Have you been asked to provide us with your pet’s urine sample recently? Do you know what tests we run and what your pet’s sample can show?
A urine sample can give us lots of information about your pet’s health. We recommend that all senior pets (8 years +) undergo an annual urine test, along with a blood test and blood pressure check. These tests are included free of charge on our Pet Health Club.
How do I collect a urine sample from my dog?
The best time to collect a urine sample is first thing in the morning.
We recommend using a clean, dry takeaway container to collect the sample. When your dog squats or cocks his leg to urinate, slide the container under the stream of urine.
Then transfer the urine into the sterile urine pot we have provided, and ensure it is labelled with your pet’s details.
If you do not have a urine pot, you can use a clean, sealable container such as a thoroughly washed and dried jam jar.
How do I collect a urine sample from my cat?
If your cat is used to using a litter tray at home, we can supply you with a small bag of special non-absorbent cat litter. Clean and dry their litter tray first, then place the non-absorbent litter in the tray. After your cat has urinated, you can use the pipette provided to transfer the sample into the sterile urine pot.
If your cat will not use a litter tray, we can collect a urine sample in the surgery by placing a needle directly into the bladder through the abdominal wall (cystocentesis).
How much urine do I need to collect?
In most cases, we only need a few teaspoons of urine.
For the best test results, the urine sample should be between 2 – 4 hours old, but if you cannot get it to the surgery within this time, it can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
What information can a urine sample give?
Routine urine testing is carried out in-house by our veterinary nurses.
We use a refractometer to test the specific gravity of the urine, a measure of how concentrated the urine is. This gives us important information about your pet’s kidney function and other possible diseases.
Chemical testing is carried out using a dipstick, to check for the presence of:
- Glucose – can indicate diabetes mellitus or certain kidney conditions.
- Protein – can indicate infection, inflammation, kidney disease, etc.
- Blood – can indicate cystitis, infection, haemorrhage, etc.
- Bilirubin – can indicate liver disease or red blood cell damage.
- pH changes – can indicate kidney disease or infection.
- Ketones – can indicate diabetes mellitus.
The sample may also be examined under the microscope, to look for the presence of blood cells, inflammatory cells, bacteria, crystals, cancer cells or remnants of damaged kidney cells, known as casts.
Why was the sample sent to the laboratory?
If further tests are required, your pet’s urine sample may be sent to the laboratory.
Some of the tests that can be carried out include:
- Culture and sensitivity – checking for the presence of infection and susceptibility to certain antibiotics
- Protein:creatinine ratio – a test for the degree of protein lost through the kidneys in kidney disease
- Cortisol:creatinine ratio – used to rule out Cushings disease
If you have any further queries about urine testing, collecting a urine sample or our Pet Health Club, one of our veterinary surgeons or veterinary nurses will be happy to help.