We call it “liquid gold” because it’s such a valuable diagnostic tool. With as little as a teaspoonful of urine, we can detect a multitude of ills including kidney disease, endocrine disorders, liver disease, urinary tract infections, even bladder cancer. We realize that the request to “please bring in a urine sample” can cause angst in even our most intrepid clients. So I’m coming to the rescue with some hints on how to collect urine from your dog or cat. You’ll never look at popcorn the same way again!
Collecting urine from your dog
Before collecting urine yourself, it’s important to clean the tip of the prepuce (the skin that covers the penis) in a male dog and the vulva in a female dog. If that isn’t done, dried cells and mucus can contaminate the sample. Use a clean, moist cloth or a baby wipe.
Containers that can be used for urine collection are limited only by your imagination; the lid from a small jar is suitable for a toy breed, and a margarine container serves well for a bigger dog. Just make sure they’re spotlessly clean, and the right size for your dog. It may be easier to use a ladle or a paper cup that’s taped to a yardstick so you don’t have to bend over. Or you can borrow our fancy Olympic Clean Catch, which is a professionally designed ladle-like gizmo with a long handle and a removable plastic container on the end. It makes collecting urine easy-peesy! We also provide free urine collection kits, with a banana split container you can use to catch the sample and a sterile container in which to transport it to the animal hospital. Do you see a disturbing trend using food-related items here?
Collecting urine from your cat
Here’s where the art comes in. We cat lovers know how our feline friends hate it when we tamper with their litter box, but collecting urine necessitates some modification of the status quo.
Try this method, which I find works about half of the time: Place a clean litter liner over the existing litter, or put the entire litter box in a plastic garbage bag. Press the plastic against the litter so your cat can feel the litter through the plastic. She’ll urinate on the liner, and you’ll get a nice, clean sample.
Whether dog or cat urine, a fresh specimen is best; samples checked within a couple hours of collection yield the most accurate results. That’s not always possible, so we tell our clients to do the best they can and refrigerate samples that can’t be brought in right away. Any urine is often better than no urine.Occasionally, neither pet owner nor animal hospital employee has success in collecting urine. If a urine sample is essential, or if we need a urine culture, the veterinarian can collect it via cystocentesis. We insert a small needle through the skin directly into a full bladder and withdraw urine. It sounds nasty, but it’s actually painless. Nevertheless, some dogs and cats will need sedation because they don’t tolerate being restrained.
If you want to borrow our Olympic Clean-Catch, need a urine collection kit, or simply need further advice, give us a call; with our assistance, urine good hands!