All Care Guides

Urinalysis and Early Kidney Disease Detection

Kidney disease is a broad term meaning that the kidneys are not functioning properly. Acute kidney disease occurs quickly, often over the course of a few days, and is caused by a lack of oxygen to the kidneys or exposure to toxins such as antifreeze, pesticides, and some medications. If treated promptly, acute kidney disease may be reversible. Chronic kidney disease occurs over the course of months to years and is usually progressive, meaning that it worsens over time. Early detection and treatment of chronic renal disease can slow the progression of the disease and help keep your pet more comfortable.

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Urinary Tract Disease in Cats

The urinary tract consists of four parts:

  1. Two kidneys, which produce urine
  2. The ureters, tubes that transport urine from the kidneys to the bladder
  3. The urinary bladder, where urine is stored
  4. The urethra, which carries urine from the bladder to the outside

Any part of the urinary tract can be affected by disease.

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Urine Culture Test

Urinary tract infections are common in dogs and, to a lesser degree, in cats. Signs of a urinary tract infection include increased drinking, increased or more frequent urination, urinary accidents, bloody urine, or urinating small amounts at a time.

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Urine Specific Gravity Test

The kidneys have several important functions in the body, including eliminating waste products through the urine and regulating the body’s fluid balance. The urine specific gravity (SG) test tells your veterinarian how concentrated your pet’s urine is (how much water it contains). If the SG is too high, it can mean inadequate amounts of water are being eliminated through the urine. If the SG is too low, it can mean the body is losing too much water through the urine. There is a relatively wide range of normal readings for a urine SG test, but there are also several medical conditions that can affect the result.

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Vaccine Titer Testing

Vaccine titer testing is a way of measuring a pet’s immune system response when the pet is vaccinated against a specific disease. Titer tests detect antibodies, which are proteins produced by the body when the immune system detects a disease-causing organism (e.g., virus, bacteria) or another “foreign” substance, like a vaccine. Antibody-stimulating substances are called antigens. Titer test results tell your veterinarian not only whether your pet has antibodies to a specific antigen, but also the level of these specific antibodies.

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