A urine glucose test, sometimes used for cats, is a test to determine the amount of glucose in the urine. Glucose in the urine is commonly referred to by veterinarians as “glucosuria”. The test is generally done by using reagent strip and evaluating the level of color change in the strip which corresponds to different levels of glucose.
A urine glucose test is indicated for evaluating pets with signs consistent with diabetes mellitus such as excessive drinking, excessive urination, weight loss, vomiting, and lethargy. It may also be indicated on pets with urinary abnormalities such as increased urine production, increased urinary frequency, or abnormal color to the urine. This test can also be helpful in cases of symptoms in a search for diabetes mellitus. A urine glucose test may be recommended by your veterinarian to monitor therapy of patients being treated with diabetes.
There is no real contraindication to performing this test. Even normal results help determine health or exclude certain diseases.
What Does a Urine Glucose Test Reveal in Cats?
A urine glucose test evaluates the amount of glucose in the urine. Normal pets do not have any glucose. Untreated diabetic pets will have glucosuria or pets with renal disease may also have glucosuria. Treated diabetic pets may have some glucose periodically.
Many veterinarians have pet owners monitor their diabetic pets by testing the urine for sugar and ketones. This used to be one of the better ways to monitor diabetic patients but some problems do occur. The urine test does not correlate perfectly with the blood sugar value at the time the test is done. Urine takes hours to be produced and the sugar level in the voided urine sample reflects sugar concentration hours before.
It is not appropriate to alter the insulin dose based on one urine sugar value. To be accurate, the urine testing needs to be done at least once a day. It is even better if the testing is done even more frequently. If the urine sugar values are consistently high, your veterinarian may recommend increasing the dose of insulin. If the values stay high, other tests may be recommended.
Additional tests may include a complete urinalysis, complete blood count, biochemical profile, blood glucose test, or urine ketone test.
How Is a Urine Glucose Test Done in Cats?
A urine glucose test is begun with the collection of a urine sample.
Urine can be obtained by three methods:
Catheterization consists of inserting a flexible plastic tube into the urethra, then up into the bladder (the reservoir inside the body where urine is stored until the pet urinates).
Cystocentesis is a very common method to obtain urine from dogs and cats. This procedure involves introducing a needle directly into the bladder through the body wall. This is a relatively painless and quick procedure. The pet can be lying or standing. The bladder is palpated (felt) and a needle is inserted into the bladder.
Free catch urine samples are obtained by catching a sample when the pet urinates. This is easy in some pets and quite difficult in others. Plastic containers, ladles, scoops and various objects can be used. This is generally adequate for this test and is the recommended method for home monitoring. Because the urine does not need to be “sterile” for this test, the urine is generally collected by the easiest and least stressful method.
For monitoring cats at home, there are feline urinary glucose detection kits that consist of packets of small pieces of papers that you sprinkle in the litter box. These papers are like small pieces of confetti, odorless and unobtrusive to the cat. The papers acts as reagent strips which changes color when wet indicating the level of glucose in the urine. This is an easy method for doing frequent urine monitoring in cats.
Most veterinary hospitals have the equipment to perform a urine glucose test in their hospitals.
A urine glucose test generally takes only a couple minutes to complete.
Is a Urine Glucose Test Painful to Cats?
Whether a urine glucose test is painful or not depends on the method by which urine is obtained. Catheterization is “uncomfortable” in most pets although many male pets tolerate the procedure well. Females are more difficult to catheterize due to the anatomical location of their urethra.
If urine is obtained by cystocentesis, the needle insertion through the skin can be associated with brief pain, just as any injection.
Is Sedation or Anesthesia Needed for a Urine Glucose Test?
Neither sedation nor anesthesia is needed in most cats; however, some cats resent positioning for a catheter placement (especially females) and may need tranquilization or ultrashort anesthesia.