Liquid Gold...the quick and dirty on pet urine

'Why would anyone want to save it?' I can imagine my dog thinking as I try to sneak behind her with an empty half cup soup ladle. I am proud (and lucky) to report that I have a toy breed dog that urinates exclusively outdoors, and I would not want to do anything that interferes with her housebreaking success. However, I like to collect a few tablespoons of urine to examine it in the lab as part of her annual exam.

We are always happy to check your pet's urine in the lab. The test takes less than 20 minutes, and the test results may show problems with infection, kidneys, liver, adrenals or diabetes. To confirm your pet's ability to concentrate urine, please collect some of the first urine of the day.

Collection must be done in a clean container. An inexpensive soup ladle labeled and used only for urine works well. I keep mine in the laundry room for storage. Sometimes a new baking sheet pan can be a good collection container. Urine that contains cat litter, urine that was squeezed from a piddle pan, or urine that was suctioned from the floor should not be brought to the lab. Once you have collected the urine, you may pour it into a clean container that will not spill in your car. An old pill bottle may be rinsed and air dried, then used to transport the urine; this is great because it already has your name and your pet's name.

Many people find urine smelly, which may be due to the nitrogen waste that it contains, or due to bacteria. However, our pets may detect odor about three hundred times more sensitively than people. And the nitrogen component of the urine appears to be very important for pet communication. Many pets will stroll around the neighborhood sniffing, then urinating near the sniffed spot, as if trying to say, 'I was here, too,' using the magic of invisible urine graffiti. If you wish to try to reduce urine marking inside, don't use an ammonia based cleaner, since the pets will detect the nitrogen in the ammonia. Cleaning with ammonia may actually reinforce urination in inappropriate locations.

Bacteria may also contribute to the odor of urine. When possible, please use gloves when cleaning urine to protect yourself from urine bacteria. Leptospirosis is a bacteria that may be transmitted from pet urine through cut fingers or water logged skin. Fortunately, our annual dog vaccine prevents this disease. Promptly transporting the collected urine to us can prevent smelly bacteria from growing in the urine, and may also prevent changes to the urine, which can interfere with interpretation of lab results.

A urine test may be the most valuable part of your pet's health screening. If you would like us to test your pet's urine, but you were unable to collect a sample, we may be able to collect a sample while at Total Pet Hospital. This could be a fast and easy way to prevent medical issues. Let's work together to give your pet his best life.

Maureen Kubisz, DVM, CVA

Total Pet Hospital LLC

1100 US Highway 9

Howell, NJ 07731

(732) 780-4499

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