Urinary incontinence means that the pet cannot control his ability to urinate. Typically, urinary incontinence causes a "leaky bladder." You might often find "wet spots" under the pet where he sleeps, and see dribbling urine as the pet moves around. Urinary incontinence must be differentiated from the behavioral problem of "inappropriate urination." Urinary incontinence can be seen in young puppies and kittens, but usually in middle-aged to older pets. It is much more common in female dogs than in males.
The exact cause is unknown, although incontinence often responds to sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone) supplementation following spaying and neutering. Other hormons play a factor in maintaining the tone of the urethra and preventing leakage of the urine, since urinary incontinence is often seen in hypothyroidism. In addition to hormonal imbalances, numerous other factors have been suggested: spinal trauma, anatomical changes, inherited defects, infections, urinary stones, advanced Lyme disease, and diabetes In these cases, treatment is geared toward curing or managing the primary disease.
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Diagnosis of the urinary incontinence involves tests of the urine and urinary tract. Conventional therapy uses estrogen and testosterone, but because of the side effects these hormones are not usually the first choice. Estrogens used for therapeutic purposes may cause bone marrow toxicity resulting in a long recovery period and even death.1 Using phenylpropanolamine (PPA) is believed to be a safer first-choice alternative that is appropriate for long-term therapy. Phenylpropanolamine is effective in maintaining continence in 88.9% of the affected female dogs, with single daily administration of PPA being more effective, compared with 2 to 3 administrations daily.2 In case of urinary stones, surgery is the only effective treatment to remove large bladder stones and allow normal urination.
Dietary therapy can help dissolve small stones that cause minor interference with urine flow. Herbal therapy may also play a positive role in controlling continence. Diuretic herbs (parsley, cornsilk, dandelion) help promote urination and prevent urolithiasis Give your pet large quantities of water with diuretic herbs, take him for frequent walks, give him active physical exercise and a good walk just before bedtime, and be patient. If you notice mild to moderate dermatitis in the genital and hind leg regions, which occurs as a result of urine scalding in these areas, apply Calendula ointment to protect and sooth the irritated skin. Withholding water does not cure urinary incontinence!
- Hasan B. Sontas, Banu Dokuzeylu, Ozge Turna, and Hayri Ekici. Estrogen-induced myelotoxicity in dogs
- Stephanie Claeys, Frederico Rustichelli, Stephanie Noel, and Annick Hamaide. Clinical evaluation of a single daily dose of phenylpropanolamine in the treatment of urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence in the bitch