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Dear Daisy Dog

Sierra, our 18-month-old spayed Labrador retriever, started dribbling urine four months ago.

A urinalysis showed that her urine was dilute. She is drinking more than usual, but we think that might be related to increased outdoor activity in the summer heat.

She is taking an antibiotic for six weeks, but she still leaks.

Should we start her on a medication to tighten her urinary sphincter?

Daisy Responds

I also had a leakage problem for a short time. My embarrassment was cured by phenylpropanolamine, a medication that tightens the urinary sphincter.

While Sierra’s problem might be as simple as mine, her dribbling might instead be related to her increased water intake, particularly if her bladder is often overly full.

Increased water consumption, especially if it is more than an ounce of water per pound of body weight per day, is cause for concern.

To determine why Sierra is drinking more than usual, ask your veterinarian to do some blood tests. A complete blood count and chemistry profile will tell you whether her excessive drinking is due to a medical problem or just the summer heat.

The most common causes of excessive drinking are decreased kidney function, diabetes, Cushing’s disease (overactive adrenal glands), and elevated calcium (usually because of a tumor.)

Medications such as prednisone and phenobarbital also cause excessive drinking.

If Sierra is still dribbling after these diseases are ruled out and her antibiotic therapy is finished, talk with your veterinarian about doing a water-restriction test and trying phenylpropanolamine.

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