Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What A Way to Start the Day!

Picture this . . . it's 4 AM and Helen is snuggled beneath the covers, happily dreaming about this and that. She rolls over, reaching for Smelly the Beast Dog, and instead encounters . . . a puddle on the other side of the bed.

Yup. That's what I awoke to this morning. So I got up, stripped and remade the bed, hand-washed my coverlet (because it's too big for the machine), and showered. After all that, I can safely say that I was WIDE awake, so I just went to work. At 6 AM. Ugh.

Some people think I should be furious with her, because this isn't the first time this has happened. (Far from it.) But, you see, Smelly has a bit of a urinary incontinence issue. And it's not her fault. When she was "fixed" at the ripe old age of 6 months, they messed up her plumbing, and now, about every 3 months, she gets a bladder infection and she "leaks" in her sleep. She also has to take medicine every day. As you can imagine, this is a costly proposition.

The last time we went, the vet (not the one who fixed her . . . we stopped going there when they insisted her wetting was a behavioral issue!) suggested that I put her on some super-duper hardcore broad-spectrum antibiotics to see if we could kill whatever was in her system that kept coming back. I was all for it . . . until I found out that the $20 antibiotics I normally got for her were being replaced by $360 antibiotics.

For those of you who have pets and live on a budget, you have probably encountered "the look" from your vet. This is the look that says: "I cannot believe that you would deprive your pet of every possible treatment method to extend and improve its quality of life. You should sell your ass on the corner so that you can afford this ten thousand dollar surgery. Your kids can pay for their own college." Whenever I see this look, I feel these ravenous pangs of guilt ripping through my gut. Then I get over it.

There is not much that I wouldn't do for my dog. I will love her until her dying breath (or mine) and if there is something that I can do that will improve her life, I am all over it. But does sedating her so that they can jam a needle in her bladder and then pump her full of so many chemicals that she can't properly digest her food (pssst . . . that's code for "she gets the runs") for a month really improving her life? I'm doubtful.

What I really want to know is if there are any holistic remedies for these types of issues in dogs. Does cranberry juice work on dogs like it does on people? And how do you get a dog to drink cranberry juice? I'm going to have to do some research.


Olivia said...

I would put the cranberry juice in a bowl on the floor. Then point and go, "Drink, dog." Then maybe the dog would drink, I don't know. I had a dog that liked beer, so maybe get your dog drunk and then get it to drink some juice.

Helen Skor said...

Olivia . . . oddly enough, I tried your suggestion and it worked. (Not the getting her drunk first idea, but the pointing at the bowl idea!)

Whenever I get her drunk she just rolls over on her back and puts her feet in the air. I swear she didn't learn that from me.

R. E. said...

There are some studies that have shown that glucosamine and chondroitin (the supplement used for arthritis) can improve bladder health for dogs and cats with bladder issues. You can find Cosequin online pretty cheap. It might be worth a try.

Good luck. You are a great pet owner!

Helen Skor said...

Thanks, R.E. - I will have to give that a try. I also have been trying apple cider vinegar on her food. So far so good.

g-dog said...

We have a leaky dog too - a little boy (behavioral -when we are not home). There are doggie diapers - addresses the symptom, not the disease. But may save some puddles on the bed.

Sorry your sweet doggie had this problem - good luck finding something that helps.