Sunday, April 3, 2011

House-Training, Urinary Tract Infections, and Puppies... OY!

House-training a puppy can be life-altering, to say the least... until you get your puppy on a schedule and have some semblance of order in your home.  But house-training a puppy with a raging urinary tract infection AND e-coli in her bladder? Well, it can drive you mad.

Here's how we got through one of our client puppy's 'difficulties' for the last month:

First, we needed to establish whether or not her peeing 15-20 times per day at 5 months of age was a house-training issue or a medical issue.  Having our suspicions, we headed for the vet to rule out medical, and it's a good thing we did.

Not only was it medical, but she had a severe level of e-coli in her bladder.  E-coli can normally be found in people and dogs, but in the intestinal tract... NOT in the bladder. Just doesn't belong there. 

We had urine pulled directly from her bladder and got her on antibiotics. Once they kicked in we felt we would have some form of a schedule going, and most importantly, she'd be more comfortable.  We were wrong.  After 2 weeks and very little in the way of change, we had a re-check done.  The e-coli had mutated (common problem I was to learn) and was now resistant to the Clavamox she'd been on.  Several days waiting for lab work found several options for new antibiotics, the best choice being Baytril.  Unfortunately, Baytril can have ill-effects on joint and bone growth, and she's only 5 1/2 months at this point, so... next.  Went with Tetracycline 3x a day, but no change by day 6.  This puppy was urinating 18 times a day. Yes, you have to count ; )  This is not normally what house-training an almost 6 month old puppy looks like.
While she was with us we kept a chart of every time she urinated, no matter where it was.  We were so on top of it that we only had 4 pees in the kitchen and 2 in her crate in 30 days.  We were taking her out almost hourly, she'd sometimes pee 2-3 times in an hour or less.  Why we were lucky enough that she made it through most of the night without waking, I don't know.  Last out was midnight, first was 5:45 AM.

Yesterday she went home to her loving owners, who understand the problem, and luckily have a garden in their brownstone apartment in NY where they can take her to relieve herself as often as needed without having to wait for an elevator. Can you imagine having to go up and down 10 floors or more in a NYC apartment building with a puppy who can't hold it, every hour on the hour, sometimes more frequently?

This lovely little Wheaten puppy, now only 6 months old,  will be lined up for an ultrasound, possibly a vaginal scope, and likely more tests to find out how on earth the e-coli got there in the first place.  Hoping it's not structural.

So for all who bemoan their lives and lack of sleep while house-training a pee-machine, first, always have a veterinary check done if all does not seem well... and if all is well and your puppy is healthy, enjoy your time with your puppy, it's all just part of the journey : )