Evaluation of urine specific gravity and urine sediment as risk factors for urinary tract infections in cats

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Background: It has been suggested that diseases that promote isosthenuria predispose to urinary tract infections because of a lack of the common bacteriostatic properties present in concentrated urine. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the clinicopathologic risk factors for positive urine culture outcome in cats with chronic kidney disease (CKD), diabetes mellitus (DM), uncontrolled hyperthyroidism (HT), or lower urinary tract disease (LUTD). Methods: For this retrospective study, medical records of all cats in which a urinalysis and aerobic bacterial urine culture were performed between January 1995 and December 2002 were reviewed. Signalment, body weight, and clinicopathologic data were recorded. Based on the medical records, cats were diagnosed with CKD, DM, HT, or LUTD. Prevalence odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using logistic regression. Multivariate models were created for each variable of interest while controlling for the confounding effect of disease group. Results: Six hundred fourteen cats met the criteria for inclusion in the study. Overall, positive urine cultures were identified in 16.9% of cats with CKD, 13.2% of cats with DM, 21.7% of cats with HT, and 4.9% of cats with clinical signs of LUTD. Decreasing urine specific gravity was not associated with positive urine culture when controlled for disease but pyuria, bacteriuria, and hematuria were all associated with positive urine culture outcome. Persians, females, increasing age, and decreasing body weight were all associated with positive urine culture outcome. Conclusions: Performing a urine culture sample based solely on the presence of isosthenuria does not seem warranted. Further studies are warranted to help identify host predisposing factors for urinary bacterial colonization in cats with these diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-322
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Clinical Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Bacteriuria
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Escherichia coli
  • Hyperthyroid
  • Pyuria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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