Female Incontinence in Dogs

Female incontinence is the uncontrollable release of urine and may occur in dogs that have been spayed or may be indicative of a health problem in the urinary tract. Female incontinence occurs after the age of 3 and may be managed through medication.

Causes of Female Urinary Incontinence

The urinary incontinence in females may be caused by a lack of estrogen. The estrogen is a hormone that has several tasks in the dog's body and also controls the contraction and relaxation of the muscles at the bottom of the urinary bladder. If the hormone is lacking, the dog will not have control over her urinary bladder.

Spayed dogs may experience incontinence. Older female dogs will also suffer from incontinence, as the estrogen is secreted in reduced amounts.

Urinary incontinence may also be caused by sleeping or licking of the genitals, but in this case, only a few drops of urine will be released.

Other possible causes of urinary incontinence in females include polyps or tumors located in the urinary tract (bladder, urethra) or anatomical defects of the bladder muscles.

Occurrence of Female Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence may occur in spayed females; if the dog is not spayed, the incontinence may occur typically between the age of 3 and 5. Females are more often affected by incontinence than male dogs and in females the condition occurs much earlier in life.

Diagnosing Female Incontinence

The vet may diagnose the female incontinence by performing a few x-rays and ultrasounds and by ruling out other possible diseases.

A dog with incontinence may also suffer from secondary bacterial infections which will be signaled by increased thirst, frequent urination and pain when urinating.

Female Incontinence Treatment

The treatment must target the problem causing the incontinence. If the vet doesn't find any tumors or polyps or anatomical abnormalities in the urinary tract, the incontinence is caused by the lack of estrogen. The vet will recommend replacing the estrogen with diethylstilbestrol. Diethylstilbestrol will have similar effects on the dog's bladder as estrogen. Initially, the diethylstilbestrol treatment must be more aggressive, so the vet may recommend a daily administration; after a few weeks of treatment, the vet may recommend a switch to a weekly dose only. However, the dog must be monitored and if she starts urinating in inappropriate places, the dose of diethylstilbestrol should be increased.

Another non hormonal medication that may be administered to dogs with incontinence is Phenylpropanolamine (PPA).

Absorbent pads or dog diapers may also be used, but they may be uncomfortable for the pet.

If the dog's incontinence is caused by tumors or polyps located on the bladder, these should be biopsied and if possible, they should be surgically removed.

If the dog has secondary bacterial infections in the urinary tract area, she should get antibiotic treatment.

Urine may cause rashes on the dog's skin, so she may receive a few topical ointments that contain steroids to reduce the irritation.