Tag Archives: veterinarian

Scout Springs a Leak, and We Try to Fix It

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Incontinence Update:

We didn’t last long after my first update regarding Scout’s new adventure with incontinence. By Thursday evening (last week), Scout had had another two accidents. So, after reading a bit more, we decided to give Nutri-Vet’s Bladder Control chewables a shot. We picked them up at PetsMart and gave Scout one that very night. She had a small accident last Friday (maybe the size of a quarter?), and since then, KNOCK ON WOOD, she’s been accident free. Here’s hoping that this works for a while. The towels aren’t coming off of the couch just yet, but we did manage to make it a few days without doing additional laundry.

Note: We did not start Scout on the full dosage that the bottle states, which would be two chewables for her body weight. We figured we’d see how long we can go on one chewables before upping it. What do we have to lose? We also realize that this solution may not last forever, but we’re okay with that. Scout seems okay on these chewables and doesn’t have any signs of increased energy or hyperactivity (side-effects according to what we read). As long as it’s working without any ill effects, we’ll keep at it.

The Day to Day

Not quite a week has gone by since we last took Scout to the vet’s for incontinence. Within that time, she’s had three accidents.

The first accident happened the day after her visit to see Dr. C, last Friday. It was a fairly sizable “dribble,” as we’ve taken to calling them. Sizable and unlucky, as her rump was conveniently situated off of the towel we had draped over the couch cushion. Oops. We stripped off the cushion cover and threw it into the wash. Then we sat down and made a game plan.

We are planning people. Give us enough time and paper (or an Excel spreadsheet), and B and I will have your life planned in no time flat. Seriously. If there was a career for making Excel spreadsheets and over-thinking things, we’d be rich. So rich. But instead we spend our time over-thinking our own lives and leaving everyone else to think about their own. Possibly better, for them at least.

The first thing we did was to start a calendar to monitors these dribbles. Nothing fancy, just a little mark on my cell phone calendar for every time Scout dribbles. By yesterday, it was at three, one for every day she’d dribbled: Friday (a puddle the size of the bottom of a coffee mug), Saturday (a smaller puddle), and Sunday (a little dribble the size of a nickle that we actually saw happen).

I should probably explain that last little bit, the part where we saw it. Yes, I mean we actually were looking at our dog’s downstairs at the exact moment that she, technically speaking, wet herself. It helps when your dog sleeps on the couch like this:

sleep

From time to time, B and I will pause what we’re doing and assess the dribble situation. “Are we good?” we say to Scout as we glance at her privates. (All vanity has been lost. We are officially Parents, examining our pet-child’s anatomy with the gaze of attuned doctors gauging the outcome of a completed procedure.) She watches us watch her with a look on her face that is not entirely dishonest: “You guys are nuts.”

But our paranoia is not unwarranted. In the case of Sunday’s accident, the smallest of the weekend, we were able to catch it mid-dribble and take Scout outside to empty her bladder sans couch, the way we’d prefer it. Our method now is pretty finely tuned. We have two old towels folded in half and stacked atop one another spread across the couch cushions. No matter where she lays, there are two layers of absorption between her and the cushions. As long as she doesn’t empty her bladder completely, which it doesn’t appear she will (she does have bladder control, just not 100%. I’d gauge it at 90-95%), the towels are sufficient to catch whatever she might unknowingly spill. Then, we throw them in the wash and wa-la! Good as new. If company comes over, the couch can be dribble- and towel-free in seconds.

The other thing we did was to decide on a plan. At the end of this week, we’re going to assess how many accidents Scout has had and the severity. (Was it a little piddle or Niagara Falls?) Then we’ll decide whether we need to pursue giving her something to help assist those delicate uterine walls. If we decide to give her something, we’re going to try the homeopathic route before medication. A number of people on forums we found online have recommended various herbs and natural remedies that we’d explore first, and then switch to medication if Scout doesn’t respond.

But that’s ahead of where we are now. Where we are now is that yesterday was accident free. We’re hoping that today ends accident free too. At week’s end, we’ll see where we are and report back.

couch

*Some of you may be wondering why we don’t just make Scout not get on the couch rather than wash our cushions three days in a row. We talked about that, but quite honestly, other than a short list of things (peanut butter, fetch, water…B and me), the couch is one of Scout’s true loves. Really. We noticed an immediate change in how happy she was to sit with us “like a person” at night while we watch TV. There is real joy there that we don’t want to deny her because of something she has 100% no awareness of and would be mortified of if she ever realized it. At this point, these accidents aren’t tragic enough that they’re staining the couch or smelling, so we’re not going to make her give up the heaven that is the couch. That could change as the situation changes, but right now, that’s the verdict.

