Happy Mother’s Day! Whether you are a mom to two-legged or four-legged members of your family (or both), I hope you have a terrific day.

There are two special events coming up this week at Clevengers Corner Veterinary Care. The first is my seminar “Choosing a Pet Food: Science vs. Myth.” That presentation will be on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. There is no cost to attend and light refreshments will be served. If you have questions about how to choose a pet food, how to read a pet food label or anything else related to feeding your pets, please join us on Wednesday evening.

The second special event is a fundraiser for a charitable fund that our office has set up with the Veterinary Care Foundation. For any donation of $20 or more, we will perform a complete urinalysis test on any dog or cat urine sample dropped off on Thursday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The cost of the test will be covered by Clevengers Corner Veterinary Care and Idexx Laboratories, so 100 percent of your donation will go to the Veterinary Care Foundation.

You don’t need to be a client of our practice to take advantage of this offer. Simply bring in your pet’s urine sample between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Thursday and provide your pet’s name, age, breed and your e-mail address. We will send you complete results with an interpretive summary. If there are abnormalities, we will suggest speaking with your veterinarian about the results.

The Veterinary Care Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity that allows individual veterinary hospitals to set up funds that can be directed for specific charitable purposes. The money designated for a specific practice's fund can be somewhat controlled by that practice, within the foundation's guidelines. CCVC uses donations to our fund to help stray or shelter animals needing medical care. We provide the care at our cost and then get reimbursed by the fund. For more information, please visit veterinarycarefoundation.org.

If you donate online, please select “Donate to a Vet or Practice” and select the Clevengers Corner Veterinary Care fund.

Q: What can you tell with a urine sample?

A: There is a huge amount of information on a complete urinalysis. Veterinarians can see signs of urinary tract infection, bladder or kidney stones, diabetes, kidney disease and more. An example of more is Lyme disease or other chronic inflammatory conditions that can lead to protein loss through the urine. If that condition is not detected early and treated, it will lead to an aggressive, almost universally fatal kidney failure by the time symptoms are noticed.

We also sometimes find signs that lead us to investigate for liver disease, hormone imbalances, and other systemic conditions. Urine is a very meaningful window into the health of a body.

Q: What is the best way to collect a pet’s urine sample?

A: The best results come from the freshest samples. Ideally, you bring your veterinarian a sample from the same day. If it has to be longer than an hour, you should refrigerate the sample. Early morning urine samples are typically the best.

For dogs, you should catch a mid-stream sample with a clean, dry container. Many people use a small Gladware or similar disposable container with lid. It is important not to have any water or soap/cleaner residue in the container. Some cleaners may change the pH of the sample causing crystals to form.

Cats are more difficult. You can purchase Nosorb or similar plastic litter online. Clean a plastic litter pan very well (or buy a disposable bedpan for this purpose). Remember to rinse it very well so there is no residual cleaning agent in the litter pan. Dry it thoroughly and fill the bottom with the plastic litter. Place your cat in an enclosed room, like a bathroom, with the litter pan. Once you see urine, you can pour it into the container that came with the plastic litter and bring it to your veterinarian. It’s okay to have some plastic litter mixed in with the sample.

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Dr. Watts is a companion animal general practitioner and owner of Clevengers Corner Veterinary Care. He can be reached at 540/428-1000.

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