Hello again, Primrose here!
Last time we talked, it was mostly about me (and how awesome I am). While I am still pretty darn cute and interesting, I wanted to take the opportunity today to talk about my big sister Madison (or Maddie for short).
Big Sis Maddie is pretty awesome. She showed me the ropes when I first came into this family, like how to look extra cute for a treat, who and what I should bark at (which is everyone and everything), where are the best napping spots, etc. I like to follow Maddie around so I can watch and learn as much as I can from her. We also like to wrestle and play, well mostly I run around like crazy, and she stands there barking at me and trying to catch me as I rush past.
There are a few things I have noticed about Maddie. First of all, she seems to like to sleep a lot and always gets tired a lot sooner than I do. After we have a long play session, sometimes she can be quite sore, even limping. Mom says that’s because she is a senior dog (whatever that means…). Recently, Maddie has been having accidents where she wets the bed in her sleep. I find this very strange, why didn’t she tell mom to let her outside? I especially find it odd because rather than being upset about the accidents, mom was worried about Maddie’s health. She made Maddie pee in a cup so she could test her urine. She told me this was to look for signs of an infection, bladder stones or kidney problems. When that came back as normal, she took some blood samples from Maddie, looking for signs of kidney disease or other conditions that could affect Maddie’s health and urination.
When I asked mom why she was doing all these tests just because Maddie wet the bed, mom told me it was because Maddie could have a condition called Urinary Incontinence. It is a condition where she may have lost the ability to control when she urinates, but mom also needs to rule out other conditions that could cause increased urine production.
I decided to do a little bit of research on this condition that mom told me about. There are multiple causes of incontinence (involuntary urine leakage). Most cases of incontinence are due to:
a) Infection of the urinary tract (usually bladder infection)
This is common in all age groups and is easily diagnosed with a urinalysis (urine test). If an infection is the real cause of the incontinence, it should resolve with a course of antibiotics
b) Excessive consumption of water
Some dogs drink so much water that their bladder overflows causing them to leak urine. In these cases, the urine will be quite dilute (basically almost water) A urinalysis can be useful to assess the concentration of the urine. Several medical conditions can cause a dog (or cat) to drink excessively, and they include diabetes, hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s disease and kidney disease. Bloodwork is needed to diagnose these conditions.
c) Weak bladder sphincter
There are many factors which can lead to a weak bladder sphincter (muscle). Age, obesity and nerve damage can all play a role. This condition is quite common, affecting 1 in 5 female dogs. There are medications which can help better control this sphincter, estrogen being one of them.
d) Spinal cord disease
While I look up to Maddie a lot, I’ve decided that I don’t want to be a senior for a while, it seems like a lot of work to me. Mom is still running some tests to make sure she is healthy. Maddie also has to take a lot of medications, some for her arthritis, some for her liver and now some for her bladder. I tell mom that I would like medications as well, mostly because they come in a treat, but mom says that I am too young and perfectly healthy so I don’t need any. So, I guess I will have to get treats the old-fashioned way, by looking absolutely adorable!
Well, that’s all for now! I’m off to go bark at a cat.
Written by Dr. Sarah Bowyer, DVM