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Feline Urine Testing (Urinalysis)

REPRINT: VetInfo Digest, January 1999

“The simplest method of evaluating kidney function is to perform a urinalysis, if it is possible to get urine without too much difficulty. .. If urine is being produced it is usually possible to get a urine sample by catching urine in a container as the pet urinates or by cystocentesis —- inserting a needle into the bladder and withdrawing urine”....

“There are a number of urine test strips available to veterinarians. They may contain as many as 12 individual tests on each strip, each for a metabolite found in urine under normal or under abnormal circumstances. Of these tests, the urine pH, glucose, protein and blood tests are probably the most useful. Glucose should not be found in the urine under normal circumstances. When glucose is found in the urine it indicates a possibility of diabetes mellitus. There are other conditions that can cause glucose to show up in urine, such as Fanconi syndrome and in some urinary tract infections.....”

Urine pH should be about 5.5 to 7.0, meaning that most pets have slightly acidic urine. There are metabolic disorders that can lead to pH changes in the urine but this test is most commonly used to evaluate for the possible presence of urinary tract infection....”

“Protein is normally lost in the urine in very small quantities. For this reason, it is important to consider the protein value from a dipstick in conjunction with the specific gravity of the urine sample.... Measuring the urine protein:creatine ratio is helpful in deciding if protein loss is significant....”

“Blood in the urine normally indicates urinary tract infection or inflammation. It can be associated with cancers of the urinary tract and with bladder stones, kidney stones or stone formation anywhere else in the urinary tract as well.... Catheterization or aspirating urine from the bladder with a needle can result in urine contamination with blood.....Many of my clients are almost unaware of the possibility of making important evaluations from urine...it is important to remember that using blood tests in conjunction with urine tests is more accurate in many instances and is preferable when possible.”

“Urine can also be evaluated microscopically for the presence of crystals, bacteria, unusual cells and other visible contaminants that can be useful in making a diagnosis..... If cancer is affecting the urinary tract it may be possible to detect this by examining cells in the urine microscopically. Large numbers of white blood cells indicate urinary tract infection or inflammation.”

Michael Richards, DVM

Last updated 2/18/2005.
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