Neurogenic Bladder in Dogs

A neurogenic bladder in dogs stems from a dysfunction within the central nervous system, causing incontinence and uncontrolled voiding. While this may not put the life of the dog in jeopardy, it is certainly a medical condition that needs to be addressed. In order for dog owners to recognize that there is a problem, they need to be aware of the symptoms of a neurogenic bladder in dogs.

Neurogenic Bladder Explained

The bladder holds and expels urine. This is done in a very controlled manner by the central nervous system, which allows the process to happen naturally and smoothly. When there is a problem with the central nervous system that affects the nerves supporting the function of the bladder, it is known as a neurogenic bladder.

Because a neurogenic bladder in dogs causes uncontrollable, and sometimes inappropriate, urination, it is important to recognize the difference between a medical condition and a behavioral problem. Urinary incontinence is commonly mistaken for behavioral problems, and so it is important to recognize that inappropriate urination is not always the product of a behavioral disorder.

Risk Factors Causing a Neurogenic Bladder in Dogs

At this point in time, veterinary science has not been able to determine whether or not any genetic predisposition exists which would point to an elevated risk of developing a neurogenic bladder. Furthermore, it is not known if the condition is more common in males or females. What is known is that all dogs can develop the condition, and dog owners need to be cognizant of the associated signs.

Signs and Symptoms of a Neurogenic Bladder

The signs and symptoms of a neurogenic bladder in dogs may not be completely apparent at first. In the beginning, it may seem as if the dog simply wasn’t able to hold its urination a time or two. When this becomes a more frequent issue, however, it should cause dog owners to wonder if a medical condition is causing these episodes to happen.

Any of these symptoms may be indicative of a neurogenic bladder in dogs:

  • Inability to wait to urinate outside
  • Unusually urinating in the house
  • Constant dribbles of urine when playing or sleeping

It is also worth mentioning that the skin around the genitals can become inflamed and irritated because of constant contact with urinary chemicals. This continued contact causes a breeding ground for infection.

Diagnosis and Identification of a Neurogenic Bladder

The veterinarian will use a few different diagnostic testing measures to determine if a neurogenic bladder is present. This is important because many other health conditions could cause the same symptoms, so the exact reason for the symptoms must be identified.

Typically, a blood test and urinalysis are the first tests to be performed. The urinalysis will let the veterinarian know if there is any infection present in the urine which would suggest a urinary tract infection. The blood test will assess the overall health status of the dog and help to determine if any underlying health conditions are present.

If nothing develops on the blood test or urinalysis, a series of nerve function tests may be performed. This will help to identify any dysfunction occurring within the nervous system that might cause the urinary problems.