I’m a bit concerned that Ryan might be getting another urinary tract infection (UTI). For the past several days leukocytes (white blood cells) are showing up in his urine. This is an indicator that Ryan’s immune system is engaged. The one thing that is giving me hope is the absence of nitrites; a sure sign of infection when leukocytes are also present.
It was on my Monday — my birthday — that the urine dip test strips alerted us. For the next three days, there was no change in either direction. His urine was free of foul odor and not cloudy. Beyond this, he was showing no discomfort. Then yesterday I was happy to see that leukocytes went from +1 to trace. Things were moving in the right direction.
Until last night.
It was a rough night for Ryan. His pulse was up over 25 beats per minute as compared to his baseline. He was restless and squirming. Something was bothering him, for sure. After getting him up for the day he settled down. I inspected his urine and it was clear and of normal odor; both good signs.
After Ryan’s first urine output of the morning I did a urine dip. Leukocytes immediately went to +2, a purple color (which is the greatest). It happened the instant the urine hit the stick. There’s no question now, Ryan’s immune system is going hard.
Nitrites might be present, but it’s a tough call. The challenge in these home test kits is discerning the faintest change in shades. It’s oftentimes difficult to see the difference between white and the palest shade of pink, especially without ideal lighting. Unfortunately, I think I see it just slightly. I included a picture (left) of a chart similar to what we use.
I’ll check his urine again this afternoon. It’s the only way, short of sending it out for culture, to know.
If I am convinced nitrites are present I’ll send his urine out. The culture will tell us the exact bacteria causing the infection. One thing I’m going to do differently — unless it’s a highly resistant bacteria — is hold the antibiotic until Ryan presents clinical signs (foul and cloudy urine odor, physical discomfort, etc.) . Although not likely, perhaps this bacteria has harmlessly colonized and will always be present after antibiotics have completely cleared his system.