Why is my dog leaking urine when lying down? What causes dogs to shake their heads?

Original Question: Hi there, I have an almost 2-year-old female Husky/Shepherd mix named Honey. She is constantly shaking her head, biting and itching. Lately I've noticed the skin on her belly looks dark and it’s turning black. Every time she has an issue I take her to get checked and they say nothing is wrong with her. Back in the month of May she had a weird episode. She was tilting her head and got dizzy and she could barely walk. That seemed to last 24 hours. The dizziness only occurred on 2 occasions and hasn't happened again but she still constantly shakes her head and itches her ears. The vet looked in her ears and said they look fine. Another problem Honey had prior to this was she could not control her peeing, again my vet did not believe she had any issue! She literally would be laying down and full loads of pee would come out. Eventually she was put on medication from a different vet at the clinic called Stilbestrol. It does help her but I'm wondering if these pills could have negative effects on her. Please help! I can use some guidance as to what steps to take for her. I just want my dog to be healthy and happy. - Stephanie

Why is my dog leaking urine when lying down? What causes dogs to shake their heads? Sep 29, 2017

Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for your question.

The symptoms you’re mentioning have a great deal of variability and may or may not be related to each other.

My first thought would be that the symptoms of head shaking, biting and itching with increased pigmentation of the skin could indicate infection as you considered. It can be challenging to get a good look deep in the ears especially if they’re not cooperative. I would recommend that you have your veterinarian swab the ears of your dog and perform a test called an ‘ear cytology’. This will look for any infection with bacteria or yeast in the ears and may reveal that in fact there is an infection. I would also recommend that you perform a test called a ‘skin scraping’ on the itchy areas of skin to see if either a yeast or bacterial infection could be present there. Increased pigmentation of the skin often occurs when it is constantly rubbed or scratched and the first thing to do would be to rule out an infection in these areas for certain.

When you have a dog leaking urine when lying down it is often caused by either weakening of the urinary sphincter, a bladder infection, a neurological problem or structural abnormality of the bladder. I would recommend you perform urine testing with a culture and sensitivity, which will grow any bacteria that might be present in the bladder. This is a very sensitive test to determine if an infection exists and identifies which antibiotic will be effective against it. General blood and urine testing would be ideal to see if there are any underlying conditions that could be contributing to these symptoms or causing the weakness you’re describing.

It sounds as though it will take a little investigation to reveal the causes of these symptoms but the testing I have mentioned should be a good start.

All the best.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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Why is my dog leaking urine when lying down? What causes dogs to shake their heads?
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Why is my dog leaking urine when lying down? What causes dogs to shake their heads?
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When you have a dog leaking urine when lying down it's often caused by weakening of the urinary sphincter, a bladder infection, a neurological problem or structural abnormality of the bladder. I recommend you perform urine testing with a culture and sensitivity, which will grow any bacteria that might be present.
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Healthcare for Pets
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