What is the first thing that comes to your mind when your senior dog starts leaving wet spots on your floors? I bet a chronic UTI is not one of them.
Tara was a ten-year-old spayed Golden Retriever. She was as lovely and friendly as a Golden Retriever can get. At her age, Tara did have arthritis, but that didn’t stop her from wagging her tail and enjoying life.
The first signs of arthritis showed up when Tara was three years old.
When a dog that young starts slowing down and having difficulty getting up in the morning, you know something is amiss. Tara’s mom took her to a veterinarian who diagnosed Tara with hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is a deformity of the hip joint that occurs during growth. While this can happen to any dog, larger breeds are more likely to suffer from poorly developed hips. Golden Retrievers are one of those breeds. As a result, the misshapen joint develops arthritis over time.
Her mom managed Tara’s arthritis with anti-inflammatory medications which was enough to keep Tara comfortable and having a good quality of life.
All was well until Tara started leaving small puddles of urine in the house.
Tara did not break her housetraining; she was going out to potty as always. She seemed unaware of leaking small amounts of pee.
Urinary incontinence is involuntary leakage of urine–a condition common in older spayed female dogs. It is most likely to happen during rest or sleep. Since Cookie is having this kind of problem, I know that the amount can range from a small spot to a huge puddle. The urine can dribble when Cookie walks around as well, particularly if she already made a large puddle.
Urinary incontinence caused by a weak bladder sphincter is typically treated with medication that helps tighten it.
However, Tara also started drinking more than usual.
Increased drinking can signal all sorts of serious health issues. And, naturally, the additional amount of liquid too can cause urinary accidents.
That’s why a laboratory work-up is the place to start.
Tara’s veterinarian examined her blood and urine.
Tara’s blood looked good. Her urine, however, contained something that does not belong–protein. There should be no or very little protein in a dog’s pee.
The most common reason why the veterinarian might find protein in your dog’s urine is a urinary tract infection (UTI). But there are some potential scarier reasons too.
Tara’s urine contained a lot of protein. Her veterinarian recommended an ultrasound to get to the bottom of it. The ultrasound revealed changes in Tara’s kidneys. Something like that can happen with a chronic, low-grade bacterial infection.
To get an uncontaminated sample of Tara’s pee, the veterinarian collected it directly from her bladder.
He sent the sample to a lab for thorough analysis.
Tara’s urine contained bacteria resistant to common antibiotics. A regular treatment would have been useless for Tara.
Jasmine’s second UTI turned out a resistant strain as well. The only antibiotic that tested effective what terribly hard on her.
Because Tara’s infection was chronic, she not only needed a potent antibiotic but a long-course of treatment.
Fortunately, unlike Jasmine, Tara’s body responded to the treatment favorably. Tara’s potty accidents stopped as soon as within a day from when the treatment started.
Tara also felt visibly better–happier, and more energy.
As it seemed, Tara was not slowing down because of her age, nor because of her arthritis–the infection might have been getting the better of her.
Chronic UTI in dogs can be hard to diagnose.
They can be hard to treat too. Tara had to take her antibiotics for eight weeks and had to have her pee cultured repeatedly to make sure the infection was gone for good.
Golden Retriever Leaving Wet Spots on the Carpet