While it is not unusual for a pet to have an accident the waiting room or while standing on an examination table, your vet’s reaction to that accident may be considered unusual. As the embarrassed pet family is grabbing for a paper towel or a tissue to mop up, you may hear us blurt out “stop” so that we can get a syringe to collect the urine.

Over 10 answers in just one puddle

At Teva, a full urinalysis tests 14 different parameters from just a few mls of urine. Some of the parameters are assessed visually, like colour and clarity. A urine dipstick measures six values simultaneously – especially important here are glucose and ketones – indicators of potential diabetes. The urine is spun in a centrifuge and the material that collects on the bottom of the test tube is specially stained and evaluated under the microscope. Finally, a drop or two of urine is placed on a refractometer, a device that measures the specific gravity and assesses how concentrated the urine is.

A Snapshot of Your Pet’s Health

The results from tests performed on that teaspoon of urine we rushed to collected off the table or floor gives us a whole lot of information about your pet’s health. The finding of red and white blood cells and bacteria when the urine is evaluated under the microscope suggests a urinary tract infection. Observation of specific types of crystals in the urine may indicate infection, a dietary problem or if your pet has bladder stones, the type of crystals gives a hint as to the type of stones, making treatment more specific and successful. In addition to filtering the blood to remove waste products from the body, the kidneys help maintain the body’s water balance. If you pet is drinking too much, the kidneys will excrete the excess, if they are drinking too little, they hang on to every molecule of water they can resulting in a very concentrated urine. When the kidneys don’t work well, they lose the ability to dilute and concentrate the urine. Measurement of a urine specific gravity, part of a routine urine test, helps veterinarians assess the kidney’s ability to dilute and concentrate and is a partial measure of kidney health.

So much information from just a few mls – it’s no wonder everyone at the practice gets so excited over a bit of urine : )