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DanaDVM, Dog Answer Team
Category: Dog
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Experience:  Dog Expert
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canine saltwater swimming and apparent associated urinary incontinence

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My 3-year-old lab mix lifelong has played ball while swimming in salt water and RECENTLY has developed signigicant urinary incontinence while sleeping afterwards x several incidents. She had normal blood work.
I am confused by your question.  Is your dog urinating in her sleep? But is otherwise normal? Is she spayed?


Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Vamvakias's Post: Hi Dr. V,

Thank you for writing back.

She is incontinent in her sleep. When she is at the beach, she always wants to play ball by having you throw it in the water, and she retrieves it and swims back. She plays until you have to stop her, as she won't stop herself, she loves it so much. Typical lab behavior around here. She swims in a saltwater bay. So she gets some saltwater intake, then goes in the cabin, drinks a bunch of fresh water, and falls deeply asleep. That is when she has emptied her bladder in her sleep in several incidents. Or she may begin to wake up, but the urine is pouring out of her already. The only other time we noticed a bit of incontinence was last Christmas when she had a bunch of table scraps. Maybe they were too much salt for her? Just a layman's guess...looking for clues and thinking back to anything that might help you.

She is being treated with the phenylpropanolamine, but I'm not really sure if it is helping. She does pretty well during the week, but back up at the cabin on weekends or during the ride home after the weekend, when she is very tired and falls asleep, it has happened again.

Yes, she is spayed.

The only other thing that is unusual in her medical history is she had a paralysis of her masseter muscle last year where she could not close her mouth, drooled excessively, and for a while had to be hand fed and watered with a large syringe in the corner of her mouth. She recovered over about 2-3 months. The vet did not know why this happened. But we were pretty amazed when she was able to actually catch the ball in her mouth again. Our vet recommended throwing it to her to help tone her muscle again as the paralysis gradually went away.

I am sorry to be so wordy! I hope you have an idea of how to help us all! Her name is XXXXX XXXXX we love her very much. Thanks again, Sue
Please tell me Meka weight and the dose and frequency you are giving the medication.


Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Vamvakias's Post: Meka weighs 80#. We have been trying to give her 50 mg twice a day, esp. before the weekend and through the weekend, when it has been happening.

Thanks, Sue
incontinence that is responsive to PPA should be treated on a regular basis. So you feel that she only needs it on the weekend...Could it be that you are noticing it more on the weekend because you are around more vs. she isn't doing it?


Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Vamvakias's Post: I could try to do it faithfully week-round. I don't think she is doing it during the week. It so far seems to only be after going up to the cabin on weekends, which are 3 days of heavy exercise for her compared to the other 4 days we work. It's like she is tired out the first day at home and kind of crabby from the Big Weekend, but that is not new. There is no evidence of it in her bed at home or anywhere else. Sometimes she does do that gets-so-excited-to-see-someone thing and can wet a tiny amount then, but that is not new, and seems different.
Maybe my concern about the saltwater thing is a red herring (sorry...that is a terrible pun!), but I keep coming across warnings under pet care to not let your dog drink the saltwater while she swims. And obviously, Meka gets some when retrieving her balls and sticks from the water.
There are things that we would consider about the water...but "temporary incontinence" is not one. Maybe chronic urinary tract infections, skin rashes, respiratory  issues...etc.

I do want you to consider one other thing. Labs are wonderful dogs, and they will literally "go" for you until they drop dead.  Owners with labs tend to be "slow" figuring out pain issues because the dog knows when to be "on" for the owner.  Labs can have musculoskeletal issues.

I would consider backing off of the dog for a weekend. I know "she loves it"...but the level of exhaustion is concerning and I can not rule out complete fatigue both muscle/and neuro as not being a factor.

Either way you will have to see. Don't use the drugs and try to monitor the dog at home and on weekends but lessen the dogs activities by half...and just see.

If your dog is so exhausted that the incontinence only happens with the are working the dog too much.


DanaDVM, Dog Answer Team
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 998
Experience: Dog Expert
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Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Vamvakias's Post: Thank you so much, Dr. Vamvakias. I appreciate all the time you have put into this tonight. We will follow your advice, slow Meka way down for a weekend, then resume activities by half and see how she does. It makes sense and would be a great answer as opposed to having something more sinister wrong with her. Thanks again, Sue
Let me know how it goes...


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