Following on from September’s post entitled Urinalysis: the neglected test, let’s have a look at the dipstick – it’s a very easy part of a urinalysis and essential to perform.

Here are some of my tips in regards to using dipsticks:

Poli_dipstick
Dipstick: despite the name, DON’T DIP!
  • It may sound obvious, but you should always use veterinary-specific dipsticks. Human-specific dipsticks include panels for urobilinogen, nitrates and leukocytes, which we often do not interpret in small animal patients, as they are neither sensitive nor specific.
  • DON’T DIP! Use a syringe and drop samples on to each square, leave for 10 seconds, then flick off the excess.
  • Any amount of protein in dilute urine should raise suspicion. A reasonably large amount of protein has to be present in the urine for it to be positive on a dipstick. A urine protein to creatinine ratio may be the only way to quantify the amount of protein present, but first you must rule out evidence of inflammation or haematuria via a sediment examination.
  • The ketone panel on the dipstick test is only for acetoacetate (and not beta-hydroxybutyrate), although it is extremely rare for diabetic ketoacidosis patients to not produce any acetoacetate.
  • Trace blood can be a common artefact finding, especially during a cystocentesis where needle trauma can contaminate the sample with blood.
  • In our feline patients, any hyperbilirubinuria is abnormal, but this may be normal in a dog depending on urine concentration.
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Rebekah Robinson
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Rebekah Robinson
4 months 7 days ago

Gerardo, veterinary-specific dipsticks?! I wasn’t aware there were any, can you tell us a manufacturer of these?

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