At Medivet we offer free urine tests for any cat or dog over eight years old when they come in for their yearly check-up.
Urine testing can be a quick and easy way to detect problems in older pets.
The earlier we detect many of these conditions the more we can do to slow down their progress and keep your pet happier and healthier for longer.
How to get a urine sample
It’s usually easiest to collect a sample as your dog urinates. We can provide a funnel and attached container or you could use a container of your own (make sure thoroughly washed, rinsed and dried before collection or may affect results).
The fresher the sample the better and its best if you get it to us within a couple of hours, if this isn’t possible then store in the fridge.
The easiest way to obtain urine from your cat is to place non-absorbable ‘Katkor’ cat litter (which we can provide) in your cat’s normal litter tray.
If you have more than one cat or your cat urinates outside then you may need to separate them until the sample is collected (be prepared – cats can hold on for a long time when they want to!).
If your pet is very reluctant to give you a sample then let us know – there are other options that we can discuss with you.
What we do with the urine sample:
We first check how concentrated the urine is using a piece of equipment called a refractometer.
The concentration of the urine gives us important information about how well the kidneys are functioning.
Next we use a dipstick to measure the levels of various constituents of the urine including protein, white blood cells, red blood cells and glucose.
What urine can help us to diagnose
Urine tract infection:
If your pet has white and red blood cells and bacteria present, most likely it has a urine infection. This is found most often in female dogs and cats, although can occur in males.
Clinical signs usually seen are producing urine little and often, blood-tinged urine or occasionally incontinence. However sometimes, especially in our older pets, they can have on-going infections and owners notice very few signs.
It is important this condition is treated with antibiotics before it worsens.
The kidneys filter the blood, excreting waste products into the urine. They also alter the concentration of the urine, retaining or excreting water as necessary. If the urine is inappropriately dilute it may mean the kidneys are unable to conserve water – an early sign of kidney failure.
Common clinical signs include increased drinking and urination, and a general loss of coat and body condition. It is most commonly seen in older cats and occasionally dogs.
It is important to start treating as early as possible for the best outcome for your pet.
If your pet is diabetic they will have a high concentration of glucose (sugar) in the blood. The kidneys filter this into the urine, so a high level of glucose in the urine may mean your pet has diabetes.
Signs of increased drinking and urination, wanting to eat more but losing weight are most commonly seen.
Diabetes can be controlled very successfully, and the earlier we catch it the sooner we can start treating it.
Increased red or white blood cells in your pets urine and abnormal cells may lead us to suspect they have a mass somewhere in the urinary tract. Examination of the urine under a microscope at the practice or an external laboratory may give us more information.
These masses may be cancerous or benign but often early detection can give us a better chance of being able to control the signs they cause.
Urine sampling is one of the best ways to check for the early signs of problems in your older pets – they don’t mind the sample being taken (usually!) and it may give us the chance to intervene before a condition starts to affect their quality of life.
If you have any queries regarding urine testing or anything else, please give your local Medivet practice a call. New client? Please find your local practice by using our online practice finder.
Posted July 4, 2014 in Preventative Healthcare