Remote consulting: Evaluation of a home urinalysis kit in dogs

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Evaluation of a home urinalysis kit in dogs

Published 19 August 2020

Krimer, P.M. Tanner, M.C. and Camus, M.S. (2019) Evaluation of a home urinalysis kit in dogs. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, 55 (3), pp.144-151.

This paper reports on the accuracy of a commercial at-home urinalysis kit using a smartphone app to evaluate free-catch urine, which is marketed directly to dog and cat owners. The aim of the study was to assess agreement between the at-home analysis kit and the standard methods used in the Teaching Hospital’s laboratory (dry reagent dipstick urinalysis, refractometry and microscopy) based on 48 canine urine samples.

All urine samples were tested by standard dry reagent dipstick and refractometry within 30 minutes of arrival at the laboratory. The urine was then stored at room temperature for up to 6 and then retested by dry reagent strip, home urinalysis kit and specific gravity, using a portable refractometer. Sediment was also examined by microscopy.

The commercial kit had at least one clinically significant disagreement with the reference method per sample, with 77% having three or more differences. Specific gravity and pH concurred with the reference method in only 31% (P<.011) and 27% (P<.001) of cases, respectively. The sensitivity was low for all analyses except ketones, which had 77% false positives. False-positive nitrites and leukocytes were also frequent (36 and 19%, respectively). False negatives for blood (27%), nitrites (38%), and protein (54%) were common.

The authors note that dry reagent strips are a relatively inexpensive test for urine screening, but that urine should ideally be analysed within 30 minutes of collection (two hours if refrigerated). They also note that dry reagent pads from dipsticks for specific gravity, nitrites and leukocytes are not considered reliable in veterinary species.

Despite the limitations of this study, including a single unblinded researcher, delays in analysing urine samples, and the inclusion of results from the commercial test kits with reversed test strips, this paper does highlight the need to be cautious about interpretation of results from home kits, which may provide inaccurate results.

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