The urinary system may look simple – two kidneys, a bladder and a few little tubes – but it is a complex system that is vital for life. The entire blood supply is filtered through the kidneys almost constantly. Toxins, by-products and excess amounts of certain substances are removed from the blood. As the blood runs through the kidneys, they assess blood pressure and fluid volume. The kidneys will either save water or remove it depending on a pet ™s hydration status. They also produce hormones that help maintain proper blood pressure. Urine is the combination of the waste products and excess water. It collects in the center of the kidneys and then runs down tiny tubes called ureters to empty into the bladder. While all of this is occurring, the kidneys are also making hormones that help to make red blood cells, maintain calcium and phosphorous levels and metabolize vitamin D! Wow! The bladder is truly just a storage space with an amazing capacity to expand. A sphincter muscle prevents urine from constantly dribbling out of the bladder. When the sphincter is opened, urine can flow through the urethra to the outside world. It is amazing how such a seemingly system can be so complex and vital.
by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP