The main information to evaluate on the urinalysis is the urine specific gravity and the urine protein. The specific gravity is a crude measure of kidney function. I recommend taking up the dog’s water after 9PM in the evening and then getting a urine sample first thing in the morning. By doing this we are testing the kidneys ability to concentrate the urine. In the early stages of kidney failure the kidneys lose the ability to concentrate urine. This happens when about 75-80% of the kidney is non-functional. Blood changes occur when about 85-95% of the kidney tissue is not working properly so the urine sample gives us some of the earliest information about kidney function. Amyloidosis in Shar-Pei tends to damage the medulla of the kidney, which is the area of the kidney responsible for the concentrating ability of the kidney.

The urine protein gives us information about the glomerulus, which is the filtration unit of the kidney. Normally very little protein is lost in the urine. When the glomerulus is damaged due to amyloidosis, immune-mediated glomerulonephritis, etc.more protein appears in the urine. This can be quantitated by doing a urine protein/creatinine ratio on the urine.

I advise checking a urinalysis on Shar-Pei every 3 months to catch kidney failure early when dietary therapy and medications can be most useful especially in individuals with Familial Shar-Pei Fever.

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