The Good News

Scout and Dr. C had their best visit yet last night. This was entirely because Scout’s ears weren’t the topic of discussion (and poking and prodding) for once. Scout knows the vet’s office just by the parking lot. She’s a regular, remember. So she knew enough to be nervous when we arrived.

vet

The vet tech took her into the back to do a urine analysis, and B and I listened as another vet tech walked by and their conversation drifted down the hall.

“Who’s this?”

“Scout.”

“Scout’s a girl?”

“Yeah…”

“I didn’t know ‘Scout’ was a girl’s name.”

B and I exchanged a glance. Doesn’t anyone read To Kill a Mockingbird anymore?

Anyway, Scout’s urine analysis came back negative, so she does not have a UTI or bladder infection. Hooray! That left incontinence. Dr. C explained that the weakening of uterine wall muscles doesn’t have to happen in old age. It’s a risk at any age after a female dog is spayed. Scout’s risk is greater because her anatomy is a little wonky down there, which we knew. He did say that, in hindsight, we could have let Scout go through one heat cycle, which may have lessened her risk for incontinence, but there was no guarantee.

Because Scout is not having moments of incontinence regularly—say, once a week or so—we decided to hold off on starting any medications. We’re going to monitor the frequency of things, and if she starts to have more accidents on a regular basis, then we’ll look at medicating her. (Ugh. I do NOT want to do this.) Until then, we’ll keep an eye on things, but at least we now know that it’s not being caused by an infection of some sort. All in all, good news!

Dogs and Accidents

The subtitle to this post is: “When Your Dogs Pees on the Couch. Twice.” Now your interest is piqued, right?

Sometimes, something happens in your life, and you brush it off. You think, this is an isolated event, and I’m going to consider it as such and not really think much of it after this. Until the day that something else happens, and suddenly that event you brushed off doesn’t seem so arbitrary. Like a sneeze turning into a cold, but in this case, less mucousy.

A while ago, so long ago that I can’t remember exactly when or even if it was summer or winter, Scout had an accident on the couch. It was an odd event, because she was sound asleep and when she rose to leave the sofa cushions, we noticed a pool of wetness underneath her. At the time, we though, “Weird! Our perfectly house-trained dog just wet herself in her sleep!” We threw the cushion in the washer and moved on, forgiving her for what was very obviously an innocent mistake.

scout couch

Months went by. We hadn’t thought a thing of this occurrence. In the meantime, we’ve dealt with Scout’s eating of our books and frat party, so it’s not as if she’s been a perfect gem and we haven’t been fretting over her. But health matters, those seemed to be a bit calmer (assuming, as we have, that her recent bouts of misbehavior are linked to boredom and not something health related). After spending a good deal of money to straighten out her troublesome ears and their infections, we were enjoying not seeing Dr. C on a regular schedule.

Yesterday afternoon, our little family of four was stuck inside when we wanted to be out. It was rainy and cold, but there was college basketball aplenty on the TV, so we sat on the couch and waited for UNC to play. Sometime before that happened, Scout rose from the couch for one reason or another, and that’s when we saw it. A little pool of wetness underneath where her bottom had been (which just so happened to be the area where two cushions met, so there were two cushions that were damp). We picked up the cushions and sniffed. Yep, urine.

How? Well, I suppose that’s not the right question. We know how. But why? Scout hadn’t asked to go out—in fact, she’d been asleep just moments before. She was watching us remove the cushions with a look on her face like, “It’s gonna be harder to sit on the couch without those fluffy things on it, but I’ll try.” It was obvious that she had unknowingly just dribbled on the couch. We stuck the cushions in the washing machine, let her out (where she promptly peed and came back in), and continued to watch the game from the floor.

scout tennis ball

Three hours later, UNC had lost miserably and B and I had put together a consolation dinner for ourselves. While we ate, Scout claimed the remaining single cushion on the couch for a nice long nap in preparation for bedtime. (Life’s rough.) But when B asked her to move after dinner—you know, so that he could sit on the last dry cushion—she rose and revealed for a third time a pool of dampness beneath her. She’d peed on the entire sofa over the course of about three hours. With a bathroom break in between.

