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Hematuria (Blood in Urine) in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Diagnosis In-depth

The following tests may be needed to diagnose the cause of hematuria:

  • Urinalysis to evaluate for white blood cells, red blood cells, crystals and bacteria

  • Bacterial culture of the urine to identify a urinary tract infection and determine the best antibiotic to use to treat the infection

  • A complete blood count to evaluate for systemic infection, anemia, or low platelet count (thromobocytopenia)

  • Serum biochemistry tests to evaluate kidney and liver function and to identify electrolyte and acid base disturbances

  • A panel of clotting tests to assess whether the pet's blood can clot normally

  • Vaginal cytology in intact female dogs that may be in heat (in estrus) or have vaginitis

  • Abdominal X-rays to evaluate bladder and kidney size and identify stones dense enough to be visible on plain X-rays

  • Abdominal ultrasound to evaluate the urinary tract for stones, tumors, obstruction to flow, or evidence of infection in the kidneys themselves (pyelonephritis). Ultrasound often is recommended when other diagnostic procedures have been inconclusive. Completion of an ultrasound examination may necessitate referral to a specialty hospital.

  • A contrast dye study to evaluate the urinary tract for stones, tumors or obstruction. A contrast study of the upper urinary tract (kidneys and ureters) is called an excretory urogram or intravenous pyelogram. This study can identify obstruction of the upper urinary tract and signs of kidney infection (dilated kidney pelvis). A contrast study of the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra) is called a cystourethrogram. This study can help identify bladder tumors or congenital abnormalities such as an outpouching of the bladder wall (urachal diverticulum). These tests may be recommended if other diagnostic tests were inconclusive.

  • Cystoscopy in female dogs allows evaluation of the vagina, urethra and bladder by introducing a rigid scope urethra and bladder. This technique allows the veterinarian to visualize congenital abnormalities of the urogential tract, tumors, stones and other abnormalities. It also allows for small biopsy samples to be obtained through the scope without the need for major abdominal surgery. Cystoscopy usually is done after other diagnostic procedures have been inconclusive. It necessitates general anesthesia and referral to a specialist.

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