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Tackling Dogs’ Incontinence
The urinary incontinence in dogs is defined as involuntary urination over which the dog simply has no control. It may happen when the dog is sleeping, they may not make it outdoors fast enough, or they may continuously drip urine throughout the day. Causes for dogs’ incontinence vary, so a single reason can not be pinpointed as the main culprit. Spaying is, however, said to be the primary cause of incontinence in female dogs. Experts estimate that up to 20% of dogs will experience this problem at some point in their life.
How to Know if Your Dog has Urinary Incontinence
Spay incontinence is an annoying problem for dog owners. Causes for dogs’ incontinence can be determined at a later date, but there’s a need to identify the problem immediately. The most common clinical sign is spotting of urine underneath your dog when he/she is sleeping or relaxed. Many dog owners report finding wet spots on the bedding or floor where their dog has recently been lying down or sleeping.
Some owners also reported dribbling of urine while their dog is walking or after urination. In most cases, the dog seems to be unaware of what is happening. Excessive licking of the vulva or penis area is also a major identifying symptom. Female dogs experience it more frequently than male dogs. It is estimated that urethral incontinence may affect a substantial portion of all spayed female dogs, especially large-breed dogs. Urethral incontinence is most common in middle-aged to senior, medium to large-breed female dogs although any dog may be affected. Pet owners must look for these symptoms to identify incontinence in dogs and then treat them accordingly.
Causes of Incontinence in Dogs?
There are several potential causes of urinary incontinence. Sometimes, birth defects lead to this problem, while in most cases medical conditions developed during the life of pets are responsible for causing urinary incontinence. The major causes of incontinence include:
- Urethral Sphincter Mechanism Incompetence (USMI): USMI, also known as idiopathic incontinence or hormone-responsive incontinence, is the most common and important acquired cause of incontinence in dogs. It is largely a condition of spayed female dogs, but in some breeds, incontinence may precede ovariohysterectomy (OHE). During the first 12 to 18 months after spaying, a decrease in maximal urethral closure pressure and functional urethral length occur, which results in a shift of the urethral profile, and deterioration of urethral closure function. It is speculated that this decline in urethral closure pressure continues with advancing age.
- Neurological Causes: Neurological issues can be a major cause of urinary incontinence in dogs. These include spinal injuries, disruption of the nerves controlling the bladder, and brain diseases or lesions.
- Bladder Storage Dysfunction: This condition results in incontinence in many dogs wherein the urine storage function is not performed well by the bladder. It also includes bladder hypercontractility, in which the bladder contracts frequently, resulting in small amounts of urine leakage.
- Urinary Tract Infections or Bladder Tumors: The infections, tumors, or any condition that compresses the bladder from the outside results in involuntary urination.
- Urethral Disorders: In these disorders, the urethral muscles that close the urethra fail to tightly contract, resulting in urine leakage. This is one of the most common causes and is mostly associated with hormone-responsive urinary incontinence, urinary tract infection or inflammation, the prostatic disease in male dogs, and vestibulovaginal anomaly in females. To alleviate inflammation in dogs, know more about CBD for pets.
- Anatomic Abnormalities: Anatomic abnormalities can often be the cause of a pet’s incontinence. These include congenital defects, an injury, or a surgery that has caused damage or altered the normal bladder function. Ectopic ureters (inborn ureter defect), urethral hypoplasia, and vulvar or perivulvar conformation abnormalities are some of the anatomic abnormalities that can cause urinary incontinence.
- Urine Retention: This condition occurs when a dog will not urinate due to stress, fear, or behavioral abnormality; thus, urine leakage occurs when the pressure inside the bladder exceeds urethral outlet resistance.
- Mixed Urinary Incontinence: This may occur in some dogs and is described as the combination of multiple factors affecting normal urination. Combinations of urethral and bladder storage dysfunction and anatomic and functional disorders are most likely the cause.
How to Deal with Dog Incontinence
The good news for the dogs’ owners is that about 90% of incontinence patients respond to medications. The need is to diagnose the problem and consult a certified veterinary doctor to carefully carry out the treatment. Let’s see how to deal with dog incontinence in the right way. The possible solutions for the most common causes of urinary incontinence are as follows:
For the treatment of ectopic ureters, surgery is the recommended procedure in most cases, although some of the cases may be managed with lasers via cystoscopy. It is a procedure in which a thin, lighted tube is inserted into the bladder via the urethra. Then the identified region can be treated via laser radiations rather than surgical procedures.
If the primary cause of the incontinence is determined to be urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence (USMI), your veterinarian may prescribe one or two drugs that could resolve the problem. Commonly used drugs include phenylpropanolamine and estrogens, such as estriol and diethylstilbestrol. Estrogen works to strengthen the dog’s muscles in order to control urination. If the female dog is found to be estrogen-dominant, then natural remedies for spay incontinence in dogs such as cycle balance progesterone oil or apple cider vinegar can be tried for alleviating the symptoms. Here is a testimony from one of our customers: Cycle Balance Progesterone Oil Testimony.
In most cases, your dog should respond to these medications and the leaking should stop within a few days or within a week after starting the medication. About 90% of incontinence patients do respond to medications. If medical therapy, unfortunately, does not work for your dog, your vet may recommend additional diagnostics or recommend referral to a specialist. The specialist will look further for an underlying cause and may suggest advanced diagnostic imaging, such as Contrast-computed Tomography (CT), or cystoscopy.
In some cases, a surgical solution is inevitable in order to treat urinary incontinence. In these cases, an artificial urethral valve may be implanted by a surgeon.