Hartwood Library

Urinalysis DipstickUrinalysis is the analysis of the urine consisting of three parts:

  1. visual inspection
  2. chemical dipstick
  3. microscopic examination

A urinalysis can be done in the hospital or sent to a referral laboratory.

What can a urinalysis tell about your pet’s health?

Not only does a urinalysis help assess the health and function of the urinary system, but it can also show early signs of disease from within the rest of the body.

Urinalysis can be crucial in diagnosing Diabetes mellitus, kidney failure, and hypertension before visual signs are apparent; decreasing the amount of permanent damage done prior to treatment and increasing your pet’s chances of living a longer, healthier life.

Bladder infections, bladder stones, kidney stones, and bladder cancer can also be determined with the aid of urinalysis.

Anatomy of a Urinalysis

#1 Visual Inspection

Urinalysis Visual AnalysisVisual Inspection consists of determining the color and appearance of the urine and determining the specific gravity. Specific gravity aids in determining the kidneys’ ability to concentrate urine.

One of the kidneys’ key roles is to clear the body of water-soluble toxins, contaminants, and metabolic waste by acting as a filter. Water and important nutrients are returned to the body after the waste and toxins are removed. Abnormal specific gravity values may be an indication of kidney malfunction.

#2 Chemical Dipstick

Chemical dipstick is a plastic strip with several squares that react with the components within the urine. The dipstick can show the presence of glucose (sugar), protein, pH, blood, bilirubin (associated with liver disease or the break down of red blood cells), and ketones (products of fat break down from within the body).

microscope#3 Microscopic Examinations

Microscopic examination of the urine allows us to see the presence of bacteria, red blood cells, white blood cells, crystals, cells that come from the kidneys, ureters, and bladder.


Microalbuminuria is an additional test that is performed on urine sent to the referral laboratory. This test helps identify early signs of kidney failure that can be caused by either primary kidney disease or secondary to other systemic diseases such as: chronic infections, inflammatory disease, cancer and metabolic diseases (i.e. Cushing’s, Diabetes mellitus, and hyperthyroidism).