Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Still Confused About Cookie's Incontinence

It figures that when you're doing well on one front, something else crops up or comes back to haunt you. Cookie's knees seem to be doing well, so I suppose it was time for her leaks to return.


This, of course, is not the end of the world but not something either Cookie or ourselves enjoy either.

Cookie doesn't like "making a mess" and we don't want her to wake up in a drenched bed either. I also don't want her to end up with skin issues because of that.


All beds and couches are lined with pee pads, covered up with a blankie. Two reasons for the blankie - it's more comfortable, and it helps keep the pee pads in place. It would be easier to just cover everything with pee pads, but they'd just end up crumpled in the corner slacking off, unable to do their job. It means extra laundry, but it works.

We make sure she gets frequent enough potty breaks and goes to pee before bed.


Cookie's leaks were diagnosed as hormone-responsive incontinence.

It would make sense given that according to all evidence she was spayed extremely young. But there are some things that are not adding up in my mind.

Why did Cookie start leaking shortly after her bout of pancreatitis? Yes, it's true the pancreatitis could have been a fluke, and the two just coincided in time and had nothing to do one with another.

Having had an abdominal ultrasound while we were trying to figure out the reason for her elevated ALT, nobody saw any anatomical abnormalities in the pee department.

And yet when and how the leaks happen doesn't make sense most of the time.

Cookie can go without leaks for months. We keep her on phytoestrogen supplement with r/x estrogen therapy when needed. Last time she had her r/x was November of the last year. Just now we had to start another round.

Could it be influenced by the amount of exercise?

I imagine that being more tired would contribute. Plus when running and playing a lot, not only the body gets more tired, but Cookie also gets thirsty and drinks more. So far that makes sense.

Does Cookie typically leak at night or when sleeping?

Sometimes. She may or may not be asleep when it happens. It may be at night, in the morning, during the day, or in the evening. Sometimes she might wake up with couple little drops on her bed; sometimes she can make a puddle hanging out after dinner.

Here is where it gets the most interesting:

Cookie is perfectly able to remain dry through the night in spite of getting up with a full bladder. And she is perfectly able to leave a puddle right after she peed outside, with bladder presumably mostly voided.

So how come the sphincter can hold large volume one day and not a small amount the next?

That is my question. There is no predictable pattern to things. Would all that mean there is something more involved than a garden variety incontinence?

A wet bed every now and then isn't really that big of a deal.

But if there is something else involved, what else is it affecting?

I am perfectly aware that things don't always happen according to a textbook. But this keeps bothering me. The things about Cookie's leaks that are not adding up.

Do you have a dog with hormone-responsive incontinence? What is your experience?

Related articles:
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot? 
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking To Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
Incontinence? Cookie's Mysterious Leaks 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update
One Vomit, No Vomit 
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
Cookie's Leaks Are Back: Garden Variety Incontinence Or Not?
Cookie's Leaks Update 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is 
The Continuing Saga Of Cookie's Leeks: Trying Chiropractic Approach 
Cookie's Minor Eye Irritation
Regular Wellness Exam: Cookie's ALT Was Elevated 
Cookie's Plantar Paw Pad Injury 
How Far To Take It When The Dog Isn't Sick?
Cookie Has Tapeworm Infection 
Cookie's Elevated ALT: The Ultrasound and Cytology  
Cookie's ALT Update
The Importance of Observation: Cookie's Chiropractic Adjustment
Sometimes You Don't Even Know What You're Looking at: Cookie's Scary "We Have No Idea What that Was" 
Living with an Incontinent Dog 
Summer Dangers: Cookie Gets Stung by a Bald-faced Hornet 
To Breathe or Not To Breathe: Cookie's Hind Legs Transiently Fail to Work (Again)
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Process 
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Diagnosis 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Trazodone  
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Other Medications 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Laser, Hydrotherapy and Chiropractic 
Cookie's Recovery from Iliopsoas Injury: ToeGrips 
It Never Rains ... Cookie's New Injury 
Mixed Emotions: When What You Should Do Might Not Be What You Should Do for Your Dog 
Cookie's New Injury Update 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: The Symptoms 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: Battling the Zoomies 
Cookie's Muscle Injuries: What Else Is Going On?
Theory and Actual Decisions for an Actual Dog Aren't the Same Thing: Cookie's Knee Injury
Does Your Vet Listen to You? Cookie's Post-Sedation Complications
Would I Ever Treat a Symptom Directly? 
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Cookie's Bad Knee(s)
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Cookie's Bad Cruciate Update 
Injury or Surgery Recovery: Mishaps versus Setbacks 
See Something, Do Something: Cookie's Lumpectomy 
Cookie's Lumpectomy Update 
Using Pressure Pads to Evaluate Lameness in Dogs: My Observations
Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: What Supplements Am I Using?
Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: Restricted Activity and Weight Management
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate Tear: Update
Has Your Dog's Physical Therapist Taken Dog Training Classes?  
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate (CCL/ACL) Tear Update and Considering the Future 

Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, to have your story heard.

48 comments

  1. This sounds so frustrating. I hope you are able to figure it out and that Cookie is OK!

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    1. Yeah, I don't like things that are not adding up.

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  2. It sure sounds like a frustrating endeavor. I hope you find answers soon!

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  3. Poor Cookie and poor you! I don't have much personal experience with an incontinent dog, but I can imagine how frustrating it could be. Best wishes!

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    1. We got used to working around the leaks themselves but I don't like when things aren't making sense to me.

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  4. I've never had a dog with this concern, so I don't have any experience to offer. Hope you are able to get some answers soon, such a sweet dog ❤

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    1. Thank you, Jane, she is a total sweetie. And hates it when she makes a mess.

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  5. Poor Cookie. We hope the vet can get to the bottom of it for her and you.

