Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Urine Leakage

Question from Michele in Yardley:
My 5 month old female Dalmatian was diagnosed with an UTI. Her main symptom was urine leakage but she also started having some accidents in the house. She has been on antibiotics for 3 full days and today I noticed some leakage again while she was laying on the family room rug. As she scratched her ear I could actually see urine dripping out. do I nee to call the vet before her follow up in 10 more days or will the antibiotics take a little longer to work? Thank you!

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
Your description of urine leakage from your puppy definitely sounds like incontinence. If she is not improving with the course of antibiotics, further diagnostics will be needed. A few important questions include whether she has been spayed, was her urine cultured for bacteria, and is she having accidents in the house of which she is aware. The way to differentiate deliberate urinations in the house versus incontinence is to watch her closely. If you do not catch her in the act of urinating, then feel her fur around her back end. If she squats, she will not wet her fur with urine. If she is leaking urine and unaware, she will likely be wet or smell of urine.

If you determine that she is in fact leaking urine, she will need to be evaluated for an ectopic ureter. An ectopic ureter is a congenital problem (puppies are born with it). Instead of carrying the urine from the kidney into the bladder where it can be retained, an ectopic ureter carries urine into the urethra, vagina or uterus. If the ureter ends in one of these latter sites, there is no sphincter control and the urine will leak. Your puppy has no control over this, so do not yell or become angry with her.

Fortunately, the University of Pennsylvania has an excellent staff to address this problem. Ectopic ureters are corrected with both surgery and now laser treatment. If you veterinarian suspects an ectopic ureter, contact the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital at (215) 746-VETS.

Posted December 1, 2008

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