- Animals with any signs of systemic disease should be rushed to a veterinarian urgently, as they are at risk of bleeding to death.
- Similarly, male cats straining to urinate may have a urinary tract obstruction which can be life threatening. Immediate veterinary examination is recommended.
- Painful animals should be presented to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
- In other cases, collect a urine sample in a sterile container (preferably within two hours of an appointment with your vet, as a fresh sample is most useful).
WHAT IS IT?
Blood in the urine is referred to as haematuria.
It should be noted that not all red coloured urine contains blood – urine may be discoloured due to the presence of other pigments, such as products of muscle breakdown or dietary components.
Note all diseases associated with blood in the urine are painful, but many do cause signs of pain such as:
- Straining to urinate
- Painful urination
- Pain when pressure is applied to the bladder (such as when an animal is picked up)
- Increased frequency of urination
- Urinating outside the litter box
- Straining to defecate (may indicate prostatic disease in male animals)
In animals with systemic disease, other signs include:
- Bleeding at other locations (blood in stools, coughing or vomiting up blood, nose bleed)
- Signs of envenomation such as weakness, fixed dilated pupils, paralysis, staggering
There are many diseases that can lead to blood in the urine. These include:
- Urinary tract infection
- Stones in the urinary tract (for example, bladder stones or cystoliths)
- Lower urinary tract inflammation or cysts
- Trauma (blood in the urine is commonly seen in animals that suffer motor vehicle accidents)
- Kidney disease
- Cancer of the urinary tract
Blood in the urine may also be seen in animals with disorders of the reproductive orders including:
- Vaginal/uterine masses
- Infections of the uterus of vagina
- Trauma to the penis
Blood in the urine may also occur due to systemic diseases which are very serious. These include:
- Clotting disorders
- Snake bite or envenomation
Your vet will obtain a full history from you and perform a physical examination on your pet. If you have not been able to collect any urine, your vet can do so. Urinalysis is an essential part of the diagnostic work up for urinary tract infections and would enable the vet to identify and assess the amount of red blood cells, white blood cells, protein, bacteria and crystals in your pets urine.
Depending on the case, your vet may request for further diagnostic tests like blood tests, ultrasound, x-rays or a urine culture. These may all help in identifying the underlying cause of haematuria. Depending on the underlying cause, your pet may be treated as an outpatient with medication or be hospitalised. If your pet has bladder stones, surgery may be required to remove them or your vet may recommend a special diet for your pet to help dissolve these bladder stones. If cancer is suspected, further testing like biopsy and histopathology may be required as well.
Kenefick S (2010) Haematuria in small animals. In Practice. 32(8): 398-403