Don't drink yellow rain...

Last weekend I took our two boys camping for the first time. I emphasise “I” because Annelise jumped on the opportunity to have an evening off while I spent some “quality” father and son time! It certainly wasn’t a Bear Grylls type affair – we filled the entire boot of the car with our equipment and I think I spent just as much time setting up and putting away as we did appreciating the fruits of our labour. Overall they had a great time despite the fact that in true British style, it absolutely poured with rain all afternoon / night.

 I awoke at 5am after an incredibly refreshing one and half hours sleep, rubbed the condensation off my face and was pleasantly surprised to see sunlight streaming into the tent. There was then a strange period of juxtaposition as despite the gentle warmth of the sun, I could hear a very loud and obvious deposition of liquid onto our humble shelter. Bleary eyed, I stumbled out to see that a dog had given us the honour of selecting our tent over several others to urinate upon. Bizarrely, my first instinct wasn’t to shoo it away, but rather I found myself thinking, “that’s a very healthy stream of urine there – no blood, not turbid, not to dark, not too light….”. Don’t worry, I didn’t go to the trouble of getting a sample for further analysis, instead I gently encouraged the hound away from our abode, managing to fall over about 3 guy ropes in the process!

 What this experience did remind me (other than the fact that dog urine doesn’t add to the smell of a damp tent) is how useful the analysis of urine is for many conditions. Urinalysis gives valuable indication into metabolic function such as the health of liver and kidneys and is a great tool to assess for diabetes. We can diagnose infections, tumours and crystal formation via urine microscopy as well as performing bacterial cultures if required. A “normal” urine sample is a good barometer of general health, so it is very useful for screening purposes too. 

Obtaining a urine sample is also pretty easy: A midstream sample can be obtained from most dogs first thing in the morning by sneaking a shallow container underneath them while they are focusing on an interesting smell. For cats, we have special litter (katkor) which doesn’t absorb urine and allows a sample to be acquired once they have finished their business!

 At the practice we have an array of the latest lab equipment to assess urine. Our newest machine uses facial recognition software to perform microscopy on samples. It can count red and white blood cells, urine crystals, casts and other cells on a urine sample in 2 minutes – it really is very clever! Analysis of a urine sample is relatively inexpensive as well – the cost of a urine biochemistry, refractometer analysis (for urine concentration) and microscopy is only £32. What’s more, if your pet is over 8 years of age – bring a urine sample to their booster vaccination appointment and the cost is only £18. For health plan members, you are now entitled to one free urine analysis per year – we suggest you bring a sample to a vaccination or health check appointment and we can normally get the results while you wait. If your pet is unwell at all, then it is always very useful to bring a urine sample with you the appointment.

 As always, if you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to contact us at the practice – you know “urine” good hands with us! No career in comedy for me....