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Could at home urine testing be useful for the horse owner?

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  • Could at home urine testing be useful for the horse owner?

    I've just discovered that urine test strips of various types are widely available online.

    Could there be any potential use for a horse owner to collect a sample and do their own urine testing for their own horse?

    My first thought was for doing monitoring of horses with cushings or IR as a means of checking the suitability of their current diet?

    But what if a horse owner suspected cushings. Could a urine test for glucose and ketones yield any sort of dependable result for determining if a horse may be in need of further testing by a vet?

    I've known of a few horse owners whose horses and ponies had become cushingoid, and they did not become aware of it until the typical much more overt symptoms had presented.


    Multistix Bayer Urine Test Strips 10 SG

    Tests urine for:
    Glucose.
    Bilirubin.
    Ketone.
    Specific gravity.
    Blood.
    pH.
    Protein.
    Urobilinogen.
    Nitrite.
    Leucocytes.



    Keto-Diastix Reagent Strips

    Tests urine for:
    glucose.
    ketone.

  • #2
    Urine tests for glucose are next to useless in close monitoring of serum glucose levels. It's kind of like having a test that will tell you "black" or "white" when what you need is 100 shades of gray.
    Click here before you buy.

    Comment


    • #3
      Excellent question!

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
        Urine tests for glucose are next to useless in close monitoring of serum glucose levels. It's kind of like having a test that will tell you "black" or "white" when what you need is 100 shades of gray.
        Might a normal healthy horse *ever* have a high Urine glucose reading? If so what might cause the reading to be high?

        What of the urine tests for:

        Bilirubin.
        Specific gravity.
        Blood.
        pH.
        Protein.
        Urobilinogen.
        Nitrite.
        Leucocytes.

        Could periodic monitoring by a horse owner of any of these parameters be a useful indicator of a horses state of health?

        Could the use of a urine test of any kind be a useful part of a horse owners health maintenance program for their horse?

        Comment


        • #5
          All I can say is that we recently had to collect a urine sample of an old stallion of ours for the vet and it was next to impossible to catch him at the right time. Too soon and he would stop, too late and its gets well... messy. SO (who is also BM) offered $20 to anyone who could collect it and it still took about 4 days before anyone was able to collect it!
          Southern Cross Guest Ranch
          An All Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation - Georgia

          Comment


          • #6
            I honestly don't know if a healthy horse can or should ever spill glucose into the urine. It can certainly happen in a healthy, non-diabetic human if the sugar intake is gigantic (at least enough to show up on a dipstick) which means nothing other than awful eating habits or a random over-indulgence.

            Personally I am not a big believer, at all, in randomly doing periodic testing for no particular reason. Raises more questions than it answers, often leads one on wild goose chases, and only VERY occasionally points out something important that couldn't be figured out very readily using other means.

            Most of the parameters on a urine dipstick are there to look for signs of urinary tract infection (nitrite, leukocytes, blood) and not systemic diseases.

            Personally I would keep that money in my pocket.
            Click here before you buy.

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            • #7
              These sticks are validated for use in humans so the ranges that are normal for humans may not be appropriate for horses.

              That said, I published a paper on monitoring blood glucose in rhinos using human glucose test kits and it worked fine. But I was just validating the methodology, not monitoring for disease.

              Comment


              • #8
                Any diagnostic test is useless without interpretation and without being put into the context of the larger clinical picture. If your horse needed frequent monitoring for whatever reason, it might be cheaper to buy the tests yourself vs sending them away to a lab, but you still would need your vet to guide you on how to react to the results.
                The plural of anecdote is not data.
                Eventing Yahoo In Training

                Comment


                • #9
                  You all are so innocent compared to me.

                  So I'm thinking about the stoner/junky who buys his buddy's urine so he can fake his way through a drug test. The horse version: Those who want to use long-acting "designer drugs" that are a USEF no-no would be doing their at-home dosing and drug tests so that they could figure out the cheating dose that would get *just this much* under the limit.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Urine drug testing is not done with ten-cent reagent dipsticks.
                    Click here before you buy.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by GatoGordo View Post
                      Any diagnostic test is useless without interpretation and without being put into the context of the larger clinical picture. If your horse needed frequent monitoring for whatever reason, it might be cheaper to buy the tests yourself vs sending them away to a lab, but you still would need your vet to guide you on how to react to the results.
                      I was just curious more that anything else as to whether such a test could somehow be a useful addition to a horse owners medicine cabinet?

                      The Multistix can be purchased online @ $50 for 100 strips.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        What about one of those electronic blood glucose monitors that a person with diabetes might use. Those are relatively cheep. But how would one go about obtaining the tiny drop of blood?

                        I guess what I keep coming back to is a way of periodically monitoring a horse or pony thought to be at a high risk for developing cushings or IR, and also being sure that the horses diet is optimized for it's particular physiology.

                        Don't know, just sort of thinking out loud.

                        RE: Cushing's disease and metabolic syndrome
                        http://www.aaep.org/health_articles_view.php?id=268

                        "Supplemental tests that may be useful in suspect cases include measurements of blood glucose and insulin. Many affected horses are insulin resistant and some are significantly hyperglycemic; early recognition and tracking of these abnormalities will aid in rational nutritional management of the disease and provide additional criteria by which to evaluate the horse’s response to treatment."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You can check their sugar with human blood kits, I believe. Normally I think they pierce the lip but I could be referencing very old info in my brain.

                          Unless one is prepared to react many times a day with diet changes ( pronably difficult or impossible) then a spot-check of blood glucose is sort of like flashing a penlight in a darkened library: you won't see much that is useful. . Perhaps 5-6 measurents a day would be useful, but ouch!

                          Glycosylated hemoglobin (A1c) tests are how we monitor long-term glucose control in humans, but it's not a fingerstick test (although it seems to me I've heard this is imminent) and I know I've heard a good reason why this is not usually done on horses, but I can't remember it.
                          Click here before you buy.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            I was just reading that they do use the blood meter to measure ketones in cattle, as evidently lactating cows are prone to developing ketosis, one site said to prick the cows tail to get the drop of blood.

                            Interesting that where there is a need, the use of the meter made for people is what's often used.

                            They also sell Ketone Test Strips for testing cattle and sheep urine:
                            http://www.farmandranchdepot.com/far...ottle-100.html

                            How do you get the cow to pee in the cup?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                              Glycosylated hemoglobin (A1c) tests are how we monitor long-term glucose control in humans, but it's not a fingerstick test (although it seems to me I've heard this is imminent) and I know I've heard a good reason why this is not usually done on horses, but I can't remember it.
                              There is an at-home A1C monitoring kit available at pharmacies. I bought one about 2 years ago just to try it out. I believe it was $20-30 and it contains supplies for 3 tests.

                              My small animal vet told me they do fructosamines on their diabetic animals but not A1Cs. I think an A1C would be really helpful for animals as it is for people.

                              Home blood glucose monitors are dirty cheap. Heck, call Lifescan or Bayer or Roche and they'll likely send you one for free. The strips, though, are roughly $1 a piece, so that is where the big expense comes in. The companies know where they're making the big bucks, especially since each machine uses it's own dedicated strip (some companies that I'm aware of have 2 monitors that use the same strip).

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