How to get a urine sample from your pet!
For October and November we are focusing on endocrine diseases. These diseases are caused by the body producing too much or too little of a certain hormone and are found in humans as well as animals and have many signs in common.
Common hormonal diseases seen in cats are hyperthyroidism (where the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone) and diabetes mellitus (where the insulin is not working). They are mainly seen in older cats.
Common symptoms of these diseases are weight loss, increased appetite, thirst and urination.
Common hormonal diseases seen in dogs are Cushing's disease (where too much cortisol is produced), diabetes mellitus (where insulin is not produced) and hypothyroidism (where thyroid hormone is not produced). There are other conditions too but they are far less common. Again in these diseases we may see increased appetite, increased thirst (although not with hypothyroidism) and urination. We may see weight changes and changes in hair coat.
All these diseases are diagnosed by using a combination of blood tests and urine samples along with the clinical signs that the animal is displaying. It is therefore important for us to be able to examine a urine sample. Here is some advice on how to collect a urine sample from your animal at home.
Sample pots can be obtained from all branches of Larkmead Vets and there are special collection kits (uripets) especially designed for bitches which will make urine collection easier. Alternatively it may be easier to slide a small flat tray or Tupperware container under to collect the urine. Please make sure it is cleaned well and rinsed with hot water before collection as any residues may give false readings.
It is advisable to wear gloves whilst doing this as you are likely to get splashed in urine!
Try to collect the sample first thing in the morning. This way the urine is likely to be at its most concentrated and tell us the most information as the dog will have been collecting the urine in its bladder all night. Take your dog on a lead into your garden or for a walk. Place the pot under the dog at the point of urination, ideally just after the dog has started to urinate, that way collecting a midstream sample. Put the lid on the pot.
Drop the sample into the vets as soon as possible. It can be stored in the fridge until later if you can not deliver it early in the day. Please write the dog's name and your name on the pot and the time and date when the sample was collected.
It can be very difficult to collect a urine sample from a cat. Here is a suggested way but a vet will often take urine from the cat at the same time as taking blood if you don't succeed so do not stress about getting a sample unduly. You may have to shut your cat inside to encourage them to use a litter tray.
Firstly you will need to get some Katkor, which is non-absorbent cat litter made from white plastic balls - this is available from Larkmead and is not expensive. You may need two packets if your cat likes deep litter. Inside the packet you will also find a pipette and a tube in which to place the urine.
Empty your cat's litter tray of normal litter, wash well and rinse well in hot water. Then place the non-absorbent cat litter in the tray. Collect the urine as soon possible once your cat has urinated. This can be done by tipping up the tray to allow the urine to collect in a corner. Use the pipette to suck up the urine and place in the tube.
Drop the sample into the vets as soon as possible. It can be stored in the fridge until later if you can not deliver it early in the day. Please write the cat's name and your name, the time and date when the sample was collected on a piece of paper and take with the tube to the vets.
Make sure you wash your hands well after handling the urine sample.
If you have any concerns, you can bring a urine sample into us during October & November for free basic analysis. If any anomalies are found, we can discuss further options.