Diagnosing Diabetes Mellitus With Canine Urinalysis

One of the routes to confirm the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is canine urinalysis. Because the body is unable to process food properly, excess sugars and ketones are excreted through the urinary tract and eliminated in the dog's urine.

Dog Needs Insulin to Properly Absorb Sugar

Diabetes Mellitus is a condition where the dog's pancreas can't produce sufficient amounts of insulin to allow for proper absorption of sugars into the cells. The excess sugars are then passed out of the body in the urine. Untreated or with inadequate treatment, the dog's body will develop complications such as kidney, circulatory or heart disease and will ultimately lead to systems shutting down and death.

Glucose Test and Ketone Test

Urinalysis is a series of tests that a veterinarian can run on urine samples. Two urinalysis tests used to determine if diabetes is present are a glucose test and a ketone check.

A glucose test on urine shows the amount of excess blood sugar that is unutilized and spilling over into the urine. This test is an indicator as to whether a dog's body is able to process dietary sugars. After the urine sample is collected, urine is applied to either a paper test strip or tablet. An agent on the paper or in the tablet will cause a color change, indicating the level of sugars in the urine. The ketone test indicates whether the dog digestive system is breaking down fats and proteins for energy instead of utilizing carbohydrates. The by-products produced are ketones and are an indicator of a potentially dangerous condition called ketoacidosis. Again, this test utilizes either a paper strip or tablet with an agent that turns color based upon the level of keytones in the urine.

Benefits of Urinalysis

The sooner diabetes mellitus is diagnosed and confirmed, the sooner it can be brought under control through diet, medication and exercise. Controlling diabetes is critical to ensuring the least amount of damage is done to critical body organs and systems. Because urine tests are less expensive than bloodwork, these tests, while not as accurate as testing blood, provide valuable diagnostic information to either rule out or confirm the diabetic diagnosis. Once confirmed, additional, more specific tests can be run if necessary.

Diabetes Mellitus is a common disease among the canine population today. Managing the disease is a matter of balancing diet, exercise and insulin and once an effective treatment is established for the individual dog, becomes a matter of routine. While urinalysis can be used to diagnose diabetes, it can also be used by the dog owner to maintain appropriate glucose levels at home. Urinalysis provides an option for canine owners who might be uncomfortable with collecting blood samples for daily blood sugar monitoring. Urinalysis provides a general view of glucose levels and with the advancement of at-home blood glucose machines, more accurate,daily testing is available to owners of diabetic dogs. Either way, identifying diabetes mellitus is the first step to managing it and caring for the diabetic dog.