Incontinence? Cookie's Mysterious Leaks

The first time it happened was about two weeks after Cookie's pancreatitis.

Is Cookie incontinent or is something else going on?

She was lying on the couch a licking her vulva a lot. She made a wet spot and at first I thought it was from all the licking. Further inspection revealed that the spot seemed much more wet than licking could make it.

The vulva seemed to look normal and there was no smell to it nor the wet spot Cookie made on the sheet. But as I was examining it, I saw a little tear drop of clear liquid come out. So perhaps she was licking so hard because it was dripping? Or was she just licking because of irritation and the drip was secondary to that?

In the morning I reported that to our vet.

Estrogen-dependent urinary incontinence usually appears in the morning; the dog wakes up in a puddle of pee as the sphincter relaxes while asleep. This happened in the evening and Cookie was not sleeping. Plus to me, it didn't look or smell like urine, the wet spot didn't even stain.

Cookie's vulva didn't look red or irritated and the discharge was clear. We were advised to prevent her from licking it so much and see.

The next evening Cookie was not licking herself but made puddles again. This time the spot was quite soaked. The whole think lasted for about two hours and that was that.

There was no color and no smell to it. It had been very cold and Cookie was bouncing through deep snow. I was wondering whether that might have irritated her and cause the drips? I know that my nose gets very runny in a cold weather. And it's always happened after she spent some time outside.

Either way, we decided to take her to the vet the next day.

He checked her urine, there was no infection. He found some low grade vaginitis. He figured it could be because of a virus she caught because of reduced resistance after her pancreatitis, or changes in flora of the vagina after the antibiotic therapy. He figured it should be self-limiting and we agreed on letting her body deal with it on its own.

And just like that, it stopped.

Everything was just fine for couple of weeks and then the leaking returned. In the same pattern, some time after her day at the farm. Again, lasted for about couple hours and stopped. She was resting again, and this time it actually seemed to squirt when she moved to reach.

To me it still wasn't clear whether it was indeed urine or some other fluid.

And if her bladder was full, why wouldn't she know she needed to pee?

After it started again, I decided to invite her to go outside and pee. The first day it seemed to have stopped the leakage. The second day it seemed to have stopped the leakage. The third day it did not. Hm ...

Were we looking at some kind of a plumbing problem after all?

If it was, why it would not appear until this Winter? If present from birth, it would be odd for it not to show up until now.

And after three evenings it went away again.

Went away to return another couple weeks later.

I found that very confusing. If it was incontinence, why would it come and go like that? Cookie goes out for walks or days at the farm every day. She eats a bunch of snow every day. She runs and plays every day. Everything is consistent and yet for the third time she had couple evenings of leakage.

Just when I thought things couldn't get any more strange, our vet mentioned that he had people mention that some treats/chew sticks, such as rawhide, caused increased urine production as well as pumpkin causing bladder leakage.

Cookie's diet had been consistent, didn't contain any pumpkin but she did munch on a rawhide a tiny little bit. Not each time this happened, though.

And why does it last only an hour or two?

We had Cookie examined again. Vulva was normal, area near urethra was still a little red. Urine was normal. No signs of infection and urine culture didn't grow anything.

And again, after the three days, the problem went away.

Is it gone for good this time or is it coming back?

If it does return, the next logical step seems to be capturing and examining some of the fluid to determine whether it is indeed urine or something else and go from there.

Challenges never seize ...

Did you ever have a problem like that with your dog?

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Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
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Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
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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 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 

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?



  1. Isn't it? If a dog is incontinent, then they're incontinent, and if they're not they're not, right? Hard to make any sense of it, unless my theory somehow right (cold and exposure to snow) ... but then, didn't happen every time it was really cold and she was bouncing through deep snow either.

    One would almost thing that something like the rawhide might be involved.

    Really strange.

  2. aspen had spay-induced incontinence. She didn't seem to have an issue regularly and sometimes it didn't happen for months at a time. It's possible Cookie does have some level of spay-induced incontinence. We didn't do anything for Aspen's, we just gave her a treat and took her into the bathroom for a quick back-end rinse. she got really good at getting in and out of the tub.

    One thing we did notice was that her issues seemed much less often when she was eating raw, so it's also possible that some sort of food preservative was bothering her. She was eating Fromm white fish and potato before switching to raw.


    1. Thank you, Brooke, for sharing.

      Yes, estrogen-dependent incontinence is one of the theories, just so strange it happens randomly, only sometimes and for a short periods of time.

      Interesting that you've had a similar experience. Did Aspen's happen in the mornings, at specific time of a day or randomly also?

      Cookie is on home-cooked, so no preservatives there. Interesting, though, that it had changed with the food change.

      How old was Aspen when it started? Cookie is only two.

  3. Wondering of yoi ever found out the cause of Cookie's leaks. It's late at night, and I'm trying to figure out what's wrong with my Moon. She is 7 years old, is spayed, and has gone through about five bouts of excessive drooling, each aboit a month or two apart. Each lasts about two hours. After the first two the vet said keep an eye on her. It happened two or three times after but quickly resolved, and she seemed fine. Twice, though, we've noticed after she's gotten up from where she lies next to the couch that her haunches and tail are pretty soaked. The liquid is clear. It doesn't smell like pee. It's the consistency of drool or water or pee. I'' just searching for answers and plan to take her to the vet first thing tomorrow.

    1. Yes, do take her to the vet. Not sure whether the drooling and leaking are related but since they happened at the same time, I'd want to look for a connection. Drooling can be caused by a number of things, given the pattern I'd suspect stomach upset ... ? Did the vet run blood work and urinalysis last time you were there? That's where I'd start.

      Cookie's leaks were deemed to be hormone-responsive incontinence. Though I still find it odd that it started after her bout of pancreatitis. There are also some other theories out there that there could be involvement of the sacroiliac joint. None of those things would explain drooling, though.


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