Urinary incontinence is a relatively common occurrence in desexed female dogs, with reports of up to 10% of these dogs being affected. Symptoms of urinary incontinence tend to be a bad smell (it may smell a bit “fishy” due to the bacteria that can grow on the urine soaked fur), leaving puddles where they have been sleeping, and frequent urinary tract infections.
Urinary incontinence is normally quite simple to treat. We have two main classes of medication to help control the problem. One of these drugs helps simulate the muscle around the bladder neck, making it more effective at keeping the urine in. The other class of drug is a hormone replacement medication, which helps thicken the lining of the urethra (the tube connecting the bladder to the outside world) as well as helping strengthen the muscle around the bladder neck. The decision as to which medication is best for your pet will be made by looking at the benefits of each of these medications in each case. In some cases we find both medications are needed in combination to effectively control the problem.
For cases which fail to respond to medication, there is a surgical procedure available called Colposuspension, where the cervix is sutured around the urethra. This will lead to improved control in around 75% of cases (50% of cases will no longer require any medication at all).
If you are concerned that your dog may be incontinent, or feel their incontinence is not being fully controlled, please talk to one of our vets. As with most medical problems, early intervention can help prevent additional problems such as urinary tract infections and dermatitis of the skin around the back end.