Canine Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is the involuntary passing of urine. This can range in
severity from occasional small urine leaks to inadvertent voiding of a large    
puddle of urine.

There are many causes of urinary incontinence.  These include,

  • Hormone responsive incontinence
  • Urinary tract infection or stones
  • Spinal injury or degeneration
  • Prostate disorders
  • Presence of a disease that causes excessive water consumption,
    such as diabetes, kidney disease, hyperadrenocorticism
  • Congenital abnormalities (a problem the dog was born with)

Symptoms may include dripping urine, smelly and discoloured hair around the genital region, and wet patches where the pet sleeps.

The most common cause of urinary incontinence in female dogs is called Hormone responsive incontinence (also known asUrethral Sphincter Mechanism Incompetence).  It is more commonly seen in mid to large breed, spayed female dogs, but can be seen in male dogs as well.  It is caused by a deficiency of oestrogen in females and testosterone in males. Both these hormones are important in maintaining muscle tone of the urethral sphincter.  Affected dogs will urinate normally when out and about, but will dribble urine when relaxed or asleep.  A urine sample is generally required to rule out a bacterial infection, or other cause of incontinence.