Causes of urinary incontinence in male or female dogs

April 13, 2012

You have been bragging about the well mannered pet that has never had an accident inside the house after the house breaking training. You thought you have perfectly housebroken the dog until the pet has passed urine on the bed, on the furniture, on the carpet and even on the appliances. The entire house is reeking of the smell of the dog’s urine. What’s wrong with the dog? Is it possible that the indiscriminate urination is a cry for attention? Is it submissive urination or is it urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is the involuntary passing of urine. This problem is more common in female dogs rather than in male dogs. Urinary incontinence can occur for a variety of reasons. The decreased ability to control urine flow can be attributed to anatomical and hormonal reasons. Although not common, urinary incontinence can be due to a behavioral problem too.

Urinary incontinence is most common in aging dogs. Dogs are dubbed as man’s best friends because of the loyal, affectionate and protective nature that makes these animals earn a place in our hearts. Older dogs may no longer be active and playful, may no longer have the heart to stand guard but the human family will still care for the pet. Dogs that survive old age would spend more of their times indoors. Aging dogs are expected to have accidents inside the house because of mental disorders. Moreover, the muscles that hold the urine inside the bladder and control the flow of urine are weakened in older dogs so that involuntary passing of urine will occur. The bladder sphincters function not unlike a tap that keeps the urine inside the bladder and allows the urine to flow whenever the urge to urinate is felt. When the bladder sphincter is weakened, the dog would pass urine even if it does not want to. Weak bladder sphincter is most common in obese female dogs.

An infection of the bladder will result to a strong urge to urinate so that the housebroken dog may be unable to hold the urine until the bathroom is reached. Involuntary passing of urine caused by urinary tract infection is not urinary incontinence in the true sense of the word. The E. coli bacteria that has accessed the bladder through the urethra is the reason for the urge to urinate. Urinalysis or urine culture is necessary to confirm the infection and to identify the causing organism. After a course of antibiotic, an improvement on the incontinence will be noticed.

Urinary incontinence can be caused by a scarred bladder or the partial blocking of the urethra. Scarring will prevent the bladder from stretching to accommodate the normal amount of urine. The urethra can be partially blocked with a tumor or a stone so that the bladder is not fully emptied. Bladder that is filled with urine will force the urine to leak. The inability to control urination may have started after the dog was neutered or spayed. Urinary incontinence is blamed on the reduction of estrogen for female dogs and testosterone for male dogs. A dog owner may be heard complaining about the pet’s inability to grasp housebreaking rules. The dog’s urinary incontinence can be linked to a birth defect. An ectopic ureter is one of the reasons for the dog’s inability to control urination. From the kidney, the ureter should be connected to the urinary bladder but a dog with a birth defect will have a ureter that is directly connected either to the rectum or to the vagina so that urine that cannot be stored in the bladder would leak.

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