Recently, I received a letter from an inquisitive Dalmatian owner which
stated in part:
"I have a 9-year-old female Dalmatian that has been diagnosed with
a urinary tract infection because of red blood cells found in urine aspirated
from her urinary bladder during an annual physical exam. She does not have
a problem urinating and her urine appears very clear; it is not bloody.
My vet has tried two types of antibiotics (cephalexin first and trimethoprim-sulfa
three weeks later). Even though her urine is not bloody, red blood cells
are still present in the urinalysis. My vet also prescribed a special diet
to prevent urate stones from forming even though no crystals were found
in her urine. Is there a probability of urinary stones even though there
are no crystals in her urine? Is the urinary tract infection persisting
because of stones?"
Most would agree that a correct diagnosis is a key prerequisite to providing
safe and effective treatment for various illnesses. However, our diagnoses
are often a matter of opinion rather than matter of fact.