We have a border collie, just turned 11. Over the last couple of months or so we noticed that she has started drinking more and more, especially at night. The water bowl seemed to be going down quickly and when she takes a drink it is a larger volume drank in one go. Before Christmas she went to the vet for a senior health check, and her bloods showed that her urea was slightly raised but the vet said it was not high enough to worry about at the present time. Now in the last week she has been incontinent of urine twice, and appears to be totally unaware that she has done it. The urine is very clear with no odour. This is totally out of character for her as she is a very clean dog, always has been. I am worried now that she has renal problems. As the urine is very clear and odourless I don't think there is a urinary infection. I know that she may just be becoming incontinent (she was spayed, approx at 2 years old). Just wondered if anyone else has had this problem with their dog and any suggestions. I will have to take her back to the vets, but just after some thoughts from yourselves.
Hi. It could indeed be a urinary problem, but I'm also a bit suspicious about diabetes. Did the vet do a glucose tolerance test? In the first stages of diabetes, the most obvious symptom is excessive and almost unquenchable thirst ... and the fact she has been incontinent is also an indicator, as she could have been having a nocturnal hypo or (more likely) hyperglycemic attack.
There are many other potential reasons for her symptoms, but diabetes certainly needs urgent investigation as a first priority (and hopefully discounted through blood testing).
You are also right to question a link to her being spayed. hormone-responsive incontinence is not unusual in older female dogs that have been spayed, which account for about 20 per cent of all spayed dogs. The good news is most dogs with this form of incontinence respond favorably to medication.
One of the many sites that deal with canine incontinence suggest preparing a document of answers to the following questions, which can then be given to your vet - and which will help in the diagnosis and accurate treatment afterwards:
When did the incontinence begin?
When is the leakage typically observed- during sleep or with activity, before or after urinating outside?
Is your dog drinking more water than normal? Ideally measure how much water she drinks during a 24-hour time period. Normal water intake during 24 hours should be no more than one ounce per pound of body weight per day.
Does the act of urination appear normal in terms of time spent squatting, strength of urine stream, and appearance and odor of urine?
Are there any other observed symptoms such as difficulty passing a bowel movement or hind end weakness?
Has there been a recent change in diet or addition of medications or supplements?
Hope this helps ... please come back and let us know how you get on. Tony
Thanks Tony for all your useful comments. I will be taking her to the vet. She did have bloods done, but vet said glucose levels were ok. I was worried about diabetes also. The only thing was the slightly raised urea. I have looked at the questions which you have raised, so over the weekend I will attempt to find some answers prior to going to the vet.
Also, your vet should do a urinalysis along with blood work to accurately evaluate kidney function. He/she should also do a urine culture to make sure the dog doesn't have pyelonephritis which is an upper urinary tract infection in the kidneys. It can be tricky to diagnose without a urine culture because many times, the regular urinalysis shows no abnormalities other than a dilute urine, which predisposes to a kidney infection. It may be a primary problem or a secondary problem from something causing her to drink and urinate more. It should definitely be looked into further!
There are also tests to check for diabetes insipidus if everything else is normal. They can check to see if she is able to concentrate her urine or if it is always dilute, and can check some other levels as well. It isn't a common disease but if nothing else shows I would ask about testing for it.
Thanks everybody. It will be the vets on Monday. All your comments are really useful. Will post after vets visit. Just hope she is ok. You know what it is like, as your dog gets older, you know things can start going wrong. By the way she is fairly subdued today. Roll on Monday.
Ask the vet to re-check Urea level. It may have been a blip (hopefully), but if it is the early onset of kidney disease, the urea will be the same or higher. You can prolong your dog's life substantially, if you can catch kidney disease early. Fingers crossed it isn't, but even if it is, there's lots you can do to keep her with you for quite a while yet. It could just be a urine infection, in which case antibiotics should clear it up - the real question would be what's caused the infection - and will it occur again if the cause cannot be found. Either way, a good vet will be exhaustive in their attempt to identify and diagnose properly, so do come back after the visit and let us know what they do and what they suggest the diagnosis is. Fingers crossed. Tony x
Sorry, meant to add that Shannon781 has also suggested the right approach, particularly in properly identifying any kidney function problems and upper urinary tract issues. Don't hold back asking your vet about this and about how they intend to deal with it. If you feel the vet is under-performing, get a second opinion elsewhere - this could be something very simple and straightforward, but if it is either the start of diabetes or very early kidney failure, time is of the essence. Tony x
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