How Is Urethral Incontinence Treated
Treatment is based on your pet’s specific diagnosis. Medications that increase urethral sphincter tone such as phenylpropanolamine or imipramine, or hormone replacements such as estrogen or diethylstilbestrol are commonly used alone and in combination. Many dogs that respond poorly to PPA alone will benefit from a combination of PPA and DES. Approximately 70% of all cases respond well to medical therapy alone. GnRH analogs may be considered in severe or refractory cases. With long-term usage, the patient’s blood and urine should be periodically tested to ensure that there are no untoward side effects. Your veterinarian will prescribe the best treatment for your pet’s individual needs.
“Treatment is based on your pets specific diagnosis.”
New research has focused on collagen injections to improve urethral closure. This surgical solution holds promise and should be discussed with your veterinarian to determine if any of the surgical specialists in your area are performing this procedure.
Managing Your Senior Dog’s Incontinence
Before I had senior dogs the thought of dealing with incontinence never crossed my mind, but when my first dogs started to face challenges in their golden years it quickly became front and center in my life. Sadly, incontinence is one of the main reasons people put their dogs down. And while sometimes the cause of the incontinence can be something more serious, more often than not it is just a leaky bladder and in the case of fecal incontinence, many times it is related to a spinal issue and not life threatening. It’s like we forget that humans go through this very same thing as we get older. In fact a multi-billion dollar market has been created around products to support incontinence in humans, yet we give up on our dogs when they have these very same issues? I will never understand a decision to euthanize a dog for something so manageable.
Our dogs go most of their lives being trained to go outside for potty breaks. They know this pleases us and when they start to lose control and have accidents often times they are more upset than we are about the mess. A simple thing like a dog diaper or a dog belly band can do wonders, not only for your carpets and your peace of mind, but also for your dog’s emotional state.
Ann-Marie Fleming is the Founder & CEO of Dog Quality, a provider of products focused on improving the quality of life for older dogs.
Common Diseases In Older Dogs: Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinencethe inability to hold urine in the bladderis not an uncommon occurrence in older dogs. This is just one more example of how similar humans and dogs are as they age.
There are a number of factors that can lead to urinary incontinence. For some dogs, it only happens occasionally while they are sleeping. The urethral muscles aren’t as strong as they used to be, so your dog has a harder time holding urine than he did when he was younger. For female dogs, it can be due to lower estrogen levels. Lower estrogen levels can also lead to a loss of muscle tone in the urethra, which can then result in what is referred to as “spay incontinence.”
Urinary incontinence can also be a symptom of underlying conditions, like bladder infections and neurologic problems . Your dog can also appear to be unable to control his bladder when, in fact, he has an illnesssuch as such as diabetes and kidney diseasethat is significantly increasing the amount of urine his kidneys produce.
Increased urine production can cause inappropriate urination, or urinating in areas where he typically doesn’t urinate . The increased urine results in a need to urinate more frequently and often with increased urgency. So your dog may not be able to “hold it” through the night or when you are at work during the day. Urinating inappropriately can also be caused by behavioral problems. In any case, you should take your dog to the veterinarian to determine the exact cause.
Incontinence In Senior Dogs
Urinary incontinence is a condition where a dog is unable to hold their urine. Incontinence in senior dogs is a fairly common problem that starts when a dog enters middle age and normally stays with the pooch for the rest of their life. There is also fecal incontinence in dogs, but it’s much more rare.
While some housebroken senior dogs lose their ability to hold it in only occasionally, others will have pee accidents all the time. Dogs that develop the urinary incontinence condition will often feel stressed and anxious, which only further complicates yours and your pet’s life. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help your senior pet.
Urinary Incontinence In Dogs
Urinary incontinence in dogs, means your dog has the inability to retain urine in his bladder in other words, bladder leaks.
The urinary system is quite elegant. Urine is produced by the kidneys and fed through the ureters to the bladder. A sphincter keeps the passage to outside closed until its voluntarily opened during urination. At that point, urine flows through the urethra to whatever object your dog decides to gift with his or her scent.
When the sphincter doesnt stay fully tightened, involuntary leakage occurs. If the bladder is too full, urine can overflow into the urethra and escape. This often happens while your dog is resting or sleeping, or when she gets up from lying down.
Dribbling urine can also be a behavior issue if it happens when your dog is frightened or being submissive.
How To Help Your Older Dog
Putting in place the correct medical treatment for your dog is essential. But any treatment can take a while to take effect. And no vet can ever give you an absolute guarantee the problem will disappear forever.
So, many owners also decide to make other adjustments to improve their dogs quality of life and make things that little bit easier. These adjustments include:
- Increase how often you take them for walks so they have more opportunities to toilet.
