Incontinence may seem like an insurmountable obstacle to many owners who find their dog is struggling with this problem, but it is actually quite simple to treat and manage. Most cases don't require immediate intervention.
Canine incontinence is basically bladder weakness. It is categorized by urine leaking uncontrollably from the bladder. A dog that is not afflicted is easily able to control urine leakage through the use of muscular tissue at the base of the bladder. The function of this tissue is strengthened by estrogen in females and testosterone in males. When the levels of these hormones are compromised, incontinence may occur. One common theory regarding the condition is that when females are spayed too young, the lack of estrogen in the body adversely affects the ability to control the valve at the opening of the bladder.
Other causes may include congenital anatomical defects, damage to the nerves leading to the bladder and tumors on the bladder, although these causes are less common.
Fortunately incontinence can be treated through the use of certain drugs. The following steps outline the procedures for treating this illness:
- Recognize the problem. The first step in diagnosing and treating any medical problem is to be aware of the symptoms associated with the condition. The obvious recognizable symptom in this case is urine leaking from the body on a regular basis. Other symptoms may include frequently licking the vulva in females and the penile opening in males.
- Consult with a qualified veterinarian. If urinary incontinence is suspected, the owner should take the dog to see a veterinarian to confirm is there's a problem and to diagnose the cause to devise a treatment strategy.
- Treat the source of the problem. In most cases, a hormone imbalance or deficiency is the source of the problem. Hormone deficiencies are typically treated through the use of drugs. Female and male canine urinary incontinence treatments vary. Diethylstilbestrol is one drug that is commonly used to elevate estrogen levels in females who have low levels of estrogen. Imipramine and pseudoephedrine are two drugs that have been reported to produce a urinary retention effect in treating other conditions, leading some to believe these drugs will be useful in treating incontinence. But as of now, they are still less commonly used.
- Understand the diagnosis and treatment strategy. Owners who have dogs suffering from incontinence should understand the treatment strategies designed by their veterinarians. In most cases, these strategies will be long-term plans that involve administering drugs for the remainder of the dog's life. When dealing with many dog illnesses, it's important to know how to administer medicine.
Another aspect of treating canine incontinence is understanding how to manage the condition in the event that treatment options do not fully correct the problem. Managing incontinence will likely include the use of specially designed pants that contain an absorbent pad. These pants are readily available in retail locations and are commonly used for dogs that are in season and that may leak menstrual fluid.