Is My Dog Leaking Urine?

What is urinary or urethral incontinence

Urinary or urethral incontinence is when a dog loses the ability to control the bladder. The incontinence will cause the dog to start to leak small amounts of urine occasionally.

If a dog starts to experience urinary or urethral incontinence the owner should take it to see a veterinarian before the incontinence increases in its severity.

If the urinary or urethral incontinence is severe or increases in severity the dog will accidentally void large amounts of urine.

The signs and symptoms of urinary or urethral incontinence

The signs and symptoms that are associated with urinary and urethral incontinence are pooling or spotting of the urine, dripping urine, excessive licking of the penis area in males, and excessive licking of the vulva in females.

Pooling or spotting of urine

One of the most common signs seen in dogs who experience urinary or urethral incontinence is spotting or pooling of the urine. Spotting or pooling of the urine most commonly occurs when dogs are relaxed or sleeping.

Spotting or pooling of the urine can be found underneath the dog. The most common places where pooling or spotting of the urine can be found is on the bedding or floor.

Studies have shown that certain dogs experience urinary incontinence more than others. 20 percent of all large breed female spayed dogs usually experience urinary incontinence.

Dogs that are middle-aged and older also are more prone to develop urinary incontinence as well.

Dribbling of the urine

Another symptom that dogs often experience with urinary or urethral incontinence is the dribbling of urine. When dribbling of urine occurs in dogs it usually happens after they have urinated while they are walking.

Most of the time when dogs are experiencing dribbling they are totally unaware it is occurring.

When a dog is experiencing continuous dribbling or dripping urine it can cause severe irritation of the dog’s skin. If you see a dog constantly licking their growing and private area it is a sign that dribbling or dripping urine is occurring.

Causes of urinary or urethral incontinence

There are many different causes or pre-existing conditions associated with dogs developing urinary or urethral incontinence in dogs.

The causes are mixed urinary incontinence, neurological disorders, urinary retention, bladder storage dysfunction, anatomic abnormalities, bladder tumors, and urethral disorders.

Mixed urinary incontinence

When urinary or urethral incontinence occurs it is because many different factors are having a negative effect on the urinary system it is known as mixed urinary incontinence.

The types of disorders that can occur simultaneously and lead to mixed urinary incontinence are urethral dysfunction and bladder storage dysfunction. Urethra and bladder storage dysfunction issues can also occur simultaneously with anatomic disorders as well.

Neurological disorders

There are currently different types of neurological disorders that can cause dogs to develop urinary or urethral incontinence. The disorders that cause urinary or urethral incontinence are lesions on the brain, brain diseases, spinal cord injuries, and neurological diseases that affect bladder control.

Urinary retention

Also known as urethral incontinence is caused by urinary retention. It is when bladder pressure is more than the urethra outlet resistance. It is caused when dogs experience stress, behavioral abnormalities, or fear.

Bladder storage dysfunction

Urinary or urethral incontinence is also caused by bladder storage dysfunction conditions. Any conditions that are associated with bladder storage dysfunction cause the bladder to have frequent contractions which results in small amounts of urine leakage.

Anatomic abnormalities

Anatomic abnormalities can cause urinary or urethral incontinence. The types of anatomical abnormalities that cause this disorder are congenital defects, surgeries, severe injuries, ectopic ureters, vulvar abnormalities, urethral hypoplasia, and perivulvar abnormalities.

Bladder tumors

Bladder tumors can cause urinary or urethral incontinence. The tumor puts pressure on and compresses the bladder from the outside. When it comes to bladder tumors the urinary or urethral incontinence will get worse if the tumor continues to grow.

Urethral disorders

One of the number one and most common causes of urinary or urethral incontinence is urethral disorders. The reason why urethral disorders cause urinary or urethral incontinence is because the muscles get weak and fail to tightly contract.

When the muscles do not tightly contract urinary leakage will automatically occur. The urinary urethral disorders that most commonly cause incontinence are urinary tract infection, and hormone-responsive urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence also occurs in male dogs who suffer from prostate disease and in female dogs who suffer from vestibulovaginal.

The diagnosing of urinary incontinence in dogs

It is diagnosed by urine tests, blood tests, the dog’s signs and symptoms, and the dogs at medical history. Veterinarians also utilize the latest technology in the diagnosing of urinary or urethral incontinence as well.

The vet will want to get a view of the inner bladder and this is accomplished by the use of X-rays and ultrasonography. The x-rays and ultrasonography allow checking the bladder for any stones or obstructions that could be affecting urine flow.

If a dog is experiencing urinary retention they may relieve the retention by being catheterized.

Another test that is utilized by veterinarians in the diagnosing of urinary or urethral incontinence is a cystoscopy. A cystoscopy allows a view inside of the urethra and bladder.  And with this, see if there are any abnormalities.

Another thing that can be done with cystoscopy is a specialized test that measures the pressure inside of the bladder. If the urinary or urethral incontinent is suspected to be caused by a neurological disorder then neurological tests will be performed.

The neurological test includes an anal and tail tone examination, spinal reflex examination, and a perineal sensation examination.

How to treat urinary or urethral incontinence

The treatment depends on the cause and type of urinary incontinence that the dog is experiencing.

The most common way that any form of urinary incontinence is treated by veterinarians is with medication such as imipramine and diethylstilbestrol. Imipramine increases the urethral sphincter tone and diethylstilbestrol is a hormone replacement medication.

When dogs are given these medications combined 70 percent of them respond great to the medication therapy.

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