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Cat urinalysis.

Species: Cat
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Age: 11-15 years
Dear Dr. Marie,


Greetings from Singapore!


My cat DB had a Urinalysis (by Cystocentesis) done on 29 Jul at the vet clinic as part of his pre-dental surgery check-up.

- Urinalysis results came back positive for Leukocytes/WBC and USG was 1.016. Trace amounts of protein. The rest were negative/normal.

- Blood tests results taken on 27 Jul were normal.

- Physical examination by vet did not reveal any abnormalities.


For the WBC, his vet put him on 7 days of Enrofloxacin (Baytril).



On 17 Aug (3 weeks later), DB had a 2nd Urinalysis (by Cystocentesis) done.

- Still positive for Leukocytes/WBC

- USG was 1.021

- pH 8

- Trace amounts of protein


DB’s vet explained that he did not felt overly concerned. He did not recommend more medication or other changes. He explained it could just be a false positive and told me to return 6 months later for blood tests.


However, I am concerned about the WBC and low USG.



Could this be an early warning sign that Chronic Kidney Disease/ Chronic Renal Failure is developing?



I am concerned as DB is 12.5 years old and overweight (5.9kg, lipase 3+). Other than that, he eats well, no weight loss, no excessive drinking and has no obvious behaviour change.



Best regards,
Jessica


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Urine tests can be difficult to interpret in cats. Sometimes they can give us obvious clues that something is going wrong...but often we get results that are difficult to interpret.

In the first urinalysis, my biggest concern would be that the specific gravity is so low. A "normal" cat should have a value of 1.030 or higher. 1.016 is pretty dilute. However, it's not in the area where we say that the kidneys are not functioning properly. If the number was between 1.008 and 1.012 then I would be more concerned about kidneys. However, seeing 1.016 on one day and 1.021 (which is still a little low) on another day makes me think there may be some mild renal insufficiency. This is not kidney failure but it may mean that the kidneys are not completely working at 100%.

Renal insufficiency is very common amongst older cats. It does not necessarily mean that kidney failure will happen. But, in some cats, it can. If this were my case then I would likely want to monitor the specific gravity every 3-6 months or more frequently if you were noticing a great increase in thirst and urination or symptoms of vomiting and inappetance.

But, it's also possible that your cat will never see further issues with his kidneys.

The white blood cells in the urine are tough to interpret. I don't usually jump to putting a cat on antibiotics if I see white blood cells unless I had done a urine culture and it was positive for infection or if I was seeing clinical signs of an infection. Still, if your vet was fairly positive that there were signs of infection then this may have been the right move.

Urinary pH can be important in cats. A pH of 8 is high. This can be because of infection but it can also have other causes. A persistently high pH can lead to the formation of bladder stones which can be very serious. As such, this is something I'd want to be rechecking soon. If the pH was continuing to be high then I'd probably suggest a urine culture to rule out infection (even though some antibiotics were used). If that was normal then I'd consider putting him on a special prescription food to help keep his pH down.

At this point though it sounds like your vet has a good plan in mind.

Hope that helps,
Dr. Marie.





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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:


Dear Dr. Marie,


Your answer is detailed and addresses my questions fully. I have left a very small tip for your kind concern towards my cats (this is my 5th time asking you a question).

I will consider your advice and discuss with my vet on possible future tests.


Have a good day!


Best regards,
Jessica




Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thank you so much. Hope things look up from here!

Dr. Marie



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

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