When Lucky the Dog Becomes Leaky the Dog: All about Canine Urinary Incontinence
When a lucky dog becomes a leaky dog, there's much for their pet parent to worry about, most especially, what to do about it. Here's a look at urinary incontinence and how you can help your dog.
What Urinary Incontinence May Mean In Your Dog
If your dog is stressed or afraid, they may suddenly leak urine, through no real fault of their own. This scenario is circumstantial and not normally a permanent condition unless they are normally easily frightened. Also, some dogs, regardless of age, breed, or health simply don't hold urine for as long as you might expect them to (just like humans). In cases of constant leakage that can't be attributed to behavior, though, a medical issue is most likely culpable:
- A structural defect the dog was born with
- A new growth applying pressure to the bladder, such as a polyp or inflamed tissue
- Bladder contractions, which are involuntary muscle movements
- Urinary tract infections, most often instigated by bacteria
- Hormonal complications, seen more in older females
- Stones (crystallized mineral deposits) in the bladder; in which case you'd observe blood in the dog's pee
- Any impairment of the nerves that maintain the bladder, such as through injury or a neurological disorder
If you've recently adopted a leaking dog, it's better to bring them to an animal hospital than assume it's a behavior issue. Unless you have a complete and verifiable medical history of the animal, there's really no way to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary leakage, and it's not fair to blame the dog if there's a physical condition behind the drips and drops.
How an Animal Hospital Can Figure This Out
Your dog's vet can conduct blood and urine tests, as well as possible X-rays and radiographs of the affected area. Also, if they suspect a neurological cause, they'll conduct specific exercises to determine nerve or brain-related incontinence. Depending on the procedure(s) performed and your dog's attitude, a sedative shouldn't be necessary. The vet will also ask you a lot of questions about the leaking, the dog's history, surroundings, habits, and more.
The Types of Help Your Dog May Receive
Treatment depends on the cause of the incontinence, but usually includes medication to increase sphincter tone. That should increase the animal's ability to adequately retain urine at the muscular level. Some hormone medicines can help with excess or inappropriate urination, too. The doc will also want to see your dog for follow-up relatively soon to ensure there are no side-effects from the meds.
Working together with a veterinarian, the cause can be determined and, hopefully, adequate treatment discovered. Contact local animal hospitals to learn more.