Sunday, August 30, 2009


After all your efforts at house training your pets, it can be disheartening to start seeing puddles of urine around the house. There are a lot of reasons for why this happens and the solutions to this problem are invariably directly related to those reasons. Caroline, in Oregon, sent in this question to Helpful Buckeye after reading about urinary incontinence 2 weeks ago in SPAYING AND NEUTERING, PART 3, in Questions On Dogs and Cats: "I have an older female dog that has been spayed and she has been leaving wet spots where she sleeps. I have been told this is from being spayed. Several years ago, I also had an older female dog that squatted frequently and left puddles of urine all over the house. Are these the same thing?" That's a great question, Caroline, and it will make up the DISEASE portion of this week's blog issue.

Helpful Buckeye expects that most dog and cat owners have dealt with pet urinary problems if they've had a pet long enough. Many of you have probably even been frustrated enough, when cleaning up the puddles of urine, to hum this tune to yourself: ...with apologies to Christie and their big hit from 1970.

The results of last week's poll question about the possibility of an income tax deduction for pet health care were pretty much evenly spread out over the range of choices....which isn't so strange when you consider how difficult it is to get anyone to agree on health care OR taxes! Be sure to answer this week's poll question in the column to the left.


1) Now that college campuses are starting to fill up again with students, the SPCA International is reminding those students that college and pets don't mix very well. To properly care for a pet requires a certain amount of free time and a ready supply of money...both of which are usually in short supply for most college students. If you know a college student who is considering doing this, you might want to mention this article to them:

2) The topic that is getting most of the press coverage in the USA has to be the state of our current health care system, does it need reform, and, if so, what type of reform. Take a few minutes to read this recent column from the Wall Street Journal, written by a British physician, who makes several good tongue-in-cheek points by comparing health care for dogs with health care for humans:

3) Yesterday was the birthday observation of Henry Bergh, born August 29, 1811. "Who was Henry Bergh?," you ask. Henry Bergh was a philanthropist in New York City and he founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in known as the ASPCA. Bergh also served as Abraham Lincoln's ambassador to Russia. The Henry Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital is now a part of the ASPCA's New York City headquarters:


Caroline's question about "Puddles of Urine" will require us to define 3 words in order to facilitate this discussion. Those words are micturition, incontinence, and polyuria.

  • Micturition: the act of passing urine.

  • Incontinence: unable to control natural discharges of urine or feces.

  • Polyuria: the passing of an excessive quantity of urine.

Caroline's current dog is apparently having bouts of urinary incontinence, which is recognized as being a form of abnormal micturition. Her previous dog was having a problem with polyuria, which is also a form of abnormal micturition. Do you have that straight, now? A few more details should make this easier to understand.

Urinary disorders can be classified as medical or behavioral in origin. At times, there may be a little haziness to the boundary between medical and behavioral because they can both have an effect on each other. Behavioral urinary disorders will be left aside right now for discussion at a later date. The most common medical urinary problems will make up the bulk of this discussion.

Urinary incontinence is the failure of voluntary control of micturition, with the constant or intermittent unconscious passage of urine. The most common cause of this type of incontinence is the decrease or absence of the sex hormones, estrogens for the female and testosterone for the male. These hormones will decrease normally as dogs age but the largest group of dogs with this problem are spayed females. Estrogen and testosterone help to control the sphincter muscle at the base of the urinary bladder, so, no hormones...sometimes no control.

Incontinent dogs may leave a pool of urine where they have been lying or they may dribble urine while walking. The hair around the vulva or the penile sheath (in the male dog) may be constantly wet with these dogs and the skin in those areas can be severely irritated from urine scalding. Hormone replacement therapy was used for years with fairly good success, but those medications have been gradually removed from the market. The medicine that is most often used for urinary incontinence control now is Proin, which your veterinarian would prescribe for your dog. Scalded areas of skin will need to be treated topically with anti-inflammatory ointments that also contain antibiotics.

The important thing to remember about this form of urinary incontinence is not to get angry with your dog...they probably can't help what's going on and they are undoubtedly as upset you are.

