Hematuria in Small Mammals

Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells in the urine. It may be gross, which means it's visible to the naked eye, or it might be microscopic. Possible causes of hematuria include:

  • Bacterial infections of the urinary or genital tracts
  • Cancer of the urinary or genital tracts
  • Calculi (stones) in the urinary tract
  • Clotting (bleeding) disorders
  • Trauma

    The effect of hematuria on the pet may range from no obvious effect to severe. Severe bleeding into the urinary tract may cause the animal to become anemic and may cause weakness or collapse.

    What to Watch For

  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Straining to urinate
  • Frequent passage of small amounts of urine
  • Abdominal pain

    You should have your pet examined by your veterinarian if you observe hematuria or any of these other symptoms.

    Diagnosis

    Hematuria can affect all small mammals. Any sick pet should be seen by a veterinarian. A complete medical history and physical examination are important and can sometimes lead to a diagnosis. For some pets, additional tests may be recommended. For small rodents, size and cost concerns may affect the ability to perform some of these tests.

  • Urinalysis
  • Urine culture and sensitivity
  • Complete blood count
  • Serum biochemistry tests
  • Clotting profile including platelet count
  • Plain abdominal X-rays
  • Abdominal ultrasound examination

    Treatment

    Your veterinarian may prescribe one or more of the following treatments for your pet. The cause of the hematuria as well as the species is considered. Not all small mammals receive the same treatment:

  • Antibiotics for possible bacterial infection
  • Fluid therapy for dehydration

    Home Care

    The presence of blood in the urine is abnormal. If you observe hematuria, you should take your pet to your veterinarian for evaluation.

    If possible, obtain a voided (free-catch) urine sample from your pet and take it with you when you visit your veterinarian.

    Administer all prescribed medications as directed. Bring any unexpected changes in your pet's condition to the attention of your veterinarian.

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