Urinary Incontinence in Dogs

When your pet develops urinary incontinence, it can be a frustrating and scary thing to deal with.  Assumptions that urine dribbling is correlated with senility or irreparable age related changes my lead to you putting off a visit to the vet.  But, in reality, urinary incontinence usually has a simple solution and it is crucial you talk to a vet as soon as it starts happening.

There are many different causes of incontinence and most of them can be ruled in or out by answering some questions about the incontinence.  A veterinarian will want to know the frequency, the amount of pee that is being leaked (full voided bladder or dribbling) and will use the dog’s age, sex, and health history to narrow it down.

Most cases of urinary incontinence are due to:

  • Urinary tract infection (usually bladder infection)
  • Weak bladder sphincter (more common in female dogs)
  • Excessive consumption of water due to an underlying illness (diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s diseaes, kidney failure, diabetes insipidus, hyperthyroidism (cats), etc.)
  • Spinal cord disease

Although that is not an all-including list, your veterinarian will be able to narrow the cause down and then do some testing of the urine to learn more about the disease process.

There are many drugs that are relatively inexpensive that can be used in the treatment of the weak bladder sphincter.  These drugs include estrogens, alpha-adrenergic Agonists (phenlyporpanolamine), GnRH, and anticholinergics.

Do expect your veterinarian to ask you lots of questions and formulate a diagnostic plan to determine the underlying cause and treat the underlying pathology.