Why Are My Dog Or Cat’s Urine Microalbumin Test Results High?

Ron Hines DVM PhD

See What Normal Blood & Urine Values Are

Causes Of Most Abnormal Blood & Urine Tests

See How Tests Are Grouped

Your Pet’s Urine Microalbumin Level = Urine MA = Same Data As Urine P:C Ratio

Your pet’s kidneys are very efficient strainers that allow unwanted products, like blood urea, to pass out of its body in its urine while holding important blood ingredients, like albumin, back.

When your dog or cat’s kidneys loose that selective ability, they have been severely damaged in one way or another. So, the earlier your veterinarian can detect that this is occurring, the more likely he/she will be to stop or slow the process.

The microalbumin test is the most accurate early warning system that veterinarians currently have (read about the SDMA test herehere). For many years, veterinarians and physicians relied on simple dipstick methods to detect the level of protein (including albumin) in urine to warn them of the problem and, perhaps, followed that up with an SSA test. But many health issues other than kidney damage can account for elevated urine total protein readings obtained in that manner. Those tests were also not able to detect the very small amounts of protein present early in disease (kidney glomerular scaring, glomerulosclerosis). This was particularly true in cats. There are other options (to the MA test) for detecting the beginnings of protein leakage in early kidney disease. One is the Idexx Urine P:C ratio test.

Your vet is still likely to begin a health check with a simple urine dipstick; but more likely now to follow up with a microprotein (or another “early marker”) assay. That is because chronic kidney disease is the most common problem veterinarians see in older dogs and cats.

The MA test is also one of the best monitoring test to follow the progress of kidney disease once you know that your pet has a chronic kidney problem (CKD).

Reasons Why Your Dog Or Cat’s Urine Microalbumin Levels Might Be High:

Any degree (amount) of damage to your pet’s kidney filtering apparatus (glomeruli) or the tubes that convey processed urine to the bladder (“tubulo-interstial disease”) or generalized kidney inflammation and disorders will elevate your pet’s MA test results.

An elevated MA test can also be a tip-off to problems that are not centered in your pet’s kidneys, but that are affecting its kidneys. Problems such as heartworm disease, chronic inflammatory, autoimmune diseases, feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, Cushing’s disease and just about any other health problem that causes general debility fit into that group.

Urinary tract infections can cause MA tests to be high, as can blood present in the urine for any reason, that is visible to the eye (gross hematuria, frank blood) or unseen (=occult blood +). 

Complimentary Tests:

CBC and blood chemistry values including blood creatinine,   TP,     blood albumin and phosphorus level.   Complete urinalysis, including urine specific gravity and a microalbuminuria test Tests for urinary tract patency (free passage), kidney ultrasound, contrast x-rays of your pet’s urinary system, including kidneys, ureters and bladder. An intravenous pyelogram other imaging techniques


You are on the Vetspace animal health website

Visiting the products that you see displayed on this website help pay the cost of keeping these articles on the Internet.