Urinary Incontinence In Dogs<< Back to Pet Health Blog
Urinary incontinence is a fancy term for not being able to “hold it.” There are many reasons why your pet might be incontinent; some are simple and easily corrected, and some are the result of complicated medical issues. Urinary incontinence usually involves a malfunction in the bladder or the urethra or possibly the brain and spinal cord, which control urinary functioning. Incontinence and diseases or behaviors that cause frequent urination are all separate things that should not be confused. Keep a log of your concerns and the frequency of “accidents” that your dog has when discussing it with your veterinarian. You will both be able to sort out the issue based on the context of the surrounding behaviors and issues.
Causes of Incontinence
Sometimes, birth defects cause urinary incontinence, the most common being ectopic ureters. The ureters are ducts that connect the bladder and kidneys. It is possible for the ureters to connect to something other than the bladder, such as the vagina or urethra. If this happens, you will notice dribbling. The most common dog breed that this happens to is the Siberian Husky. Moreover, some breeds are more susceptible to urinary incontinence, including:
- Labrador Retrievers
- Miniature Poodles
- Welsh Corgis
- Wire-Haired Fox Terriers
- West Highland White Terriers
Female dogs are affected more than males. When only one ureter is affected, the dog will be able to urinate normally, but urine will also dribble. If both are affected, the puppy will never urinate normally and always dribble.
Diagnosing Urinary Incontinence
Dyes are used to show abnormalities in the bladder, and sometimes special equipment can be used to find an abnormality when the dog is sedated. The tests and treatment depends largely on the age of the dog and whether there are any other problems. Urine samples will show secondary infections. When discussing the problem with your vet, make sure you can answer some common questions, such as:
- How old was your dog when you first noticed the incontinence?
- Does it happen when the dog is at rest or active?
- Does your pet urinate normally?
- Surgical and illness history
- Is the dog on any medications?
- How much do they drink each day?
- How much do they urinate?
- Does your pet seem to be in pain?
- Does your pet seem weak or have seizures?
Once you are done with a medical history, your vet will probably suggest doing a blood test to look for kidney damage. Some X-rays may be taken to view the urinary tract.
Treating Urinary Incontinence
Sometimes, the incontinence is the result of an underlying medical condition. Once that is treated, the incontinence will usually subside. If there is no medical cause for the incontinence, drugs may strengthen the muscle that holds the urine inside of the bladder. There are a few drugs to try, and you may have to use trial and error before you find something that works. Give each new drug a few weeks to “kick in” before ruling it out. If the incontinence is the result of a faulty ureter, surgery may correct the problem. If the problem is because of untreated kidney damage, the kidney may have to be removed.