Cystocentesis is a surgical procedure performed by a vet to collect urine directly from the bladder of small animals. The vet inserts a sterile needle through the abdomen into the bladder and collects urine directly into the syringe.
The procedure can check for a bacterial infection but also helps identify kidney or liver disease or conditions such as diabetes. There are other methods for collecting urine, but cystocentesis avoids debris in the lower urinary tract that may contaminate the sample .
How Is a Cystocentesis Performed?
A cystocentesis is a simple procedure, often done in your vet’s clinic. It only takes a few minutes and involves a few steps.
Depending on the size of your pet, your vet may do the cystocentesis with your pet in a standing position or lying on their side. Either way, the vet also restrains your pet to avoid sudden movements .
Some vets shave and cleanse the area as part of preparation. Others skip this step for a routine cystocentesis and go straight to urine collection, especially if the animal is clean .
Some vets will do a cystocentesis by feel, but an ultrasound-guided cystocentesis is preferred. The vet first places the ultrasound doppler over the animal’s abdomen to locate the bladder and check the wall thickness .
Next, your vet slowly inserts the sterile needle, using the ultrasound images for guidance. Once in, they pull the syringe plunger, slowly draw out urine, and remove the needle. They transfer the urine to a sterile container for testing.
Urinalysis is the final step following a cystocentesis. The vet places the urine sample into the centrifuge, where it spins until debris or sediment settles to the bottom.
They analyze the urine for cloudiness or turbidity and color and test it for acidity, density, and solutes using urine test strips. These strips can help identify blood cells, nitrites, glucose, protein, urobilinogen, bilirubin, and ketones, along with the pH and urine concentration. All of these indicators can help the vet diagnose urinary tract, metabolic, and other conditions .
Once complete, your vet collects the debris from the bottom to examine under a microscope for bacteria, parasites, crystals, and blood or tissue cells .
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What Are the Side Effects of a Cystocentesis?
Like any procedure, cystocentesis in dogs or cats can have side effects. In rare cases, a cystocentesis can lead to bladder rupture, urine leakage, accidental puncture of other organs, or vagal nerve stimulation. This stimulation may cause temporary panting, weakness, urination, or bladder collapse, which will reverse within a few minutes .
However, most cystocentesis procedures are generally well-tolerated, and the risks are rare. The process isn’t painful or stressful and can be done without sedation or anesthetic unless your pet doesn’t like restraints .
At-Home Urinalysis With Petnox-10
A licensed vet must do a cystocentesis. However, urine test strips like Petnox-10 by Diagnox are an easy and reliable way to monitor your pet’s health at home.
Collect your pet’s urine midstream with a sterile cup and dip a test strip in it. Compare the color on the strip against the key and report abnormal results to your vet. The vet may perform a cystocentesis to confirm the results or diagnose a condition.
S. Manfredi, G. Gnudi, F. Miduri, E. Daga, and A. Volta, “Diagnostic and Therapeutic Cystocentesis in Dogs and Cats: Considerations,” Journal of Dairy and Veterinary Sciences, vol.9, no. 5, February 2019. Available online here [Accessed August 1, 2023.]
S. Blois, A. Abrams-Ogg, and A. Defarge, “Cystocentesis,” in VETM 4540: Medical Procedures. [Ebook]. Available online here. [Accessed August 1, 2023].
K. Williams and K. Ruotsalo. “Urinalysis,” VCA Animal Hospitals. [Online]. Available online here [Accessed August 1, 2023].
A. Odunayo, Z. Ng, and A. Holford, “Probable vasovagal reaction following cystocentesis in two cats,” Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery Open Reports, vol. 1, no. 1, June 2015. Available online here [Accessed August 1, 2023].
About the Author
Cheryl Whitten is a health writer with a background in allied health care as an herbalist and clinical aromatherapist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Athabasca University and certificates from the University of Maryland and Wild Rose College. She writes for leading health and lifestyle websites with a focus on health, wellness, and consumer products.
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