We started another load of laundry, and consulted Google.

The search results were mixed on this topic, but there were some common threads: urinary tract infections, bladder infections, and incontinence. Though incontinence is something normally associated with elderly dogs, young dogs can experience it, apparently. It has something to do with the fact that after the dog is spayed, which Scout was, there are less hormones in their bodies, hormones that otherwise help to regulate the muscles in the uterine area. Thus, your dog can end up having weak muscles, and accidents. In other words, they don’t realize that they’re peeing, and they aren’t meaning to.

So, we’ve made an appointment to see Dr. C. At this point, I don’t know which of these options would be better. Perhaps it’s none of them and something different entirely. We’ll have to wait and see.

New Year, Same Scout

The last time we checked in with you we were worried that Scout might be getting another ear infection due to the uptick in stealthy eating she was experiencing. (Read: Scout stole a lot of stuff she shouldn’t have and ate it. A lot.) So in December we took Scout to see Dr. C for her two-year checkup.

First off, let’s pause and marvel at the fact that this whole journey began two years ago. My my, time flies!

Dr. C was excited to see Scout and her progress, while Scout was less than excited. She spent the majority of the time giving us a look that said, “What are we doing here? I remember this place, and I’m very concerned about why we’re here.”

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The verdict was that Scout is doing great. Her ears are infection free, so her eating habits are most likely due to the fact that she gets a little bored during the day when we’re not home. (Who wouldn’t?) Dr. C said that the next phase of the allergy testing would be to slowly reintroduce the ingredients of her previous food back into her diet in order to see which one triggers a reaction. But Dr. C said that with all the trouble Scout had that it might be best to let things rest where they are, and we agreed.

But lo and behold, Scout decided to test things herself. Last Friday, we arrived home from work to find tiny shreds of plastic all over the living room rug. All over. I knelt down and began examining them. They had a familiar logo on them, but it was hard to make out. Finally, I figured it out. It was the remains of a bread bag. I went into the kitchen. While we were out, Scout had discovered where our bread basket is on the shelves of our kitchen island. Somehow she overturned the basket, and then devoured every last morsel of bread in the house. In one sitting. I’m not sure if shredding the bags into tiny bits was a necessary part of breaking into said bags or just plain fun. Either way, the bread was gone. An entire loaf of sandwich bread and two hotdog buns were currently rumbling around in Scout’s belly, and here she was, begging for dinner as if all was normal.

We watched all weekend, but Scout never had a reaction to the bread she ate. I suppose it’s safe to say that she can have grain now, which leaves chicken and rice on her allergy list. Either way, we don’t plan on introducing anything new to her diet—and hopefully she won’t either!

An Update on Scout’s Food Allergies

As you all know, Scout’s ear infections have been a constant plague since last October, and back in July, we began an official food trial with our vet. We’ve managed to be strict about it, and for the past few months Scout has only eaten Wellness CORE Ocean Fish dry food. Any treats that we wanted to give = more kibble. She really and truly hasn’t had anything else.

And you know what? Something amazing has happened. How long has it been since we talked about an ear infection? A long time, right? We have finally started talking about this problem in a new light, a light that says, “Maybe we figured it out? Maybe it’s—wait for it—solved?” I hope so. Our bank account hopes so. Scout, the poor dear, hopes so.

(KNOCK ON WOOD.)

It’s been a long time since she had an ear infection, and we couldn’t be happier about this. We check her ear often because it’s become such a habit for us, and sometimes we see a little fleck of dirt/wax or something. But a little is healthy, even for humans, so we leave it be, and magic has taken place. She hasn’t gotten sick. Hallelujah!

You want to know something else, unexpected, that has happened from all of this? Scout has stopped eating her poop. 100% cold turkey, doesn’t touch the stuff anymore. To me, this really supports what I’d been reading about stool eattage (yes, I made up that word). I.e. that it’s related to diet. What I’d read a while ago was that dogs eat their stool because there are some nutrients that they aren’t getting enough of, so they eat their stool as a natural way to try to take in what they’re not getting. Makes sense, right? I don’t know what it was that Scout’s body was lacking, but apparently it’s found it.

The only side effect? We have to clean up the yard a lot more now!