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Image Gallery: Urinalysis in Small Animals

Maxey Wellman, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVP (Clinical Pathology)

M. Judith Radin, DVM, PhD, DACVP (Clinical Pathology), The Ohio State University

Urology & Nephrology

|May 2015|Web-Exclusive

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Urinalysis, which can easily be performed in-house, is helpful in establishing baseline data, especially for comparison with ongoing clinicopathologic data for dogs and cats with clinical signs of urinary tract disease. Preferred collection methods include free-catch, cystocentesis, and catheterization. Ideally, urine should be examined within 30 minutes of collection. If analysis is delayed, containers should be protected from exposure to UV light and tightly capped. Urine can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but refrigerated samples should reach room temperature prior to analysis.

Related Article: Struvite Crystalluria: Three Cases

Color and turbidity of urine should be evaluated before centrifugation. Specific gravity can be measured by refractometry on a turbid sample with or without centrifugation, but turbid urine should be centrifuged prior to chemical analysis with commercial reagent strips.

Complete urinalysis includes microscopic examination of urine sediment, prepared by centrifuging a standard volume of urine (10mL) at 1500 rpm for 5 min, decanting the supernatant, and resuspending the sediment by gently tapping on the tube. The sediment can be evaluated with or without staining. Using freshly collected urine and precipitate-free stain results in fewer artifacts. A drop of the sediment is placed on a glass slide and covered with a coverslip. Improved contrast of the sediment is achieved by lowering the condenser and partially closing the iris diaphragm. Low-power (100×) magnification is used to identify casts, crystals, cells, sperm, mucus, and lipid droplets. High-power (400×) magnification is used to identify erythrocytes, leukocytes, epithelial cells, microorganisms, and crystals. Results are recorded as number of elements per low-power field (/lpf) or per high-power field (/hpf). 

Related Article: Atypical Transitional Epithelial Cells

Dr. Wellman is a professor in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is a recipient of the Carl Norden-Pfizer Distinguished Teacher Award and the Dean’s Creativity in Teaching Award. Dr. Wellman has given numerous hematology and cytology CE presentations, including a cytology workshop at NAVC Conference. She is past president of the American Society of Veterinary Clinical Pathologists and past president of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. In addition, Dr. Wellman is the cytology/surgical pathology section editor for Veterinary Clinical Pathology. Her clinical areas of interest are hematology, cytology, and the scholarship of teaching, and her current area of collaborative research is regenerative medicine.

Dr. Radin is a Professor in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is the Section Editor for Invited Reviews for Veterinary Clinical Pathology and on the journal’s editorial board. She is past president of the American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathologists. She has served on and chaired the board certifying examination committee for the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. Her clinical areas of interest are chemistry, cytology, hematology, and coagulation. She is a member of the Dorothy M. Davis Heart & Lung Institute and Center for Clinical and Translational Research where she studies cytokine and eicosanoid mediators of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.


For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

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