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    1. The thing is that we ran out of ways of looking at it. Diagnostics point to nothing else but "normal" incontinence but the pattern isn't adding up to me.

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  6. That sucks. Mr. N has had pancreatitis too but I didn't notice anything like that.

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    1. I can't see how it would be a common effect of pancreatitis. It's just strange how one followed the other. Of course, it can be a total coincidence.

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  7. Oh, poor Cookie! I hope you're able to figure out what is going on. Our dog has had more accidents in the house lately and I believe it is because he's getting old.

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    1. Did you do urinalysis? Accidents out of the blue might mean a UTI.

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  8. Our female Boston Terrier became incontinent for the last two years or so of her life. I don't know if hers was hormone-responsive or not, as our vets never got that specific in the diagnosis. She did take antibiotics for a urinary infection once or twice, but the incontinence kept recurring. Interestingly, she had acute pancreatitis at age 4 and some degree of mild pancreatitis later in life, so perhaps there is some kind of connection there? Unfortunately, by the time she became incontinent, she was older (13), so I think the vet just figured it was a common thing, and I didn't push further -- perhaps I should have. We did doggie diapers at night, and she also slept in her crate, but there was a lot of laundry done as well. I hope you can get to the bottom of Cookie's problems!

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    1. One of the things that make this strange is that Cookie is still young too.

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  9. Poor Cookie! We have a senior cat who has some bouts with incontinence and have started using dog pee pads with her. Fortunately, it's not a constant thing and some days she is better than others.

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  10. Poor put. Just when she got through one obstacle another one shows up. Often older dogs have difficulties with this. I hope you find something to help her soon!

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    1. She is still young, though. And this started when she was about 2 years old.

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  11. Frustrating and scary at the same time! Thank you for sharing Cookies story! :)

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  12. Poor baby, I hope you find a solution soon so that everyone will be happy

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    1. More importantly I'd like to have an explanation that would make sense to me in my gut.

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  13. My Dobermann had hormone-responsive incontinence (she passed away 2 years ago). It took us about 1 year to find the perfect medication and dose to keep her incontinence under control!!

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    1. Did she also have accidents while awake and right after potty?

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  14. Its always so frustrating to spend tons of money at the vet and not get a for sure diagnoses. I hope you find a solution soon.

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    1. Well, they believe it is diagnosed. Some other things seem to have been ruled out. But it's just not adding up to me.

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  15. Sorry I don't have any helpful advice to share. it must be so frustrating for both you and sweet Cookie. I hope you can get to the root of the issue.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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    1. Thank you, Cathy; need some new theories

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  16. "So how come the sphincter can hold large volume one day and not a small amount the next?" this would be my questions too - it doesn't make any sense to me, I'll check back here for updates. The unpredictable patterns are frustrating and believe me I get it, when I heard idiopathic from our vet I thought, really?

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    1. I know, right? It doesn't make sense. Jasmine's vet's initial theory was that the urine is pooling some place, which would make sense to me, except the ultrasound didn't show anything. But something like that would be the only thing that'd make sense to me.

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    2. "Idiopathic" is the most lame diagnosis. According to House MD, it's from the French word "idiot" LOL

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  17. I'm sorry to hear that Cookie is going through this. It's so hard to deal with problems that are difficult to understand. I think that as pet owners, we want to be able to solve all problems for our pets. I go crazy trying to find solutions when I think something is wrong with my kitties. Sending purrs and prayers Cookie's way!

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    1. Solution or at least an explanation I could buy.

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  18. This is a real Dog Mom issue isn't it? I hope you can get the the root of Cookie's problems and keep her a happy dog!

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    1. Thank you, she is happy, just gets upset when she soils her bed, tries to clean it up, makes me sad.

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  19. That would be confusing. Full bladder, no leaks and leaky, empty bladder. I hadn't heard of hormone-responsive incontinence. Very interesting. I hope you figure out what's causing it.

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    1. And while awake. Though sometimes in her sleep too. But I'd think it would have to be only when asleep and/or only when the bladder is full *sigh

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  20. Our lab mix Cookie had issues in her last few months (13.5) and turned out she suddenly had quite a large tumour pushing on things among other problems but you should have seen that in the ultrasound. Kilo the Pug had trouble holding during the day and liked marking anything white- beds, carpets, bath mats etc- when we first fostered him. We try to take him out every 2 hours to pee now and reward. 2 years later pretty good. My cat started having accidents in her last few months and it was kidney disease. Very messy. All the best to you and Cookie.

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    1. Yeah, ultrasound would have to show that. And she's still very young. And her kidneys and everything else checked out.

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  21. Oh no. I hope you find out what the issue is and that Cookie can get some help soon.

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    1. Well, some of the things we're doing are helping somewhat and have no downside. Hopefully can nail the "true cause"

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  22. Bless your heart! I think you are asking all the right questions! I wonder if there's more than one medical issue going on...something neurological perhaps? You can always try addressing it as behavioral as well, and keeping her on a watch or confine type of arrangement, keeping close track of drinks, setting a timer to take her out every 60-90 minutes. I think you're doing a good job with things....just don't have any specific answers that can "fix" the problem! Give that girl a belly rub from me!!

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    1. Neurological possibly; she's been having issues with SI and LS joints. Been seeing chiropractor regularly.

      Very positive it's not behavioral as it is not voluntary.

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  23. Sounds like some of the same problems senior adult female humans have. I hope you can find a solution soon.

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    1. It does and it doesn't. Plus Cookie is quite young. Particularly the leaks on "empty" bladder are confusing.

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  24. My last Cocker had incontinence issues when she was older. I hope you get relief for your baby soon. It is definitely a work in progress, I know.

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    1. Did she had a strange, unpredictable pattern to it too?

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