“Sage”, our female Lab mix, began to urinate on the bed during the night. She was diagnosed with a bladder infection, given antibiotics, and the problem disappeared. It reoccurred a couple of months later; another round of antibiotics fixed it. It reoccurred again, and this time the antibiotics had no effect. About the same time, my stepson, his fiancé, and their two dogs moved in with us. While the dogs seem to be coexisting harmoniously our hypothesis is that our Lab’s latest behavior is connected to the extra dogs. Her only issues seem to be at night, so our strategy is to have her spend the night in our garage. Are we missing something?
Actually, it is Sage who is missing something – her ovaries; they were removed during spaying, along with her uterus. Her bladder leaks during the night because her estrogen is diminished, weakening the sphincter muscle that controls her urine outflow. About 20% of spayed female dogs suffer this embarrassment while sleeping. Called urethral sphincter muscle incompetence (USMI), these accidents cause distress for Sage. The other girls at school point at her and snicker.
Bladder infections are common in spayed dogs with USMI. Leaked urine irritates the skin, causing them to lick their genital areas excessively, seeding their urinary tracts with bacteria. The resulting infections usually respond well to antibiotics. At this stage Sage may have developed a bladder stone, which would make it even harder for her to control her urine. Abdominal x-rays, a urinalysis, and a blood panel are in order. If bladder stones, infection, and internal organ dysfunction are ruled-out Sage’s doctor can prescribe a medication called Incurin (cq), an estrogen tablet, or Proin (cq). Effective bladder control can be achieved for almost every leaky girl dog.
On the other hand, if Sage is dribbling because she’s unsettled by her new roomies it wouldn’t occur while she’s sleeping but while awake and fretting properly. This is not behavioral; Sage does not belong in the garage. My old Triumph sports car leaks; she sleeps in the garage.
For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website, drjeffnichol.com.
Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (drjeffnichol.com). Each week he shares a blog and a video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Email pet behavior or physical questions to or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.