The relationships between sediment findings and culture results and the presence of proteinuria in canine urine samples

J Small Anim Pract. 2023 Aug 26. doi: 10.1111/jsap.13669. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: To assess relationships between urine sediment and microbial culture findings and the presence of proteinuria in canine urine samples, and to assess the change in the percentage of proteinuric samples and urine protein-to-creatinine ratio when urine abnormalities resolve.

Materials and methods: Canine urine samples collected via cystocentesis and submitted for culture and contemporaneous urinalysis (including urine protein-to-creatinine ratio) were retrospectively identified. Dogs receiving corticosteroids were excluded. Associations between haematuria (red blood cells>5/high-power field), pyuria (white blood cells>5/high-power field), presence of microorganisms on microscopy, active sediment, and positive culture and proteinuria (urine protein-to-creatinine ratio>0.5) were investigated. Patient characteristics were considered possible confounders. In dogs with repeat urinalysis, the associations between active sediment and positive culture resolution on proteinuria and urine protein-to-creatinine ratio were assessed.

Results: One hundred and ninety-two of 491 samples were proteinuric (39.1%). Age was positively associated with proteinuria. In the multivariable analysis corrected for age, active sediment was the only variable significantly associated with proteinuria (adjusted odds ratio: 2.12; 95% confidence interval: 1.44 to 3.11); however, only 49.8% of samples with active sediment were proteinuric. Neither resolution of active sediment nor positive culture were associated with reduced proportions of proteinuric samples (from 57.9% to 42.1% and from 40.0% to 25.0%, respectively) or significant reductions in urine protein-to-creatinine ratio (median change: -0.16 and -0.14, respectively).

Clinical significance: Attributing proteinuria to urinalysis abnormalities or a positive urine culture in canine cystocentesis samples is not supported by our findings, and could result in alternative causes of proteinuria (e.g. renal proteinuria) being overlooked.