How to collect a pet’s urine sample
By Dr. Elizabeth Knabe, DVM
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC
In a previous article I discussed the importance of a urinalysis and what information we can get from it. In today’s article I will discuss ways to get that sample and how to store it before bringing it to your veterinarian.
Veterinarians often want to get morning urine from dogs to see how much they concentrate it. Timing of collection is not as important in cats. Once you get the sample, try to bring it in within one hour. If that is not possible, refrigerate it, and get it in by 12 hours.
The quickly delivered sample preserves delicate cells and casts. Prolonged storage of urine can allow artifacts such as crystals to form and bacteria to multiply. These changes can make a diagnosis using urine more difficult. We realize sometimes these things cannot be avoided though, so it is always good to communicate to your veterinarian how and when you obtained your sample.
Have a proper collection or storage container that is clean and free of chemical contaminants such as bleach, disinfectants, or detergents. It need not be sterile as the sample will pick up bacteria from the skin of your pet as she or he voids. Try to get at least 2 teaspoons from a dog and anything you can from a cat. It is usually fine to add samples together over time, but ask your veterinarian if this is OK before doing it.
For cats you can offer a clean, dry empty litter box. Put a few pieces of newspaper under the box at one end so when they are standing in the box the urine won’t pool around their feet. You can also try putting a box with regular litter in it inside of a clear plastic trash bag. Smooth the plastic down so that the cat stands on plastic but can see litter beneath its feet. A syringe will be helpful to draw up the urine. A special litter is also available that does not absorb fluids. The urine will stay on top and is easily removable.
For dogs take a thoroughly washed margarine container or plastic lid, and as your dog begins to urinate, slowly and gently put it in the stream. Moving too fast may startle your dog and make it stop urinating. A midstream sample is the most diagnostic as the fluids and cells from the lower tract get flushed out first. Then they will not interfere with the sample. You can try collecting from a female dog by taping a plastic baggie between her legs before letting her outside.
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC is located at 210 Airpark Road in Marshfield and online at wildwoodanimalhospital.net.