Urinalysis – The Neglected Test.

Completing urine sediment exams.
Completing urine sediment exams.

Urinalysis is an important diagnostic tool in veterinary practice. It is indicated for any patient that presentations with polyuria or urinary tract signs, but also a necessary test to perform in conjunction with serum biochemistry.

Why do some clinicians fail to perform urinalyses even when they are indicated? Some reasons include:

  • Clinicians don’t see the importance of obtaining a urine sample.
  • The difficulty in obtaining a sample in some situations. The patient may not want to void.
  • No access to an ultrasound for a guided cystocentesis.
  • Patients may not urinate upon bladder expression.

However, it is important that clinicians make obtaining a urine sample a priority. Where possible, a sterile sample of urine using ultrasound-guided cystocentesis is recommended, especially when there is a possibility that the urine may be sent to an external lab for culture and sensitivity.

We have all been in situations were you have started a patient on IV fluids only to find an azotemia on blood tests. Now you cannot determine if it is a pre-renal or renal cause, as you don’t have a pre-IV fluid urine sample. Also it would be best to avoid the situation where you have run all other tests available on an ill patient only to find the answer lay in that urinalysis you did not collect earlier.