A urinalysis is a laboratory test of urine. The test involves several parts. First, the urine is examined by eye for color and turbidity. Normally, urine is clear and some shade of yellow. Red, green or brown colors or excessive cloudiness may indicate an illness. The urine is then examined microscopically. Blood cells, bacteria, epithelial cells and urinary crystals can be seen under the microscope. Chemical evaluation, also known as the dipstick test, tests for blood, glucose, ketones, pH, proteins and other parameters. Some dipsticks also include leukocytes and nitrite analysis.
A urinalysis is indicated for evaluating animals with urinary abnormalities such as increased urine production, increased urinary frequency, straining to urinate, bloody urine or abnormal color to the urine. This test can also be helpful in cases of unexplained fever, loss of appetite or weight loss. Urinalysis results can give an idea of hydration and kidney function; it can also indicate inflammation or infections in the urinary tract.
Internal parasites are frequently diagnosed by microscopic examination of the feces for eggs that are released by the adult female in an animal’s intestine. The number of eggs released in a given fecal sample is variable. There may be no eggs even though the animal has adult parasites. At times we may need to run several samples to feel comfortable that the animal is free of internal parasites. Because some internal parasite eggs are notoriously difficult to detect our doctors may recommend treatment for a specific parasite, even on a negative fecal sample, when they feel there is a likelihood of infestation.
A diagnosis can also be made by observation of the mature parasite in the animal’s feces. This is especially true for tapeworms. Tapeworm eggs are difficult to detect using microscopic fecal analysis, so they are routinely diagnosed by observation of the actual worm.