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DrRalston, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2207
Experience:  Over twelve years of internal medicine, surgery, and preventive care.
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Hi I have a seven year old female golden retreiver (Ellie)

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Hi I have a seven year old female golden retreiver (Ellie) in good shape and normal weight and showing no signs of illness until about 5pm today. she seams to have a bladder control problem she is peeing while laying down. She has become unsteady on her feet wobbling as if drunk or losing balance. she also seams anxious and flinching when you go to stroke her. These symptoms all come on quite quickly and she appeared fine on a walk earlier in the day. Any idea what the problem may be . Thanks. Marc Neale.

Thanks for your question.

These signs are quite unusual and are non-specific for any illness. However, there are a few thoughts on my mind from experience.

1. urinary incontinence does happen in dogs and it is quite possible. Usually happens when they are laying down or sleeping. Medications are available from the Vet. I use one called Proin that works very well.

2. urinary infection - this could have been brewing for awhile, and has just now gotten the point where the pet is urinating so frequently that she is starting to urinate while laying down. I have seen this in patients that have other joint issues for example, where it becomes painful to move a lot. Goldens are known for hip dysplasia and disease

3. diabetes - this can come on suddenly. You may not notice increased drinking of water, or increased urination. Most pets show these signs but not all. Some will lose weight, and some won't.

Any of the above are a good reason to test the urine. Be sure there isn't a secondary disease causing these strange signs.

The wobbling or drunk appearance can be due to many problems - most of them relate to neurologic issues, but can be secondary to MANY physiologic changes:

1. diabetes again - the increased urination leads to a loss of potassium in the urine. Potassium is necessary for normal functioning of the muscles and nerves. Low potassium can lead to weakness and stumbling

2. stroke - heat stroke and exhaustion do happen in pets as well!! This is true if it was warm during your walk.

3. cardiac disease- there could be heart issues underneath it all that just haven't shown any sign yet. Suddenly, you could have a patient that is having cardiac insufficiency or low cardiac output. Severe dehydration would mimic this as well. Low output of blood from the heart leads to low blood pressure and the signs of change.

BUT, the wobbling could also just be related to pain, my first idea.
Ellie seems like she has been healthy in the past and just recently started to change. I would suspect there was soreness after the walk. That's why she is flinching from you. She's urinating because it's hard to get up and walk. She's wobbly because she's weak and sore.

At any point, I can make an argument for this being the case.

However, unfortunately, I think you are going to want an exam. There are just too many things going on with Ellie. And we need to know exactly what it is to help her the best.
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