Minnesota Urolith Center

FAQ's

What techniques are used to analyze the uroliths?

What techniques are used to analyze the uroliths?

We perform quantitative mineral analysis utilizing Optical Crystallography and Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR and FTIR).  For identification of unusual minerals, we have access to equipment and specialists on campus in techniques such as XRD, EDS, micro-CT, and other specialized methodology.  Our highly trained technicians collectively have almost 100 YEARS of experience in urinary mineral analysis. 

I need a urolith analysis submission form.

I need a urolith analysis submission form.

In 2010, we developed the online submission and results retrieval system at urolithcenter.org. After a six year acclimation period we are now requesting the sample information be submitted online.  Information on how to setup an online account, how to look up your clinic id, etc can be found on our Online Laboratory Access page. 

PDF icon Minnesota Urolith Center Submission form

I have multiple stones; do I need to submit them all?

I have multiple stones; do I need to submit them all?

We advise always submitting the largest stone, and a representative portion of sizes, shapes, and colors. If uroliths were retrieved from different parts of the urinary tract; (e.g. kidney and bladder), send them in separate containers, identified with the source. All uroliths within a patient may or may not be composed of the same mineral type.

How small of a sample can be analyzed?

How small of a sample can be analyzed?

In most cases, if you can see the sample, we can analyze it. (Generally the size of a poppy seed). Please write TINY SAMPLE on the packing slip accompanying the sample.

Can I submit samples from species other than dogs and cats?

Can I submit samples from species other than dogs and cats?

We are unable to analyze samples from primates or humans. We are able to accept samples from all other species, if submitted from colleagues in the United States.  Be sure to provide detailed species identification on the submission form. To comply with international regulations, submissions from clinics outside the United States must only be from approved species. See “Shipping from outside the USA” on the How to Ship Samples page.

Can I submit a urethral plug for analysis?

Can I submit a urethral plug for analysis?

How to submit feline/canine urethral plugs:

Urethral Plugs may be:

  • Composed primarily of crystalline material.
  • Composed primarily of cellular/proteinaceous material.
  • Composed of an admixed population of crystalline and cellular/proteinaceous material.

Our quantitative analysis techniques can identify the crystalline components in the sample. 

If you would like identification of the cellular components, we suggest you split the sample, and send a formalin preserved portion to your preferred histopathology service.

 Please submit urethral plugs to our laboratory DRY in an unbreakable container.

Note – any sample submitted to our laboratory in liquid is treated as hazardous material and results will be significantly delayed. 

Do you perform urolith cultures?

Do you perform urolith cultures?

We do not offer urolith culture as part of our urolith analysis. However, the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab does perform urolith culture for a cost. If you have additional questions regarding urolith cultures and charges please visit the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab website or contact them at at 1-800-605-8787.  

If you only have one urolith, it can be both cultured and quantitatively analyzed. Submission forms for both the Minnesota Urolith Center AND the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory should be filled out and sent with a solitary urolith. The culture needs to be performed first. Send both sets of forms and the sample to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. You will need to include very specific instructions such as:

NOTE: ONLY ONE UROLITH. PLEASE PERFORM UROLITH CULTURE FIRST. THEN PLEASE TRANSFER SAMPLE TO THE MINNESOTA UROLITH CENTER FOR ANALYSIS.

If you have more than one urolith, please either ship samples separately to each lab, or use inner packages to separate the samples and write on the outside "urolith for culture to the VDL" and "urolith for analysis to the MUC" These two packets can then be placed in one outer package, shipped to the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory or to the Minnesota Urolith Center to minimize shipping costs.

Can I submit Choleoliths, sialoliths, and enteroliths for analysis?

Can I submit Choleoliths, sialoliths, and enteroliths for analysis?

NO.  As of January 2015, due to increasing costs we are no longer able to subsidize analysis of non-urinary specimens.  Contact us if you need additional assistance.

Can I cancel the analysis?

Can I cancel the analysis?

We would prefer to analyze the sample, as it contributes epidemiological information to our database. As we do not bill for our services, cost to the owner is not a consideration.  If you have entered the sample information and are not going to ship the sample - please email us at support@urolithcenter.org and we can cancel the request. If you have already shipped the sample and still want the analysis cancelled, please complete this cancel analysis request form. 

Should I send the sample in formalin?

Should I send the sample in formalin?

NO. Formalin can interfere with analysis, dissolve samples, and may alter crystalline structure.

The sample was accidentally put in formalin, what do we do now?

The sample was accidentally put in formalin, what do we do now?

If a sample is accidentally put in formalin and has not dissolved, you can remove the sample from formalin and allow to dry. Please note on the submission form that the sample has been in formalin. Sample analysis may be delayed due to inappropriate submission methods.

I am a pet owner, can I submit samples from my pet?

I am a pet owner, can I submit samples from my pet?

In general, we limit submissions to those directly from veterinarians.   We firmly believe patient management is best when both the pet owner and veterinarian are involved. Your veterinarian is in the best position to interpret results and partner with you to provide the follow up care necessary to prevent future urolith formation.   If you have questions, please email us at support@urolithcenter.org.  

Where can I get advice on commercial/homecooked diets?

Where can I get advice on commercial/homecooked diets?

More and more, pet owners are partnering with their veterinary team to determine appropriate diets for their pets.  In some cases, the pet may have multiple medical conditions in addition to urolithiasis. 

The Minnesota Urolith Center recommendations which include optimum dietary characteristics for management of urolith patients can be found under mineral-specific prevention recommendations .

Other diets may be appropriate.  However, we have not performed appropriate studies on home-prepared diets or on many commercial diets regarding their efficacy in the treatment or prevention of urolithiasis.  If a home-prepared diet is being considered, be aware that some individual ingredients may be higher in calcium, oxalate, purine, etc.

Information about how to contact and consult with a veterinary nutritionist.

How soon can I expect results?

How soon can I expect results?

Our in laboratory turn-around time is approximately 10-16 days after the sample has been received.  The exact turn-around time is updated each month and posted at urolithcenter.org. 

COMPLEMENTARY UROLITH ANALYSIS:  Made available by financial support from Hill's Pet Nutrition, pet owners and veterinary professionals like you! 
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