It is very important to run a yearly urinalysis on your pet, especially as they get older. It is best to try and catch the first urine sample of the day.Keep in mind that the urine needs to be refrigerated. This will help to prevent bacterial growth.
When a urinalysis is performed it gives you insight into many important things; such as the specific gravity, pH, crystals, white blood cells, red blood cells, blood, protein, bacteria, and glucose. These values are important to look at yearly however, if your ever notice your pet drinking and urinating more or if their urine has a change in color or odor, a urine test should be run sooner vs later.
The specific gravity is very important as it gives us insight into how well the kidneys are functioning. The specific gravity lets us know the concentration of the urine. If the levels are within normal limits (1.015-1.050) then you know that the kidneys are functioning appropriately. Knowing the pH is determining whether the urine is acidic or alkalinic. The typical pH reference range is 5.5-7.0. If the pH readings are frequently high (alkalinic), adding something as simple as a cranberry extract supplement can bring that down. Over time if urine is too alkalinic , excessive amount of crystals can build up.They can sediment together and form bladder stones.More often than not these stones need to be surgically removed. This is very common with our feline friends and if a stone happens to get stuck in the urethral tract they are unable to urinate. This is considered an emergency and needs to be addressed immediately.There is a prescription diet available that can aid in preventing the formation of more stones. When white blood cells (WBC's) are present outside of the normal reference range you know that there is an infection of some sort in the urinary tract.White blood cells are there to try and fight it off- antibiotics are required to clear it up. If there are red blood cells (RBC'S) present outside of the normal range it can indicate that there is a hemorrhage somewhere in the urogenital system. When looking at the bacteria in the urine we have to keep in mind that most of it is caught while the animal is voiding. Urine is sterile when in the bladder but as it is being naturally voided it collects bacteria. In addition to that, urine that has been sitting out longer than approx. 30 minutes and not kept refrigerated, will experience bacterial growth (especially if the room temp is warm). To collect a sterile sample a cystocentesis can be performed. A needle is inserted directly into the bladder and urine is aspirated back. If there is a positive reading for glucose in the urine, it is very important to follow up with blood work. Having glucose in the urine can indicate diabetes.
On a lighter side when we ask clients to bring in their pets urine they always want to know the best way to do this.Try the "lucky ladel" technique......go to the dollar store and by yourself a urine owny ladel - make it longer by taping a stick (or something similar) to it - then as your darling dog goes to pee subtly place it under him or her and catch the urine....we don't need much.
cats - well..... unless you have an unusual feline species that doesn't mind you stalking him in the litter box - typically that has to be done at the office.