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Why Are There White Blood Cells In My Dog's Urine?

Why Are There White Blood Cells In My Cat's Urine?

To see what normal blood and urine values are for your pet, go here

For an explanation of causes of most abnormal blood and urine tests go here

To see how tests are often grouped, go here

Ron Hines DVM PhD

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White Blood Cells In Your Pet's Urine

WBCs leukocytes

A microscopic examination for the presence of white blood cells is a standard part of your dog or cat ’s complete
urinalysis. Vets like me are happiest when very few or none are seen.

The number of white blood cells in your dog or cat’s urine is recorded as the number seen through a microscope using the high power lens (#/HPF). Less than four or five is considered OK. When there are more, it is a sign of inflammation – usually a bacterial infection somewhere in the pet’s urinary tract (pyuria). The white blood cells are usually neutrophils. Often bacteria can be seen as well.

However, that does not mean that bacteria are the underlying cause of your pet’s urinary tract infection – they rarely are. The presence of stones (calculi of oxalate, struvite, etc), retention of urine due to neurological problems (spinal cord injuries) , birth defects in the architecture of the urinary tract or tumors in the tract can be the real underlying causes. The problem is also more common in female pets (primarily dogs) that were spayed too young – particularly if they are overweight as well.

White blood cells are more difficult to identify in urine that has a pH over 7 (alkaline) which is, in itself, worrisome. They are also more likely to break up and become invisible (lyse) when urine is very dilute or when the sample is stale. Your pet’s first urine of the morning is always the most informative to veterinarians.

WBCs in your pet’s urine can be detected in other ways. These WBCs (leukocytes) contain esterases that turn a square portion of many urine dipsticks purple.
Bleach used to rinse containers in which urine is collected can cause false positive reactions.

Complementary Tests :

Urine bacterial culture and antibiotic sensitivity of bacteria found in an aseptically-collected urine sample.

.................... DxMe