“G’day mate, how are you today?” came the cheery voice down the phone.
“I’m pretty good,” I replied. “How are you?”
“Can’t complain, Can’t complain,” He assured me. “Bit hot and dry though, don’t ya reckon? Hey- my old bitch has started leaking piss all over the place. Anything you can do to help me out with that?”
“I reckon there is,” I told him. “Are you at home tomorrow?”
“I sure am,” he said.
So I collected names, places, all the minutia I needed to be able to actually find the place, and kept on with the day. He was first up the next day, so I tidied up the van after my breakfast before heading off. Townsville had finally gotten traffic in the mornings and evenings. This was what a country person who has never had to wrestle with rush hour in a city might call traffic, anyhow. It was shocking! Sometimes it would even be stop/start for a whole five minutes! I smiled at the obvious frustration of all these people who’d never had to slow down in rush hour ever before in their lives- honking horns, waving and swearing at each other. Poor dears, all stressed out by this little bit of a morning slow down.
I pulled up at his door, and knocked. He warmly ushered me in, with a ready smile.
“She’s out the back,” he told me.
So we walked out, and sat down. A big husky dog came over and jumped all over me in a friendly sort of way, tail thrashing with joy. I fended her off gently, and settled down to see what was up with his dog.
“She’s just suddenly started leaking all over the place,” he told me, face animated, hands dancing with expression. “She’ll lie down to go to sleep, and then leave a bloody big puddle behind her, and even when she’s awake, there’s little spots and dribbles wherever she goes. She hates it, she’s always been such a clean dog. What causes it? And is there anything you can do to help?”
“Is she desexed?” I asked.
“Ok- this is not uncommon in older desexed female dogs. The little muscle around the urethra, the little tube which the urine flows out of, is made of smooth muscle tissue. This muscle is made to contract by hormones released from the ovaries, and to a lesser extent, the adrenal glands. Mostly, when they are desexed, the adrenals can take over, but in some dogs, as they age and the adrenals age and wear out, the hormone levels drop off and the muscle stops working, and you get leakage,” I explained. “We have a medicine, propalin syrup, which I will put your dog on. The drug company tells me your dog will have to be on it for life, but I have had some clients reduce the dose to a 1/4 of the recommended dose and it till work. A few have even used one bottle, stopped it, and their dog has stopped leaking, and then I have quite a few who’ve had to have their dogs on the full dose full time, or they start leaking again.”
“Ok- so I’ll give her the full dose for a while, then taper it back, and see what happens?” he asked.
“Yes, that’s the best way to go about it,” I said.
I left him there, carefully reading the instructions for the medicine, and chatting way to his dog. “You’ll be able to come back inside, with this medicine, old girl…”
A few weeks later I rang him up.
“G’day doc!” he said. “She’s goin’ great on this syrup stuff. I did try to drop the dose back, but as soon as i did she starts leaking, so I suppose she’s one of those who need the full dose all the time. Thanks so much for your help. She’s so much happier to be able to come inside again. And I am too! I’ll give you a yell when I need some more.”