Urinary Incontinence

Information to help cats and dogs with symptoms of canine and feline urinary incontinence such as leaking bladders

symptoms and causes of urinary incontinence in cats and dogs

Select a Topic

  1. What is Urinary Incontinence?
  2. What are the symptoms of Urinary
  3. What Causes Urinary Incontinence?
  4. Help for Urinary Incontinence

What is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary Incontinence is unchecked leakage or dribbling of urine from the bladder. It is fairly common in spayed bitches and is also seen in neutered male dogs.

What are the symptoms of Urinary Incontinence?

If your pet is suffering from urinary incontinence, puddles of urine will appear without your pet assuming the normal position for urination. Urine may also leak out when your pet jumps or gets up from lying down, or might even dribble out while your pet is lying down.

Often the hair around the vulva or prepuce will be wet or you might just notice a strong smell of urine when your pet is close to you. Your pet will be unaware of this inability to retain urine and will appear otherwise healthy if the underlying cause for the incontinence is not due to injury or disease.

What Causes Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is most often due to inadequate closure of the urethral sphincter: a circle of muscles that normally contract and stop urine flowing out of the bladder. It is most common in large breed, spayed female dogs with up to 20% of dogs falling into this category developing urinary incontinence.

Incontinence may also be seen in intact females, male dogs and cats. Incontinence may develop following spinal injury due to damage to the nerve supply of the bladder. Cystitis, bladder stones, tumors of the bladder and submissive behavior can also be characterized by episodes of incontinence.

After being spayed, surgery in which the uterus and the ovaries are removed (ovariohysterectomy), the levels of oestradiol decrease in your dog’s body. This decrease in oestradiol causes the tissues of the urogenital system shrink and therefore the urethral sphincter does not close as tightly as it would and leakage of urine occurs. Pets with urinary incontinence are sometimes described as having "weak bladders".

Help for Urinary Incontinence

Incontinence due to low levels of oestradiol is treated either with hormone supplements such as diethylstilboestrol (DES) or with drugs that act on the muscles of the urethral sphincter to improve tone and maximize urethral closure pressure. Both of these treatments are not without side effects with DES causing marked suppression of the bone marrow and the other drugs affecting the heart or causing hypertension, restlessness and anorexia.

 

By adopting a holistic approach to your pet’s illness you are not only be
addressing presenting symptoms but also confronting the root cause of
the problem.
  • Ensure regular, adequate exercise
  • Feed a balanced, organic diet that is free of preservatives and colorants
  • Ensure that your pet always has plenty of fresh, filtered water
  • Take time out to have fun with your pet, it’s a great way to relieve stress

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