Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Urinalysis: blood

Contributor(s): Livia Benato, Anna Meredith, Vicki Baldrey


  • Urinalysis is an important laboratory test to assess the presence of blood in rabbit urine.
  • In rabbits, normal urine may be red due to the presence of porphyrin pigments that can be easily mistaken for blood.
  • While hematuria is a condition that needs to be investigated, porphyrin pigmented urine is a normal condition that does not need investigation.
  • To distinguish between the two conditions it is necessary to centrifuge the urine sample:
    • Hematuria: the sediment is red.
    • Pigmented urine: supernatant is red.
  • A Wood's lamp can also be used: urinary porphyrin pigments fluoresce when exposed to ultraviolet light.


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  • Dipstick analysis.
  • Centrifuged sediment.
  • Microscopic evaluation of the urine sample.


  • Dipstick analysis is an easy and inexpensive test that is generally available in many veterinary practices.
  • Centrifuge and microscope are required to assess sediment and cytological samples, although both instruments are very common in clinical practices, they may not be available.
  • Many animal laboratory services test for hematuria.



  • Good.


  • Good.

Predictive value

  • Further testing such as urine microscopy and imaging of the urinary tract is required to investigate the cause of hematuria Urine: hematuria.

Technique (intrinsic) limitations

Presence of blood does not give information on etiology; further tests are required.

Technician (extrinsic) limitations

  • Porphyrin pigmentation can be confused with hematuria; urine dispstick Urinalysis: dipstick analysis or microscopy is needed to differentiate.
  • If using a dipstick interpret test strip at specified time interval.

Result Data

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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Fisher P G (2006) Exotic mammal renal disease: diagnosis and treatment. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract 9 (1), 69-96. Review PubMed.
  • Garibaldi B A, Fox J G, Otto G, Murphy J C & Pecquet-Goad M E (1987) Hematuria in rabbits. Lab Anim Sci 37 (6), 769-772 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Varga M (2014) Urogenital Diseases. In: Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. 2nd edn. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. pp 405-424.
  • Pare J A & Paul-Murphy J (2006) Disorders of the Reproductive and Urinary Systems. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Saunders. pp 183-193.