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You are not alone, if you are an owner of a beautiful dog that is suffering from urinary incontinence, which means lack of ability to control bladder activity, leading to involuntary urination. Not very rare, this involuntary urination problem is seen in dogs since the birth. Some dog breeds have been studied to be more prone to urinary incontinence as a birth defect. Breeds that are exposed to this condition from the birth are Collie, Labrador, Miniature Poodle, Welsh Corgi, Wire-haired Fox Terrier, Cocker Spaniels, Springer Spaniels, West Highland White Terrier, Doberman Pinschers, Old English Sheepdogs. However, all other breeds may also be exposed to birth defect resulting to lack of bladder control.
Studies have shown that females (especially mid-aged to older females- spayed) have been noticed to be more prone to this condition than males, but that doesn't leave any scope to conclude that males will never have this problems. Dogs may develop urinary incontinence due to many reasons, including infection in bladder, infected urethra. Incontinence in urination process may be caused by malfunctioning of specific parts of the brain and/or spinal cord that are responsible for proper functioning of bladder. Sometimes obesity can also contribute to this problem in dogs. Neutering is yet another risk factor for lack of bladder control in dogs. Urinary incontinence in dogs due to neutering is a temporary condition and the problem usually get resolved automatically as the dog recovers. However, complications due to neutering are not very common. So, the common reasons for lack of bladder control in dogs can be enlisted as:
- Malfunctioning of nerves around the bladder
- Damaged specific parts of the spinal cord, controlling the bladder function
- Damaged specific parts of the brain, controlling the bladder function
- Pressure on the bladder caused by mass - due to obesity
- Overactive bladder syndrome (also called 'irritable bladder' or 'detrusor instability')
- Urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Urinary stones
- Improper development of bladder - birth defects
- Old age is another big reason
- Protruding intervertebral disc
- Renal infection
- Prostate disorders
- Anatomic disorders
- Side effects of medications
Involuntary urine leakage Urinary tract infections Inflammation of skin around the genitals
Don't confuse urinary incontinence with frequent urination. Frequent urination and urinary incontinence both may be caused by conditions like benign enlargement of prostate, neurogenic bladder, urethral stricture, yet they are different. Dogs with frequent urination problem do not suffer the lack bladder control, where as an incontinent dog looses the bladder control.
Diagnosis and Medication
In many cases dogs with incontinence are treated by hormones or phenylpropanolamine (PPA). Hormones like estrogen or testosterone have proved to be quite effective in treating incontinence in canines. But these hormones leaves your dog exposed to the risk of developing genital cancers and bone marrow suppression as side effects. Hence it is always suggested to see a highly experienced vet before you end up with a wrong decision. A physical examination along with blood as well as urine tests are highly recommended in order to help your vet diagnose the problem correctly. Your vet is the right person to decide on the therapies for incontinence.