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Ana Bascunan
Ana Bascunan,
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 103
Experience:  Small Animal Surgery Resident at University of Florida
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Our dog doesn't drink a lot of water normally, but she

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Our dog doesn't drink a lot of water normally, but she drinks a lot of water at the dog park after exercising vigorously and then urinates up to 7 times afterwards when walked but continues to leak urine, especially if she falls asleep. In the last few month we've noticed little or large spots of urine around the house as well, but I'm fairly certain it's from incontinence. She is about 2 years old and healthy and energetic otherwise. Recent urinalysis said no bacteria.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
breed: hound - medication recommended looking for second opinion

Hello, my name is***** and I'm happy to help answer your question about urinary incontinence. First of all- what is your dogs name? Also, is she spayed?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Amy. Yes, she is spayed

Ok, great thank you. Please give me a minute while I prepare some information for you.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
medication was suggested for her bladder sphincter (?) Could it be anything else or do you concur

Based on your description of Amy's signs (primarily the leaking urine while asleep and dribbling urine in the house), I agree that it sounds most like urinary incontinence. There are many potential causes of urinary incontinence in the dog.

It sounds like your veterinarian has screened for one common cause, urinary tract infection. While it's great news that a urinalysis was recently negative for infection, I will caution you that occasionally UTIs can be missed on routine urinalysis. The most sensitive way to detect UTI would be to do a urine culture, which is a test where they try to grow any bacteria that may be present in the urine (takes 5 days).

Another potential cause, particularly if Amy has had this problem since she was a puppy, is something called ectopic ureters. The ureters are the tubes that connect the kidney to the urinary bladder. If these tubes develop wrong such that they insert anywhere other than where they are supposed to, we can see chronic urinary incontinence. Ectopic ureters can sometimes be seen on ultrasound or on x-rays with special contrast agents injected.

A third cause of urinary incontinence is neurologic disease. Your veterinarian can do a thorough exam on Amy and make sure she isn't showing any signs of neurologic dysfunction.

Lastly, once other causes are ruled out, we are left with Urethral Sphincter Mechanism Incontinence (USMI). This is a condition that is occasionally seen after we spay dogs (so if Amy's problems developed after her spay, this becomes more likely). The medication your veterinarian recommended is intended to increase muscle tone in the sphincter that controls the urethra. These medications usually work very well, however they do need to be given lifelong to maintain control.

In conclusion, there are a few other conditions that Amy can be evaluated for prior to starting this medication. However, if costs are a concern, there is little harm in starting the medication on a short term basis to see if it helps her.

Additionally, if you determine that Amy does have USMI and responds well to the medication, but you are not wanting to have to give it for the rest of her life, there is a surgical procedure in which they implant a balloon-like device around the urethra, which is then filled with saline to a level that provides good control of leaking. This is called a hydraulic occluder device and is something you could consider down the line for Amy, if you determine that her sphincter is not working well.

Do you have any further questions regarding Amy?

Please let me know if I can help any further with Amy. Otherwise I wish you both the best!

Ana Bascunan and 2 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thanks! The leaking was something that started a month ago or so and is very pronounced when she drinks a lot of water ( after going to the dog park). We adopted her 7 months ago and the problem just started a couple of months ago, so I thought it might be something that recently cropped up like an infection instead of a birth defect or from spaying. However, that seems to be the consensus (treat her with medication).