Urinalysis: The Liquid Gold Standard of Veterinary Diagnostics
Updated: Feb 16
Why Urine Testing?
Currently, up to 50% of the dog population in the US whose veterinarians utilize IDEXX as their diagnostic lab, and 80% of the feline population do NOT have an up to date (UTD) urinalysis on record.
Why does this matter?
While we all know the importance of annual bloodwork (CBC/Chem Screen), far too often we as veterinary professionals tend to chalk up the lack of ordering U/A’s to one of two things:
1) Not necessary
2) Not feasible
Addressing this first point is more than slightly important. Yes, we can learn the majority of what we need to know about a patient’s physiologic status via their cellular counts and primary renal & hepatic enzymes. But what we can miss may have significant impacts for our patients as well.
For example, too much urobilinogen in urine may be a sign of liver disease, or certain types of anemia. Whereas too little or no urobilinogen may be a sign of other problems with the liver, gallbladder, or bile ducts.
Which then leads us to another vital organ pairing – the kidneys. Urinalysis is an essential
test for evaluating their function, and EVERY blood is collected for a wellness chemistry profile, a urine sample should also be obtained, especially on the initial sampling. Starting with a baseline is important as changes in renal parameters cannot be interpreted without knowledge of the urine results. For example, a high BUN and creatinine (azotemia) in a dehydrated patient with a concentrated urine (urine specific gravity > 1.030 in a dog) is compatible with a pre-renal azotemia, whereas azotemia in a dehydrated dog with a USG of 1.010 indicates a renal azotemia.¹
Point number two is a multi-faceted issue as it can stem from either a lack of available or appropriately trained team members, an overly-booked appointment schedule, a lack of low-stress handling utilization or a fractious patient that is difficult for both the client and the clinical team to handle.
This is where low-stress handling training such as FearFree℠ for clinical team members comes in, as well as skill labs for performing appropriate urine collection methods, and client education on pre-appointment treatments and techniques. However, these solutions also present other challenges such as time for training & conversations with the client.
What is a veterinary practice to do? Find an alternative testing methodology to save time, money, stress – for the patient, team & client – and get you the complete diagnostic picture you want, and your patient deserves. Read on…
Sometimes getting the sample is the hard part. Our patients aren’t always the most cooperative, and stress IS a huge factor. So, how about the client collects the urine sample at home, instead of your VTs and VAs doing it in the clinic? Easy, peasy right? Actually, yes!
“Wee Wands” or “Wee Sponges” for our canine companions and feline-friendly non-absorbable litter for our cat cuddlers makes this chore, less of one. Instead of wrestling with our dogs while on leash, the “Wee Wand” is extendable, flexible, and easy to position right underneath your dog without interrupting their flow. A sterile collection cup is provided along with instructions for the client on how to transfer what they’ve collected into the cup. Done & done!
Those shorter legged doggos - yes Corgis and Dachshunds we’re looking at you - get the “Wee Sponge” as an attachment and no, your client does NOT have to wring it out to get the sample. They simply place the sponge directly into a sterile bag for processing. No lingering liquids for you, less mess for them.
For those finicky felines, QSM provides non-absorbable litter that comes in two different varieties depending on the cat’s preference, as well as a syringe to draw up what the patient has left behind.
We are all very well aware that sometimes a completely sterile sample is necessary and that’s when your clinical team’s skills come into play. However, for those non-urgent and/or recurrent cases where sterility isn’t a primary concern, these kits will not only save you & your team time & energy, but will include your clients in the diagnostic process. Giving them a sense of investiture and involvement, which will thereby increase their compliance.
Show Me the Results!
FetchDx provides your veterinary practice with at-home urinalysis kits for dogs AND cats. Providing the above-mentioned collection systems as well as a pre-paid shipping label. Your client picks up the kit from you, follows the instructions (included with the kit after already being relayed by you), registers their kit online, obtains the urine sample, and sends it to QSM for analysis. As early as 24 hours later, you’ll have your patient’s results. Boom, done.
Now, if your patient is a repeat UTI offender, this is even more of a game-changer for you. No nagging phone calls or reminders, no more patients waiting to be seen. Instead you have an external laboratory & veterinarian’s confirmed diagnoses to validate your own findings, and direct communication between you, the lab, and your client. Getting you the answers you want, and the relief your patient needs, fast. Win, win.
Where Can I Learn More?
There’s only so much information we can relay in this post, so make sure you head to our main website and read through the FAQs. And don’t forget to let your clients know that these kits are available – they will help you help your patients even more.
At the end of the day, we’re here for the same reason – to provide your patients with the best possible care they can get. Ensuring the testing they need is accessible, accurate, and approachable – for them. Less stress, less mess, more time for your team, and more peace of mind.