Your pet’s accidents could be a medical issue

Published 8:56 am Tuesday, February 28, 2012

By DR. FRED SELF / Guest Columnist

As humans, we learn early that it is inappropriate to relieve ourselves in the living room. We also learn that urinating in the kitchen is bad.

By the time we reach school age, not using the bathroom in public is so ingrained in us, even if we tried, our nervous system would make it impossible.

Similarly, our pets learn that there are good and bad times and places to urinate.

Most indoor pets learn quickly that there are places we do not want them to urinate. When they continue to make a mess against their training, it is important to determine if they are making a conscious decision or if they are going against their will.

If it is a conscious decision then a new method for house training should be found. If they are releasing urine against their will, then tests should be performed to determine why.

First, it is important to determine if the urination is purposeful or done without the pet’s intent. Decide if the dog is getting into position to urinate. That is a conscious effort. If the urine is covering the pet’s hair and skin, that is urination without intent.

Does the urine occupy a single spot or cover the surface the dog is walking across? If it is a puddle, that is a planned urination. If the urine is spread over a surface that shows a lack of intent.

Is the urine volume large on the surface or is it small drops? Large volume implies urine stored and then released on purpose. Small drops make a case for an inability to store urine in the bladder.

In dogs experiencing the process of house training, few conditions will cause urination without intent. Dogs this age are unlikely to have urinary infections or to have developed stones or tumors.

The other likely condition is anatomical. The dog’s body formed incorrectly. The name of this condition is ectopic ureter. Dogs with this condition have at least one ureter, the tube carrying urine from the kidney to the bladder, that bypasses the bladder. This bypass allows urine to leak out of the dog at whatever rate it is produced by the kidney.

A dog that seems to be house trained but continues to have accidents should be taken to a veterinarian and an ectopic ureter considered. Surgical correction can solve the problem of an ectopic ureter and the dog can live a long life.

Dr. Fred Self is a veterinarian at Shelbiana Animal Clinic in Columbiana, along with Dr. Charles Thornburg. You can reach them at 669-3131.