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Urinalysis: specific gravity

ISSN 2398-2985

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Synonym(s): SG, Relative density

Overview

  • Measurement of kidneys' ability to concentrate and dilute urine.

Uses

Alone

  • Assessment of kidneys' ability to alter specific gravity of glomerular filtrate.

In combination

  • With other tests of renal function in assessment of renal function and hydration status of a patient.

Sampling

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Tests

Methodologies

Refractometer
  • Most common method.
  • Single drop placed on glass surface; reading relative so specific gravity of distilled water (=1).
  • Crystalluria does not appear to interfere with reading.
Dipstick

Availability

  • Standard practice laboratory technique.

Validity

Sensitivity

  • Good with refractometer.
  • Poor with dipstick.

Specificity

  • Good with refractometer.
  • Poor with dipstick.

Predictive value

  • Must be interpreted alongside blood biochemistry Blood biochemistry: overview.
  • Dipstick results are inaccurate, refractometer should be used.

Technique intrinsic limitations

  • Cannot interpret results in isolation from other urinalysis results and lab tests.
  • Single random result outside normal reference range cannot establish diagnosis.
  • Glucosuria may result in false elevation of urine specific gravity.

Technician extrinsic limitations

  • Refractometer must be calibrated using distilled water before use.

Result Data

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Eshar D, Wyre N R & Brown D C (2012) Urine specific gravity values in clinically healthy young pet ferrets (Mustela furo). J Small Anim Pract 53, 115–119 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Lennox A (2009) Ferrets: Clinical pathology. In: BSAVA Manual of Ferrets and Rodents. Eds: Keeble E & Meredith A. British Small Animal Veterinary Association, UK. pp 230-236.