You can do that? Urinalysis

This month’s feature is urinalysis.
A urinalysis (urine testing) actually has three parts to it. Depending on the case, I may choose to perform any combination of these components, or all three. Who knew you could do so much with pee?
Urine Specific Gravity – this is a measure of the concentration of the urine. It gives me an idea how much the animal is drinking, and how well the kidneys are functioning. I measure this with a portable refractometer. By simply applying a couple drops to the device and looking through it, I get a specific number reflecting concentration.

Dipstick – This is a little strip of paper with special chemical squares. By applying a drop of urine to each square, I can tell if there is blood, sugar, or other things in urine that don’t belong, as well as the pH (acidity) of the urine.

Sediment – This is the most difficult part! We put the urine in the centrifuge (in the car) briefly to condense any debris. Then we put that portion, the “sediment”, onto a microscope slide. We’re looking for abnormal cells (indicators of cancer or infection) as well as crystals (big deal in cats!) or bacteria. Properly reading urine sediment takes a lot of practice, and sometimes involves applying stains to the urine to allow some things to show up better.

We can perform all three of these in your home. The whole process takes about 15 minutes. We also have the option of sending the urine to the lab for the same testing.