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Incontinence in Dogs: 5 Things to Know

By Maureen Ryan. June 28, 2012 | See Comments

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Incontinence in Dogs: 5 Things to Know

Incontinence in dogs isn't fun to deal with, and can be quite tough on many pet parents. Knowing about the issue can help you and your dog become more comfortable dealing with urinary incontinence. Learn more here.

Unfortunately, incontinence is an issue that many dog owners must face. Having a pet that is constantly urinating on floors, furniture, bedding, or even people can cause stress and frustration. You also may fear that this is a sign that your dog is beginning to deteriorate and may soon develop other serious health problems. Understanding the condition can help you to have hope about your pet’s health and may also make it easier to more patiently deal with the symptoms. Here are some of the facts you should consider when caring for an incontinent pet:

1) Incontinent Dogs Have No Control Over Urination

Your pet is not being stubborn or disobedient. Your dog doesn’t want to urinate on the floor, but the urine spills out of the urethra without your pet even realizing it. There are instances in which dogs consciously void in your home or at times that seem inappropriate. They may be showing submissiveness, be overexcited, or want to mark their territory. In other cases, your pet just hasn’t fully mastered house training. Certain training techniques can help you correct your dogs’ behavior in those situations. But with incontinence, you will need to find other means to treat or manage your pet’s condition.

2) Neutered Dogs Are at Greater Risk

Male and female dogs that have been neutered sometimes develop a deficiency of sex hormones (estrogen in females; testosterone in males). These hormones help maintain sphincter muscle function. Without a sufficient supply of these hormones the muscles weaken and urine leaks from the urethra, sometimes causing incontinence. The condition is more common in females who have been spayed.

3) Birth Defects Are Common in Some Breeds

Ectopic ureter is the most common birth defect resulting in incontinence. With this condition, the ureters are not correctly placed so there is no connection between the kidneys and bladder. This leads to a leakage of urine. It is most common in Siberian Huskies but is also seen in Miniature Poodles, Labrador Retrievers, Collies, Welsh Corgis, Wire-haired Fox Terrier, and West Highland White Terriers.

4) Veterinarians Use Several Methods to Diagnose Incontinence

A urine analysis will usually be done to check for infections, which can be treated with antibiotics; a blood test may be done to check for kidney diseases; and X-rays or an ultrasound may be performed to look for problems along the urinary tract. In addition, your veterinarian will take a complete history of your pet to evaluate whether there are risks from hormone deficiency, nerve damage, drug side effects, or diseases that can cause excessive water consumption.

5) There Are Ways to Treat Incontinence

There was a time when dog owners felt their only option for caring for incontinent dogs was to keep them out of the house. Now, however, surgery, hormone replacement therapy, or other medications, like Proin, may be an option for your dog. These treatments can be used successfully to reverse the symptoms of incontinence. In cases where incontinence persists, you can use modern day supplies such as pet diapers.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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