Copperopolis has Jessie, his companion of 13 years, who
has developed a problem with urination over the last few
weeks. Jessie is a mixed breed female dog that Mark
believes to be part German short-haired pointer and
Australian shepherd. She is spayed and has had no health
problems to speak of in the past.
has recently begun to leave urine puddles in areas where
she had previously been lying down. She will get up in
the morning with an area of urine soaking her bed and in
some obvious distress as a result. Mark also thinks she
might be drinking a bit more water than usual.
shares a very important point in his email and that is
Jessie’s distress over her inappropriate urination.
She feels in human terms, embarrassed, and it is
important that when this occurs, we do not scold our
companions. They are already feeling bad.
in urinary habits usually can reflect a change in the
health of the urinary tract. The urinary tract is
comprised of the kidneys, the ureters (the tubes from
the kidneys to the bladder), the bladder and the
urethra. There are disease conditions that can result in
changes in urinary habits that are not directly
associated with the urinary tract. In Jessie’s case,
we need to decipher where her problem lies.
may be as simple as age-related urinary incontinence.
This condition can arise as a dog gets older and starts
to lose a bit of control over the sphincter muscle that
keeps urine inside the bladder. When this relaxes some,
urine can leak by without the dog realizing.
are endocrine diseases (diseases of the hormonal system)
that can cause an increase in thirst and a resulting
increase in urination. Remember if you increase the
amount that goes in one end, you’re going to increase
the amount that comes out the other. One of these
diseases is diabetes. Another disease that falls into
this category is Cushings disease. It is a disease
process that causes the body to produce too much
cortisone and one of the most common signs associated
with this problem is increased thirst and urination.
directly involving the urinary tract as mentioned can
also lead to changes in urinary habits and thirst. One
such possibility is kidney disease. The kidneys are
marvelous organs that are designed to filter certain
chemicals out of the blood stream and put them into a
liquid medium called urine, which is then eliminated
through urination from the bladder.
is an active process that allows some of the water
involved to be saved within the body by concentrating
the urine before it is released. In some cases of kidney
disease, the kidneys will lose their ability to
concentrate the urine and the urine volume will greatly
increase. These companions will be urinating excessively
and will be drinking excessively to try to keep up with
the ongoing loss of water.
of the urinary tract caused by a number of different
types of bacteria can cause increased urinary frequency
although not always an increased thirst. The irritation
caused by the infection will produce a very frequent
urge to urinate with little volume with each attempt.
inside the bladder can cause the same irritation and
also result in increased urinary frequency. There are
cases of infection and of stones where these companions
will drink excessively.
that we have covered of few of the disease possibilities
that may be leading to Jessie’s urinary problem, let’s
discuss the possibility of primary urinary incontinence.
This condition is especially prominent in older female
spayed dogs and is diagnosed by ruling out other disease
possibilities. Usually, this can be done with blood work
and a urinalysis, but in the case of bladder stones,
radiographs and/or ultrasound may be necessary.
there is no underlying disease associated with Jessie’s
incontinence, we can label her condition primary urinary
incontinence and prescribe oral medication that
generally works very well in controlling this issue. As
always, the key is a proper diagnosis that can then lead
to proper therapy.