- Encourage your dog to go out immediately after eating, drinking, and waking up. In many ways, it’s similar to how you used to treat them as a puppy.
- Put waterproof covers on their bed and anywhere else they like to sleep.
- Use special absorbent bedding. Its more hygienic, easier to clean and it draws moisture away from the skin, causing less discomfort.
- Clean soiled areas well with an enzymatic cleaner. This will stop your dog from revisiting that place in the future.
- Put puppy pads down around the house. That way youre more likely to catch any accidents.
- Dog nappies and incontinence pads can be washable or disposable. They come in all sizes to fit your size of dog and can be useful in severe cases.
- Wash and dry the back of your dogs legs and genital area often to remove all traces of urine or faeces. This will help prevent odour, urine scald, and infections.
- Keep long-haired dogs well trimmed around the back end. This will make cleaning up quicker and easier.
How Is Urinary Incontinence In Dogs Treated
Urinary incontinence in dogs can often be successfully treated or managed with surgery and medications.
Specific treatment of an underlying disease or condition with surgery or medications may resolve incontinence. When no specific cause can be identified for the incontinence, drugs may be given that increase the tone of the muscles that hold urine in the bladder. Drug therapy for incontinence may be based on a trial of different drugs in various doses until an effective combination is identified.
Consider Installing A Doggie Door
Because your incontinent dog may need to go to the bathroom more often than normal, and he may not be able to hold it for as long as normal, it can be helpful to install a doggie door. This way, hell essentially have unfettered access to his bathroom, and alleviate your role in the process entirely.
If a doggie door is not a viable option for your living situation, youll need to be extra observant of your dog and take him out at the first sign he needs to go.
What You Can Expect At The Vet Visit
During your dogs appointment, your dogs doctor will perform a physical exam and check your dog from nose to tail. To determine the underlying cause for your dogs incontinence, your veterinarian may run tests including:
- Blood work to check red blood cell count and white blood cell counts
- Biochemistry panel to look at kidney values, liver enzymes, proteins, blood sugar, and electrolytes
- Blood pressure testing for an indication of certain types of diseases including kidney disease
- Urine culture to check for bacteria in the urinethe gold standard diagnosis for UTIs
- X-rays and/or ultrasound to look for bladder stones or masses, and to evaluate for arthritis or back injuries
- Specialized blood work to rule out certain diseases such as Cushings disease or thyroid disease
These tests help your dogs doctor assess the health of your dogs organ systems, including the urinary system.
Protect Your Dogs Bed From Fluids
Because you may have to get used to occasional accidents, it is wise to take steps to protect anything likely to become wet. This can include a number of different things, but your pets bed is probably the most likely item to become soaked in urine.
A good strategy for dealing with this is purchasing a plastic cover for your dogs mattress. Of course, your dog probably wont want to sleep on plastic, so youll need to lay a soft towel or small blanket on top of the plastic.
When an accident occurs, simply wash the towel or blanket, hose off the plastic cover and let it dry thoroughly.
Alternatively, opt for a waterproof incontinent dog bed that is specifically designed to stand up to frequent accidents and is easy to clean. One smart option is Kurandas elevated mesh bed, which keeps your dog raised off of any wetness and can easily be wiped clean when necessary.
Get A Quote From Petwise Today
The caring team at Petwise is here to help you give the very best level of care to your senior dog. Indeed, as your dog gets older, its health needs are only likely to increase. Thats why theres no upper joining age limit for taking out insurance cover with us.
We now offer a choice of seven cover levels for older dog insurance to suit your budget and your canines requirements.
Dental cover is included as standard on all policies, and theres even a contribution towards specialist senior pet food, too.
If you need to make a claim, our friendly UK-based team is always there to help. And when your dog reaches the end of their happy life we also provide a bereavement helpline and farewell cover to help you through that difficult time.
Finding older dog insurance is easy with Petwise get a quick quote today.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.
Recommended Reading: Natural Ways To Heal Urinary Tract Infection
Causes Of Urinary Incontinence In Older Dogs
Urinary incontinence in dogs occurs when urine leaks from the dog’s bladder almost constantly. Leakage occurs most often when the incontinent dog is sleeping or lying down.
In a normal dog, the muscles of the bladder are strong enough to keepurine in. The dog has conscious control of these muscles, so that he can choose when to empty his bladder. In older dogs who have become incontinent, the muscles of the bladder, especially the muscles responsible for keeping urine in the bladder, weaken. The dog loses conscious control over his bladder and can no longer stop urine from seeping out.
Vets believe that reproductive hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, play an important role in keeping the muscles of the bladder strong and under your dog’s conscious control. As your dog growsolder, his body produces fewer reproductive hormones, and his control of his bladder may naturally diminish.
