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Urine Tests

Examining urine can be extremely valuable when searching for health problems in pets. Undiscovered urinary tract infections can lead to chronically unwell animals and are much more common than you might think. Urine examination is also very important in monitoring kidney disease, diabetes, cushings and urinary incontinence.

Pittwater Animal Hospital offers an extraordinary range of in-house urine testing as well as external laboratory tests for a more complex work-up.

Information on collecting a sample.

In house urine testing includes

Urine Specific Gravity (USG) measurement

Kidneys are the fluid regulators of the body. They conserve water and can also expel excess water. The specific gravity of urine that has not been concentrated or diluted is between 1.008 and 1.012.

If kidneys are concentrating the urine the USG will be greater than 1.015. Concentrated urine shows that the kidneys are functioning in this task.

If there is too much water going into the body the USG will be very dilute. (Less than 1.008.) Sometimes USG will be as low as 1.001. Very low readings of USG show that the kidneys are doing the job of diluting urine. These low readings usually point to other health problems which are causing excess water intake.

Refractometer measures Specific Gravity

Urine Dipstick Measurement

These colour coded strips change colour when exposed to urine. The important readings include

  • Urine pH: Which may change to indicate an infection. Also important to indicate if bladder stones are more likely to form.
  • Urine Protein: May be a marker for infection of the renal system or for protein loss through the kidneys. 
  • Urine Glucose: An indicator of possible diabetes mellitus and monitoring strip for control of diabetes. 
  • Urine Ketones: An indicator of uncontrolled and life threatening diabetes mellitus.
  • Urine Red Blood Cells: Indicates bleeding into the urinary tract for any reason.
  • Urine Haemoglobin and Bilirubin: Occurs with changes in the blood and liver. 
Urine dipstick measurement

Sedivue Microscopic Examination

Pittwater Animal Hospital is very proud to have a state of the art microscopic urine analyser. Previously we would centrifuge, examine and stain urine manually in a laborious process that had nowhere near the accuracy of this machine.

The Sedivue takes a sample of urine and examines it microscopically, then uses facial recognition technology to identify the microscopic elements. It examines in detail much more of the urine than we ever could previously, giving far greater accuracy.

The Sedivue can discover red blood cells, white blood cells, abnormal cells, bacteria, crystals, cast fragments from diseased kidneys and much more. The test is performed in-house in a matter of minutes and images are sent to our data base.

We have found this equipment has dramatically improved our management of geriatric animals and animals with chronic conditions. Urinary Tract Infections are very common, hidden conditions, which if untreated can result in severe illness.

If you look carefully at this image, it shows red blood cells, white blood cells and a large number of sperm. Through this test we diagnosed prostatic disease in an intact male dog.

External Urine Tests include

Urine Culture and Sensitivity

Once an infection has been identified using the Sedivue Analyser a sample can be sent to an external lab. Here the technicians try to grow or culture the bacteria, then test which antibiotic those bacteria are sensitive to.

The process is time consuming and results may take five days or more to return. In a world of increasingly resistant bacteria this test can be essential to combat urinary tract infections. 

Bacteria growing on an agar plate in the presence of antibiotic sensitivity discs

Urine Protein/creatinine ratio

Some animals will need external tests like this to further investigate their kidney function. The UPC ratio can give a more accurate measure of kidney function, as long as no infection is present


In-house testing of urine can give us results within 30 minutes, whereas external tests can take a number of days to get the final report.

For more information about how to collect a urine sample from your pet follow the link.