your pet dog or cat’s urine concentration. We will discuss this at length later in the article.
3. Sugar: Presence of sugar in your pet’s urine is definitely a bad sign as it may mean that your pet dog or cat is affected by diabetes mellitus.
4. Blood: Blood shouldn’t ideally be found in your pet’s urine. Its presence means an inflammation, an infection, or the presence of stones in your pet’s bladder. All very serious concerns.
5. Protein: Urine samples of healthy pets do not have an overdose of proteins in them as this is usually an indication of an infection caused by harmful bacteria or a possible defect in the kidneys.
6. Ketones: Presence of Ketones in the urine sample explains why your pet lacks in energy, and may be a sign of diabetes.
7. Bilirubin: Bilirubin is a product of the blood’s haemoglobin. Its presence in your pet’s urine sample is a definite sign of a weakness in the immune system or a liver disease.
In Sediment Analysis, your pet dog or cat’s urine sample is subjected to a thorough, microscopic evaluation. This is a much more detailed and minute analysis than the Urinalysis Strip Test or Dipstick Test. In this process, the small test tubes containing the urine sample is spun at extremely high speeds, so that any abnormal particles in the urine settle down at the bottom of the tube. These elements are called Urine Sediments, are then removed, and subjected to extensive microscopic analysis – which is known as Sediment Analysis.
If the Sediment Analysis indicates the presence of Red Blood Cells and White Blood Cells, this means that either the bladder or the kidneys, or both, have been infected. Identification of the bacteria in the sediment is useful for the veterinarian to determine which antibiotic to prescribe for your pet. Presence of Casts and Crystals in the sediment is a sure sign of the kidneys and the bladder being affected.
Urine Specific Gravity:
As mentioned earlier, the urine specific gravity of your pet dog or cat indicates the concentration of its urine, which has a great bearing on the overall health of its kidneys. The urine concentration is said to be low or diluted if the specific gravity is 1.000 or lesser and high or concentrated, if it’s 1.040 or more. Typically, the urine specific gravity of your pet varies widely all through the day depending on its activities. It’s diluted when your pet is drinking a plenty of water and concentrated otherwise. Ideally, your pet’s urine specific gravity shouldn’t go beyond the 1.008 to 1.012 range. If the Urinalysis indicates otherwise, then definitely there is a cause for concern that there might be a kidney malfunction.