Urinary incontinence in senior dogs occurs most often in spayed females, though males may also experience urinary incontinence. Neuteredmales are more likely than intact males to experience incontinence, though both intact males and females may develop this condition. Senior dogs older than eight years of age are most vulnerable, though spayed females may develop this condition as young as three years of age.
Give Your Dog Adequate Exercise
It’s been observed that incontinence in old dogs often happens with pets who lack exercise and playtime, which is common for an aging animal. If your dog doesnt get enough exercise on a regular basis, you can try increasing it. Take him for a walk more often, which can sometimes help and decrease the number of accidents.
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What Can You Do For Old Dog Incontinence
The treatment for old dog incontinence will depend on your veterinarians assessment based on the results of the testing. Thats why it is so important to talk with your vet sooner rather than later. Your veterinarians diagnosis is the foundational piece that identifies the trajectory for treatment.
Some causes of urinary incontinence in older dogs can be managed with medication. This of course depends on the results of diagnostic testing, and your veterinarian will discuss these treatment options with you.
Some causes of urinary incontinence are not easy fixes, and some causes, such as spinal injuries, may be permanent. In these cases, I discuss with pet parents options and considerations for managing urinary incontinence to maintain a good quality of life.
Encourage Your Dog To Pee Outside More Often
Older dogs with incontinence dont always realize that theyre urinating. Thats because they cannot control their bladders the way they used to in the past. Therefore, you need to help your dog pee, just like back in the days when it was still a puppy.
Encourage your dog to go outside more often to pee. You can also put a waterproof pad where your dog can pee. Let your dog out to pee a few times before bedtime, as this can reduce the risk of your dog peeing at night indoors.
Do not reduce your dogs water intake. Your dog should get enough water, so let it drink as usual. Urinary incontinence in older dogs is usually not caused by excessive drinking, after all, unless your dog is suffering from an illness that is causing it to drink more than usual.
Old Dog Urinary Incontinence
Old dog urinary incontinence feeling frustrated by your older dogs faulty plumbing system?
You are not alone!
Many older dogs suffer from urinary incontinence, and often there is an underlying cause.
The first thing to do, if your dog has this problem, is to work with your vet to find out and try to deal with the underlying cause. Dont try different things on your own without knowing what EXACTLY causes the problem.
Embrace Your New Normal
Living with an incontinent dog requires adding a few tasks to your daily routine:
- Take your dog for frequent walks throughout the day so she has more opportunity to relieve herself, and there will be less urine for her bladder to leak when she rests.
- Check your dog for wetness and redness several times a day.
- If you are using diapers on your dog, change them frequently so she is not sitting in her urine.
- Hopefully the diapers are doing the trick, but get in the habit of checking for puddles and wet spots on your dogs bedding, and on the floors where she spends time. This will prevent your dog from tracking her urine through the house, or laying down in it again.
- If your dogs skin and fur becomes saturated with urine, give her a bath with a gentle dog shampoo to avoid skin irritation.
Your dog needed you when she was having accidents as a puppy and she needs you now that shes having them as a senior canine. Be patient with yourself as you learn to manage life with your incontinent dog. It is no easy thing and the rewards for your care are more subtle than when your dog was young. But the rewards are there. With each diaper change, wipe down, and extra bath, you are ensuring your best friend is comfortable, spending quality time with her, and, above all, demonstrating that your love stays true even when times get tough.
Also Check: What’s The Signs Of A Urinary Tract Infection
The Geriatric Dog: Urinary Incontinence
When I was younger and before I was in the veterinary field my dog Bella, who was roughly nine years old, developed a urinary incontinence. I remember her having accidents around the house. We assumed she was just old and it was part of her advanced age. However, it was not quite the case. I will come back to Bella, but first I would like to discuss urinary incontinence in dogs and cats as well as share some important insight.
Many of our older pets develop urinary incontinence as they age. Owners often fear the worst, assuming incontinence implies senility or irreparable change due to age. However, that is usually not the case. In fact, in most cases, we can solve the issue with the assistance of your trusted veterinarian.
The most common reason for urinary incontinence is an infection of the urinary tract, in particular, a bladder infection. This condition is readily treated with the right choice of medication.
The second most common reason is excessive consumption of water. In this case, the dog or cat drinks so much water that their bladder overflow easily. In cases of excessive consumption of water, the underlying cause needs to be investigated. Diseases such as diabetes, Cushings syndrome, hyperthyroidism, and kidney disease need to be considered and ruled out with diagnostics.
There are some other unusual and rare conditions such as spinal disease or ectopic ureters that can lead to incontinence. These conditions are rare and again can be treated.