FAQ

How much do you charge for urolith analysis?   The Minnesota Urolith Center provides quantitative urolith (stone) analysis at no cost. 
How can we provide this service? Because hundreds of veterinary clinics, veterinary professionals, and pet owners donate annually along with an educational grant from Hill's Pet Nutrition.   Give Now
 
Samples Accepted/declined  - Our laboratory offers urolith analysis of minerals from the urinary tract (aka uroliths, urinary stones, urinary calculi)
 
Samples NOT accepted - Urolith cultures, urinalysis, choleoliths (gallbladder stones), sialoliths, enteroliths or other material from outside the urinary tract are not accepted.  Consult your local reference laboratory, your state veterinary college or diagnostic laboratory, or materials characterization facilities in your area for assistance
 
Species accepted/declined  
  • USA submissions:  We are able to accept samples from all species (EXCEPT primates and humans) . Be sure to provide detailed species identification when entering patient information online prior to shipping samples.
  • International Submissions:  To comply with international regulations, shipments from clinics outside the United States must contain only approved species. See “Shipping from outside the USA” for acceptable species under USDA guidelines 1102, 1103, 1104.  In general, dogs, cats, rodents, aquatic species, and reptiles are accepted.
How should a sample be prepared for shipment?  Please rinse urolith(s) gently in water and air dry.   Place clean dry urolith(s) in non-breakable container and label with owner and patient name.  Do not send in formalin or any liquid.   For further assistance view the printable guide (pdf) with images.

How should we package and ship the sample? Detailed information can be found at Shipping a sample.  We recommend you ship packages by a carrier that provides tracking information.  Tracking provided by the shipping company gives you information on the path of your sample before it arrives in our laboratory.  Submissions from outside the USA require shipping through carriers that allow for customs USDA/APHIS inspections.

Can I order supplies or shipping labels?  The Minnesota Urolith Center does not provide containers or prepaid mailers.  Any shipping, duties, or customs inspection charges are the responsibility of the shipper.  The package can be shipped via USPS, FedEx, UPS or your preferred carrier 

If you are checking on a sample status - login at urolithcenter.org.  If the statue of the samples is still listed as "Not Yet Received" please check with your shipping company before contacting us.

Once the package is opened, the sample will be marked as "Pending".  Our average in-lab turnaround time is approximately 9 days.  
 
Do we need to submit all the uroliths removed?    We advise always submitting the largest stone, and a representative portion of sizes, shapes, and colors.

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.

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, rinse gently with water 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.  Formalin may alter or dissolve some minerals.
 
Can we ship samples from multiple patients in the same package? 
Yes.    
  1. Enter the sample information online at urolithcenter.org
  2. Label each sample with the owner and patient name.
  3. Individually package each sample and paperwork together in a ziploc.
  4. Include a note with the number of samples in the package
  5. Ship the package via a trackable courier service.
How to submit a urethral plug for analysis?   Urethral Plugs may be composed primarily of crystalline material, cellular/proteinaceous material or 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.

How should the sample be stored until it is shipped?   Samples should be stored dry.  Clean, dry samples can be stored at room temperature. 

How long will the sample be viable for analysis?   Samples stored dry are generally viable for several years.

Where can I submit a Urolith for Culture?  At the Minnesota Urolith Center we perform quantitative urolith analysis which indicates the mineral type(s) in the urinary calculi. We do not offer urolith culture as part of our no-cost urolith analysis. However, the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab does perform urolith culture for a cost.  Information about Urolith Cultures   See Also - Should you culture stones?

The incorrect patient information was entered online - how do I correct it?  You are not able to edit sample information once it has been entered online.  If you have not shipped the sample - please make the modifications to the submission slip and the changes can be made once the sample arrives at the laboratory.  If you have already shipped the sample - please contact us at support@urolithcenter.org with your clinic and sample information and provide us with the correct data.

The submission form was not included in the shipment, what should I do?  Please email the laboratory at support@urolithcenter.org with your clinic name, address and Owner/Patient information. We will watch for your sample and match it up with the online information when the sample arrives.

Can I cancel my sample it has not been shipped?  Our online system does not allow you to cancel the analysis request.  If the sample has not yet been shipped – please contact us at support@urolithcenter.org with your clinic name, address, owner/patient name along with our laboratory sample number and we can cancel the request.   

Can I cancel my sample it is currently in the mail?   We are unable to cancel sample analysis once the sample has been shipped/received at the laboratory.  The information entered for each sample provides epidemiological data that helps us track trends in mineral composition.  You will receive a copy of the report.   We perform our analysis as no charge - so you will not receive a bill for our services.  Owners are not contacted without the authorization of the submitting clinic.   
 
 Questions about uploading radiographs
  • When submitting sample information online, do I need to upload a radiograph image? No
  • How many radiographs/view can I upload when entering the sample information?  One preprocedural lateral radiograph.  
  • What file format can be uploaded?  png or jpeg
  • I forgot to upload the radiograph information when I entered the sample information - what should I do?  You can email the image to support@urolithcenter.org.  Be sure to include your clinic information along with the owner and patient name. 
What should I do if I forgot my password?  Go to urolithcenter.org.  Select  Log In, then Forgot Password.  A new password will be emailed to you.

Our clinic has a new email address and I am not able to request a password reset?  To create a new login username and password for your clinic go to urolithcenter.org, select  ‘Sign up.' then 'I know my clinic ID'; and using your clinic ID and zip code create a new username and password 
 
How do you release the results to a clinic?  When results are completed they are either emailed and/or faxed to the clinic depending on the notification method setup by the clinic. We no longer mail paper copies of results.