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Keywords:

  • cat;
  • ultrasound;
  • urinary bladder;
  • urine lipid

Echoes are frequently seen in the urinary bladder of cats during abdominal ultrasound. These have been attributed to hematuria, pyuria, crystalluria, and lipid. However, sonographic findings have not been previously correlated with urinalysis. We prospectively evaluated 40 clinically normal cats via ultrasound, serum chemistry, and urinalysis. Thin layer chromatography was performed on the urine to determine the amount (mg) of lipid subfractions including diacylglycerol, triglyceride, phospholipid, free fatty acid, cholesterol, and cholesterol ester. Ninety percent (36/40) of the cats in our population had sonographic echoes suspended in the urinary bladder, with most having a subjective score of mild echoes (n = 20). None of the sonographic echoes were gravity dependent or caused distal acoustic shadowing, reverberation, or twinkle artifact. Of the cats with sonographic echoes in the urine, 66% (24/36) had no significant findings on urinalysis other than the presence of lipid. The total amount of subjective sonographic echoes was not significantly related to the total amount of fat measured on thin layer chromatography or the number of lipid droplets seen on urinalysis. An increased amount of urine diacylglycerol was significantly associated with clumping of echoes (P = 0.02) and the amount of lipid droplets seen on urinalysis (P = 0.04). An association between increased amounts of urine diacylglycerol and the amount of echoes seen on ultrasound approached significance (P = 0.05). Findings from this study support previously published theories that sonographic echoes within the urinary bladder of clinically normal cats may be due to urine lipid.