In the past, “treatment” for incontinent dogs consisted of keeping the dog outside. Today, however, veterinarians may be able to treat the underlying causes of uncontrollable urination and even in instances where they can’t cure the condition, there are options that can help you manage your pet’s frequent urination so you can continue to keep your pet close by and in your home.
Incontinence in Neutered Dogs
A lack of estrogen or testosterone in neutered dogs can lead to problems with the bladder sphincter; the muscles don’t contract completely so urine is able to leak out. Hormone replacement therapy or other drug treatments can usually be used successfully to improve the sphincter muscle’s function. Some studies have shown that you may be able to lessen the risk of incontinence in female dogs (who are more likely to develop the condition) by having them spayed before their first heat. However, you should discuss that decision with your veterinarian.
Birth defects can cause one or both of the ureters (which should connect the kidneys and bladder) to be out of place. With surgery, the ureter might be able to be moved to the correct location, but problems may persist, especially if other birth defects are present in the urinary system. Even if the incontinence can be corrected, the ectopic ureter may lead to kidney damage that will need to be treated as well.
In rare instances female dogs may have a narrowing of the vagina at the point where the urethra ends. Known as vulvovaginal stenosis, the condition can result in urine being trapped in the vagina and later spilling out when a dog moves. Your veterinarian may be able stretch the vagina under anesthesia to correct the problem, but the incontinence may persist if there are other defects in the urinary tract.
The symptoms of incontinence caused by bacterial infections of the bladder can usually be resolved with antibiotics. Your veterinarian may recommend changes in your dog’s diet as well.
Unspecified Causes or Untreatable Conditions
In some cases, your veterinarian may not be able to determine the cause of your dog’s incontinence. In these instances, he may prescribe drugs that increase the tone of the sphincter muscles in an effort to correct the problem. Those medications might include estrogen, ephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine.
If your pet’s incontinence cannot be reversed, you might be able to manage frequent urination and leaking by using 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.