Polyuria, passing an excessive amount of urine, is quantified as passing more than 20 milliliters per pound of body weight of urine per day. To do the math, a 50-lb. dog would need to pass more than 1000 milliliters of urine per day to qualify as showing polyuria...which is 1 liter...which is a little more than 1 quart. Polyuria is frequently accompanied by polydipsia, which is an increased thirst, as the body tries to compensate for the loss of water in the urine.

Polyuria and polydipsia are signs of many disease processes in the dog, some more serious than others. The more common of these diseases are chronic kidney failure, diabetes mellitus, liver disease, pyometra, and Cushing's Disease (overactive adrenal glands). There are also numerous medications that can lead to polyuria, such as diuretics (Lasix), anticonvulsants (for epilepsy), cortisone-type drugs (prednisone), salt, and fluid therapy. Since there are so many potential causes of polyuria and polydipsia, the underlying cause must be determined before appropriate treatment can be initiated.

Without knowing more details about Caroline's previous dog and its puddles of urine, Helpful Buckeye has to assume that any one of these diseases could have led to the polyuria. However, chronic kidney failure is usually considered to be the most common of these disorders in the older dog.

Helpful Buckeye will address these urinary disorders that usually involve polyuria or abnormal micturition, including those peculiar to cats, in future issues of Questions On Dogs and Cats. Frequent squatting to urinate should not be confused with polyuria, because that usually does not involve producing more than the normal amount of is usually associated with other types of urinary disorders, such as urinary bladder infections or urinary bladder stones.

Any questions or comments, please send an e-mail to: or click on the word "Comment" at the end of each blog issue.


1) For those of you who live in or near earthquake-prone areas, these new "suits" for your dogs and cats may be of interest:

2) The new P@W Bag allows you to safely carry your laptop AND your small pet at the same time:


1) "Busy Pets Are Happy Pets" says the ASPCA in one of their press releases this week. “With nothing to do, dogs and cats are forced to find ways to entertain themselves,” explains Kristen Collins. “Their activities of choice often include behaviors we find problematic, like excessive barking or meowing, gnawing on shoes, raiding the garbage, eating houseplants and scratching furniture.” For the rest of this interesting report, go to:

This cartoon from the New Yorker shows how to NOT approach this situation:

2) If you are looking for a worthy organization for your charitable donations, you might want to consider Dogs For The Deaf. They are located in Oregon and for the last 30+ years, they have rescued and placed more than 3000 dogs in homes. Read more about their mission at:

3) Computer gurus say that your desktop photo says a lot about you. If that's true, then all of you dog lovers might want to consider taking a look at this web site that offers a lot of really neat dog photos for downloading to be used as your computer desktop: Don't be afraid to look around this web site...they have at least 3 pages of different breeds of dogs in interesting poses.

4) Just when you thought that poodle groomers had all the work they needed, along comes Creative Poodle Grooming. Take a closer look at 12 of their creations and, if you've been reading Questions On Dogs and Cats for a while, you should be able to guess which one Helpful Buckeye likes the best: Send your guess to:

5) If you've ever thought of having your pet immortalized in a custom painting, this might be the web site for you:

6) Researchers at the National Human Genome Institute have made a discovery about dog hair that they feel might hold some answers for treating human diseases. Read more about this very interesting possibility at:

7) A special award for being the "Dummy of the Year" should be given to the pilot of this airplane. Watch the video and see if you don't agree:


The LA Dodgers took 2 of 3 from the Rockies, who were breathing down our necks, and just finished taking 2 of 3 from Cincinnati. We'll go back to LA tomorrow with a more comfortable cushion in the standings.

The Steelers continue to look good in their pre-season games.


As Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918), French writer, said: "Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy." He was well ahead of Bobby McFerrin's sentiment in song: "Don't worry, Be happy!"

For those readers who did not get a chance to read the comments from last week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, here is what Holly had to say: "Thanks Doc! Always interesting to come here and get the 411 to reduce the 911! Have a great week. Rory & Fiona say, " 'Aroo!' " Holly is a frequent commenter and sometimes contributor to this blog and Helpful Buckeye really appreciates her participation, especially when she turns an interesting phrase that works in some telephone lingo! Thanks a bunch, Holly!

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~


  1. As always I enjoy reading your blog! I have to say I really enjoyed the pictures in this report. Hope you have a great weekend, and take care.

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