Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wee Problem of Pee

I was just about to make a bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with blueberries when I stepped in it.

It was a river of pee courtesy of our dog, Hviezda. Actually, there was a main channel that ran about three feet and a shorter, parallel tributary on the kitchen floor. Description aside, it was a lot of pee. And, before I could savor my blueberries and cream, I had to get on my hands and knees to sop it up.

I wouldn't be writing about this if it were a one-time occurrence. Sadly, it's become all too common. For months, our aging Irish setter has released the contents of her bladder in our house. Tail tucked between legs, shamed by her actions, she slinks away when we notice her latest accident.

It all started, I think, last spring when Hviezda, who's 14 and a half years old, peed in Michelle and my room, where she sleeps on her doggie bed in the corner. OK, we weren't happy, but the rare whizzing inside can be forgiven. Yet it continued, and so I took her to the veterinarian to find out why.

A urine sample indicated she had an urinary tract infection. The doctor prescribed some antibiotics and in a week or so, Hvezda was right as rain. Problem solved – or so we thought.

Beginning in July, we noticed that Hviezda had peed again. If I recall correctly, this happened when Michelle, who arose early that morning, drenched her sock when she stepped in pee massed in the carpet on our upper floor landing. As more days passed, it became clear that Hviezda had peed in several carpeted locations on both floors of our house. Clearly, something was not right. So, I took her to the vet again. The same antibiotics were prescribed, and we waited for them to work. I rented a carpet cleaner.

Hviezda kept peeing in the house. I took her back to the vet, who prescribed a stronger dosage of antibiotics. We waited for them to work. I rented a carpet cleaner.

Hviezda kept peeing in the house. So, yet again, I took her to the vet, who prescribed medication designed to strengthen her bladder muscles, which, due to her age, may have weakened, leading to uncontrolled releases of doggie wee. I borrowed a carpet cleaner.

Hviezda kept peeing – although by now, we had confined her to the kitchen, where we have hardwood floors and no carpets. The situation, bad to begin with, had become untenable, what with one-year-old Nathaniel crawling about. We obviously had to do all we could to keep Nathaniel from being exposed to dog urine. Hviezda, meanwhile, was having accidents at least every second day, on average, and on some days, more than once in the same day.

We were reaching a breaking point. A doggie non grata. An ostracized pooch. A woof without a roof.

After speaking with the vet on the phone and consulting with my neighbor's girlfriend, also a vet, we decided that Hviezda would get an ultrasound, so her innards could be thoroughly examined. Perhaps there was a stone in her bladder, or a growth in another organ that was exerting pressure on her bladder. Worse, her kidneys were failing, or she had cancer.

I took in her today for the examination. Nearly $600 later, (there were other tests.) it appears as if Hviezda has a chronic bladder infection. If all goes well, the vet should know within days which bacteria are causing the infection and can prescribe antibiotics that will knock them out once and for all.

The good news is our dog, despite her many flaws, is a picture of sound health, especially for her age. The better news is the bacterial infection can be diagnosed and treated, Hviezda will no longer feel the urge to constantly pee. And, then, maybe, she'll have the run of the house again.

Or at least a good part of it.

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