We often advise pet parents that pets are silent sufferers. The reason for that is because pets cannot advocate for themselves. Therefore, pets rely on their owners and veterinarians to properly advocate for them.
Although most pet parents know their pets better than anyone, they are not psychic and don’t actually know early on when their beloved pet has a problem. Many pet problems are genetic in nature that develop no matter how loved or well taken care of they are.
In the early stages, many problems start very quietly and symptoms are very intermittent. Therefore they can easily go unnoticed for a very long time. Some people falsely assume their pets are fine unless they cry or scream. Pets rarely do that with most diseases unless there is some physical trauma. Remember pets can’t talk and tell you they have on and off burning when they urinate. Urinary tract infections can lead to bladder stones within 2 months and is one of the most common problems pet owners and pet insurances deal with.
All young cats and dogs after their first birthday are susceptible to infections and stones. The average age affected is 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 years old. Dog breeds especially prone to bladder stones are smaller breeds and mixes such as Bichons, Poodles, Maltese, Yorkies, Schnauzers, Shi-Tzu, Daschunds and Terriers.
The first symptoms of bladder stones or urinary infection may simply be that your dog urinates in the house once or that your cat urinates outside the litter box once. This may happen in your presence or not. If a pet urinates in front of an owner, that well intentioned parent usually assumes it’s behavioral. Another typical human reaction is to blame themselves and clean up the mess. However, if this is the first time an accident happens, the best course of action is to call your veterinarian to rule out any health issues.
Your vet will require a urine sample in order to diagnose an infection. You can either bring in a sample or arrange to take your pet to the vet’s office with a full bladder so a sample can be taken for you.
An inexpensive urine test can actually give your veterinarian a lot of information about your pet’s general health. A urinalysis can sometimes tell us if your pet is has a urinary tract issue, liver disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, or even at risk of developing stones. Preventive medicine and catching these conditions early is always the easiest and best solution. If your veterinarian finds any abnormalities, they can make simple recommendations that may save your pet from bladder stone surgery. In some cases, a healthy supplement, some helpful hints and or a prescription diet might be recommended as a preventative or treatment.
How to collect a urine sample
At Belle Mead Animal Hospital, we can give you a free urine cup to use at any time. You can also use a clean, disposable Tupperware container or lid for urine collection however a sterile urine cup is preferred.
Following are some tips on how to collect urine from your dog:
- Collect a urine sample first thing in the morning when you know your dog is ready to urinate. Your dog must be on a leash.
- Hold the cup in your hand, or just use the lid if you have a small dog who crouches really low to the ground.
- Once your dog starts to crouch and urinate, wait 2-3 seconds to collect a urine sample midstream. If you try to collect early, your dog may stop urinating before you complete the collection.
You’ll need to drop off the urine sample at the animal hospital while it is still fresh. You can refrigerate the sample for a few hours before delivery, but not longer than 6-12 hours if possible.
For senior citizens or owners who just can’t get a urine at home, just schedule a technician visit and bring your pet in with a full bladder, and we can easily get the urine from your pet.
Sincerely with your pet’s welfare in our hearts and minds,
Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital