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Avatar universal

How long should I deal with Incontinence and continuing infections

I have a 14 1/2 yr old bichon friese.  He was originally purchased as a pet for my children and now my children are all grown up.  I thought one of my 4 children would want him but no one did.  3 of the 4 of them got their own "new" dog.  My dog started his incontinence about a year and a half ago.  It is getting progressively worse. He is wet every night, and has to be walked every 2 hours during the day and more often around and after his dinner.  He also gets an infection usually about every other month -- UTIs, ear infections, skin infections, anal gland infections.  Last May he had big lesions on his abdomen where I spent about $700 to get biopsies and nothing was definitive although the dermatologist said the lesions "could" be paraneoplastic indication of some type of cancer.  He gave me a $15 container of prednisone which cleared up the lesions but of course made him thirsty, hungry, and extremely unpleasant.  Now when the lesions recur, which is about every other month, I have to give him more prednisone.  The dermatologist said I needed to go to an internal medicine doctor to get more information.  I have spent about $1500 on medical for him in the last year and a half.  Every morning he is wet and I have to give him a bath.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make this easier to deal with?  
65 Responses
612551 tn?1450025775
Yes, your situation is difficult, and normal as far as children go from my personal experience.

I guess we usually decide to put a dog down when it is in pain, that may also be the case.  I believe there are dog gyppers (sp?) you may want to consider while you decide what to do.

We had a 12 year old Golden Retriever that had many old age problems and developed "fat pockets" - one was removed and found to have a low active cancer, I'll call it.  About a year later the pocket came back and while he was able to get around (he had a stroke about two years before that and had weak rear legs, but he was able to walk and toilet by himself) still the prospect of high cost surgery and radiation treatment led to the decision to put him down.  That was long ago, and still hurts as he was a great dog and a good friend.  The other input was 12 years is about life expectancy for the breed.
Avatar universal
It is a difficult situation.  It seems clear that his medical problems are going to continue until death.  In my experience, vets nowadays pretty much never are the ones to suggest euthanasia, even when the animal is elderly and sick.  Even if you bring up the topic of euthanasia yourself, vets often tend to suggest other things that you can do to keep the dog going longer.  

If you are ready to have the dog put to sleep, you simply need to call the vet's office and state that you want an appointment to have him put to sleep.  When you take him to the appointment, the doctor will ask you some questions to determine for sure that you have made up your mind.  He or she might ask you nothing more than, "have you made up your mind?"  If the doctor suggests other treatments, you can say, kindly but firmly, "I'm just not able to provide the care to keep him going.  He needs to be put to sleep."  At that point, I can't imagine that any vet who knows this dog's age and medical history will refuse to perform euthanasia.  

You  need to decide ahead of time whether you want to stay in the room while the euthanasia is performed or leave him for the staff to take care of him.  It is okay to leave, if you want.  Sometimes they do put the dog in a cage for a little while, if you are not staying, until they have more time to watch him as he passes.  You also need to decide ahead of time what you want to have done with the remains.   The usual choices are:  disposal by the vet, cremation, or you can bring him home and bury him.

It sounds like you have taken good care of him.  Your can either keep him going as you have until he passes naturally, or you can have him put to sleep.  It is your decision to make.  There is no way for the burden of the decision to be lifted from you.  I know that it is a burden, either way.  No one could call you negligent, though, if you should choose to have him put to sleep after the amount of time, energy and money you have devoted to his care so far.
462827 tn?1333172552
Welcome to the forum......Have none of your Vets or specialist ever offered you a medication for incontinence? Each of them sells one, but they go by different names.....They work beautifully & are made specifically for what your describing....I know many dogs that have taken them & it changes everyone's life including the dog's, who by the way, is picking up on your displeasure....We ourselves, will all be in this same situation eventually....

Next would be doggie diapers....You can purchase either disposable ones or you can purchase cloth ones (That you put a throwaway urine pad in) & machine wash.......For a male, they are called "Belly Bands"....With all the
rescues that come through this house, they are worth their weight in gold!!!

If nothing else, you can purchase a cloth, urine absorbable bed pad....Made for humans that are bed ridden....Your dog could sleep on it and it will absorb any urine & keep your dog dry.....You machine wash them.....These are wonderful...

As far as all the medical issues, I have NO comment...Just something we must deal with as our doggies get old.....

Money: Can't put a price on Love!  I spend, what you've quoted, on a regular basis to help any Rescue that comes to this house....Eventually, (When I get them healthy & well & all their needs addressed), they are adopted out for a whopping $85......Why? Because I feel they deserve a second chance!

As far as the kids? I wouldn't have allowed any of my dogs to go with them anyway!!!! Wouldn't happen!  So, I suppose I can't help you there....

So yes, you do have a few options to make yours & your guy's life easier.....Gotta love those Bichon's!!!!!     Karla
612551 tn?1450025775

Thanks we all love you.

The above is for sure a "best answer" but I don't have that authority as it is not my post.

Keep up the good work at home, here on this forum, and in your community were dogs very fortunate to have you as a neighbor.
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for writing back.  I looked at the Belly Bands but didn't really think they'd stay on.  So I got the female dog type and that was not working.  So could you give me the details on the belly band and how I can keep them on and I'll try them.  We live near PetSupermarket.  It just seems like tying it around his belly, it would slide away.

He sleeps on a puppy pad that absorbs some of the urine but usually he moves it out of the way and there is urine under him that gets all over him.

I will also call the vet and ask about the incontinent meds.  The first time I asked they said he had a UTI but I know he doesn't now because since he has had some, I'd recognize the symptoms.  

Thanks for your help Karla.  Sounds like you're a great help for our little doggies.

1436598 tn?1332900133
Great advice above! Just wanted to add that the prednisone is likely a factor in the incontinence. One of my dogs, while on prednisone, would often lose control while sleeping. If you can get to the root of the issues and treat that so that you can get the dog off the steroids you might see an improvement.

One of my other dogs has been on meds for spay incontinence for several years and is doing great.  Good luck.
Avatar universal
Just ordered a Belly Band.  I'm hopeful!!

Will let you know if it works.  
Avatar universal
Hello.  He only goes on prednisone when he gets the abdominal lesions and therefore hasn't been on prednisone for the last month and a half, and still the incontinence.  I ordered a "Belly Band" as someone suggested.  But I'm also game for some type of medication.  What is the "spay incontinence" med?  Do you think it would work for my dog's old age and possibly something wrong with his kidneys/bladder situation?
462827 tn?1333172552
Hello Tootsie...Sorry, I didn't catch you in time...I wanted to tell you which to NOT get, that don't stay on......Where did you order so I can look real quick? I don't have much time right now, or I would already have gotten back with you......

I can point you to the great ones & why they work (I order mine online) And I can tell you what NOT to buy (That won't stay on) that are usually the ones you can buy in a Petsmart or Petco or any pet store.....I also will be back to to tell about what urine pads to use & Not have to spend the outragious price on pads from the petstores sell.....Karla
Avatar universal
"The first time I asked they said he had a UTI but I know he doesn't now because since he has had some, I'd recognize the symptoms."

He should still be checked.  The symptoms aren't always the same.
Avatar universal
I got the "Tinkle Belt, small size 14-17 inches from Amazon.  I thought I'd put a pad inside.
1436598 tn?1332900133
My dog is on Proin for incontinence.  It's working very well.  I know there are other meds for this as well.  Check with your vet.  It isn't that expensive and has made a huge difference in our quality of life (and quantity of laundry!)
462827 tn?1333172552
I just looked...It's perfect!!!!  I wanted to mention to get a flannel one (Or lined) as the do grip better.....Velcro is what you need, too...You did good!!!

The ones to stay away from have elastic on both outside edges...The seem to draw up with movement and defeat your purpose.....

Next: Urine Pads....Get a pack of regular size HUMAN urine pads...Get the kinda thick ones, not the thin panty liner ones....Don't get any scented ones, either.....They can cause irritation!  
Your going to cut this pad in half with a pair of scissors & only use 1/2 at a time.... Stick it in the panties and your good to go!!!  Karla
974371 tn?1424656729
You got some good advice.  Definitely get the belly bands and check on the meds.  Can get time consuming and expensive taking care of the Seniors.  Where dies he sleep?  If not in a crate, try to contain him to one area, one without carpeting, if possible.
Boy, he gets a lot of infections and that must be miserable.  
Not sure if you are considering euthanasia but when it comes down to a quality of life issue, you may have to make that decision.
I know about the kids leaving pets behind.  My daughter left 4 cats here and I am really not a cat person.  Two eventually passed and it took me over a year to get a reputable rescue to take the other two, who went to a nice farm.
Avatar universal
So glad it's the right one.  So you mean like a Poise pad.  And when you say cut in half, I assume you mean not 2 thin strips.  It may all make more sense when I actually get it and start using it.  I assume it will take about a week.  I'm thinking I should just use it at night because otherwise we'll have to keep taking it off during the day to walk him.

Avatar universal
Thanks Margo.  Yes, I'll try the belly band first.  I assume the vet will want to check him first before they'll administer the incontinence medicine.  Actually in October of 2011 I asked for Incontinence Pills and that's when they said he had a problem with his bladder.  At that time they did a sonagram (not the expensive type) and saw a tumor.  And they treated him for a UTI even though he was too small to get the sample. Another time they did another sonagram and said the tumor was gone but that he did have a UTI.  I did see some type of herbal incontinence pill on Amazon.  People seemed to think it was great. It is called "Vetri-Science Laboratories Bladder Strength Tablet for Dogs."
He does sleep in a crate but still he gets wet and I have to give him a bath in the morning, and wash the bottom of the crate, and replace the puppy pad.  We watch him closely during the day and take him out every 2 hours and every 1 hour after he eats dinner which is his worse time for accidents.
I am vaguely thinking of euthanisia if the lesions become unresponsive to the prednisone or if the infections become unresponsive to antibiotics.  
On the children aspect, about 5 years ago I found someone who wanted my dog but my daughter insisted I keep him so her children could have a pet when they came to visit me.
Thanks for your help.
612551 tn?1450025775
Well the good news on children is they are what give us grandchildren.  Nice too that the dog had/has children to visit it if they respect the dog's age, and I know a thing or two about aging.
Avatar universal
Okay, forgive me for harping on the euthanasia.  When you titled your post, "How long should I deal with ..." I thought what you really wanted was permission to go ahead with that.  It sounded to me like you didn't want him anymore.  I didn't mean to sound like I was directing you to have him put so sleep.  I'm definitely in favor of trying to find another solution.  Sorry I misread you.
Avatar universal
My dog totally loves my granddaughters.  He would love to live with them.  They pet him a lot when they come because they both truly love him.  He loves to sit on their laps and seems sad when they leave.
Now they're getting their own puppy.  A Cockapoo.  They're so excited.
Avatar universal
You didn't really misread me.  As I waver back and forth.  I love my dog but I wish he were not incontinent and didn't have so many infections.  In fact, I wish he were younger.  I appreciate your response and it's good to feel that that is an option, especially if things get a lot worse.  of course we all would prefer our dog die a natural death.  My last dog died suddenly of Congestive Heart Failure and it was so much easier.  She was a 13 1/2 yr old Shih-tzu.  

Avatar universal
Also in reading responses I feel like there is hope with the belly band and/or the incontinence meds.
Avatar universal
Thanks for clarifying.  All of us would hope that our dogs would live a long life with excellent quality right up to the end and that one day we would wake up to find that our very elderly pet had simply passed peacefully in the night.  I do think you got some good suggestions from the other posters, and I hope something works to extend your bichon's life and quality of life.  Good luck.  
612551 tn?1450025775
We're all pulling for you and your dog - - -

Give us an update on what works.  My current dog, a rescue, estimated to be 8 year old, West Highlands White Terrier (similar sized dog, agout 20 pounds with very short legs) doesn't have any old dog problems yet, but he is def and has the usual Westie allergies and other breed specific weaknesses. But he has one great bladder - can sleep from 9 PM to 9 AM and still not be in any hurry to go outside.
Avatar universal
We had one of our older dogs on meds because she would pee on herself during sleep.  They worked great.
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