(blood in urine)
The presence of red blood cells in the urine either visible (gross hematuria) or microscopic (microscopic hematuria).
May observe any of the following:
- Visible signs of blood in the urine, or red blood cells seen in urinalysis when done by a veterinarian.
May or may not display following signs of pain or illness:
- Vocalization when touched
- Ruffled fur
- Hunched posture
- Frequent licking at genitals (if pain present or difficulty urinating)
- Bladder distention or enlarged girth
- Urinary urgency
*Note: for additional information on recognizing various signs of pain or discomfort refer to: Signs of Pain In Rats.
Hematuria is a sign of the presence of disease or injury to a part of the urinary tract.
There may be several causes for hematuria some of which are: urinary tract infections, injury, parasites such as Trichosomoides crassicauda (bladder threadworm), kidney or bladder stones, disease involving the kidneys, tumors or neoplasia of the genitourinary tract, and some blood dyscrasias.
Blood in the urine is identified as either microscopic hematuria (blood visible by microscope), or as gross hematuria where the blood is visible to the naked eye and appears in urine as a pink, red, or dark brown color. The actual color is dependent upon the pH level, and the amount of red blood cells that are present in the urine. Small clots may or may not also be present.
It is vital when witnessing blood in your rats urine, or if your rat shows signs of pain, to seek a veterinarian for treatment.
Although not common, rats that are frequently fed a lot of carrots, beets, or red berries in their diets may excrete a reddish color urine. This is called a pseudohematuria. Owners not familiar with this response may mistakenly believe it to be blood. It is important for the owner to note if any of these foods have been included in the rats diet just prior to observing urine that appears red.
Obtain history from owner, that includes type of diet.
Test for occult blood if not visible.
Obtain urine for culture.
Abdominal x-ray to rule out stones or neoplasia.
Complete blood count (CBC) and electrolytes.
Treatment may range from therapy with antimicrobials to surgery depending on the cause.
- Give prescribed medications as directed by veterinarian.
- Monitor pain and medicate appropriately.
- House rat on light colored cloth or ink-free paper towels so that urine can be monitored.
- Encourage fluid intake.
- Hematuria resolved
- Urinating without difficulty
- Remains free of pain
- While there is no prevention for hematuria proper treatment of underlying infections and conditions, and a healthy diet, will extend quality of life for your rat.