Incontinence? Cookie’s Mysterious Leaks

The first time it happened was about two weeks after Cookie’s pancreatitis.

Is Cookie incontinent or is something else going on?

She was lying on the couch a licking her vulva a lot. She made a wet spot and at first, I thought it was from all the licking. Further inspection revealed that the spot seemed much wetter than licking could make it.

The vulva seemed to look normal and there was no smell to it nor the wet spot Cookie made on the sheet. But as I was examining it, I saw a little teardrop of clear liquid come out. So perhaps she was licking so hard because it was dripping? Or was she just licking because of irritation and the drip was secondary to that?

In the morning I reported that to our vet.

Estrogen-dependent urinary incontinence usually appears in the morning; the dog wakes up in a puddle of pee as the sphincter relaxes while asleep. This happened in the evening and Cookie was not sleeping. Plus to me, it didn’t look or smell like urine, the wet spot didn’t even stain.

Cookie’s vulva didn’t look red or irritated and the discharge was clear. We were advised to prevent her from licking it so much and see.

The next evening Cookie was not licking herself but made puddles again. This time the spot was quite soaked. The whole thing lasted for about two hours and that was that.

There was no color and no smell to it. It had been very cold and Cookie was bouncing through deep snow. I was wondering whether that might have irritated her and cause the drips? I know that my nose gets very runny in cold weather. And it’s always happened after she spent some time outside.

Either way, we decided to take her to the vet the next day.

He checked her urine, there was no infection. He found some low-grade vaginitis. He figured it could be because of a virus she caught because of reduced resistance after her pancreatitis, or changes in the flora of the vagina after the antibiotic therapy. He figured it should be self-limiting and we agreed on letting her body deal with it on its own.

And just like that, it stopped.

Everything was just fine for a couple of weeks and then the leaking returned. In the same pattern, sometime after her day at the farm. Again, lasted for about a couple of hours and stopped. She was resting again, and this time it actually seemed to squirt when she moved to reach.

To me, it still wasn’t clear whether it was indeed urine or some other fluid.

And if her bladder was full, why wouldn’t she know she needed to pee?

After it started again, I decided to invite her to go outside and pee. The first day it seemed to have stopped the leakage. The second day it seemed to have stopped the leakage. The third day it did not. Hm …

Were we looking at some kind of a plumbing problem after all?

If it was, why it would not appear until this Winter? If present from birth, it would be odd for it not to show up until now.

And after three evenings it went away again.

Went away to return another couple weeks later.

I found that very confusing. If it was incontinence, why would it come and go like that? Cookie goes out for walks or days at the farm every day. She eats a bunch of snow every day. She runs and plays every day. Everything is consistent and yet for the third time, she had a couple of evenings of leakage.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any more strange, our vet mentioned that he had people mention that some treats/chew sticks, such as rawhide, caused increased urine production as well as pumpkin causing bladder leakage.

Cookie’s diet had been consistent, didn’t contain any pumpkin but she did munch on a rawhide a tiny little bit. Not each time this happened, though.

And why does it last only an hour or two?

We had Cookie examined again. The vulva was normal, the area near urethra was still a little red. Urine was normal. No signs of infection and urine culture didn’t grow anything.

And again, after the three days, the problem went away.

Is it gone for good this time or is it coming back?

If it does return, the next logical step seems to be capturing and examining some of the fluid to determine whether it is indeed urine or something else and go from there.

Challenges never seize …

Did you ever have a problem like that with your dog?

Categories: ConditionsReal-life StoriesUrinary accidentsUrinary incontinenceVaginitis

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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