Treating Urinary Incontinence in Dogs
Have you been living with a dog that has urinary incontinence?
If so, the first thing you’ll need to do before you take steps to actually treat the problem is to find out what’s causing it in the first place. To learn about some of the potential causes of incontinence in dogs, check out our previous blog. The right treatment method will depend on what’s causing the incontinence because treatments vary drastically depending on the cause of the incontinence, but there are a few common treatment options to be aware of.
Common Treatment Options for Urinary Incontinence in Dogs
As we mentioned, in order to select the appropriate treatment option for your dog, you’ll first need to take them to the veterinarian in order to determine what’s causing the incontinence. However, here are the most common treatment options:
If your dog is obese, helping them lose weight is the first step toward successfully treating their incontinence. Obesity increases your dog’s risk for becoming incontinent in many different ways. First, obesity is a leading risk factor for diseases that can cause incontinence, like diabetes, kidney stones and kidney failure. Second, obesity upsets the delicate hormonal balance that tells your dog when their bladder is full. Third, there’s a strong connection between obesity and different infections that lead to incontinence, like bladder and urinary tract infections.
MedicationsIn some cases, medication may be necessary in order to treat your dog. There are many different kinds of medications available, and the cause of your dog’s urinary incontinence will help you determine which one is the right treatment option for your dog.
- Antibiotics: If your dog’s incontinence is caused by a bladder infection or a urinary tract infection, you’ll likely need to get them on the appropriate antibiotic to help them find relief.
- Non-hormonal Medications: Some non-hormonal medications, like phenylpropanolamine, help to prevent incontinence by strengthening the urethral sphincter and smoothing the muscle tone of the bladder to help your dog better control the flow of urine.
- Hormonal Medications: In our previous blog, we talked about how a weak bladder sphincter can often be the result of lower-than-normal levels of estrogen. In some cases, estrogen therapy is used to treat a weak bladder sphincter.
Even if you think that you may know what the appropriate medication is for your dog, never give your dog any medication without first consulting your veterinarian.
SurgeriesWhile most cases of urinary incontinence can be treated with lifestyle changes or medications, other times, surgery may be required. Here are a couple of the common surgeries used to treat urinary incontinence:
- Colposuspension: In this surgical procedure for female dogs, the bladder neck is repositioned, ensuring that pressure from the wall muscles impacts both the urethra and the bladder. This way, added pressure on the bladder is counteracted with increased resistance in the urethra. This allows the dog to control her bladder more effectively.
- Cystopexy: This is a relatively simple procedure for dogs that involves securing the bladder permanently in a more ideal direction. When the bladder is fixed to the abdominal cavity, the urethra is exposed to intra-abdominal pressure, which helps to tone the urethral sphincter, allowing for more control over the bladder.
- Deferentopexy: Defertopexy is much like cystopexy, except that, when it’s performed in male dogs, the deferent ducts are fixed rather than the bladder. Though this procedure can be performed easily in dogs that are neutered, dogs that are still intact will need to be fixed before it can be performed.
- Urethropexy: The goal of urethropexy is to increase the tone of the urethral muscles in female dogs through the use of sutures, which stretch out the urinary tract, increasing the force necessary for the dog to urinate. This surgery may be performed on its own, but it’s sometimes combined with colposuspension.