Incontinence in your elderly dog.

urinary tract infection in dogs

Dog urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections occur in 2% to 3% of all dogs and that percentage increases if you own an elderly dog.

It is usually caused by a bacterial infection that has entered the body through the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. If the infection is able to take hold, it colonises in the urinary tract, eventually making its way to the bladder causing a bladder infection.

Infection in the urinary tract causes inflammation which reduces the size of the urethra and makes the tube narrower, making it more difficult to urinate. Since less urine passes through the body, other problems can set in such as urinary or bladder stones. The urine contains crystals which form into stones. As these crystals attach to one another forming stones, additional blockages and urination problems can occur.

The urine itself is natures way of keeping the urinary tract infection free. If your elderly dog isn’t urinating enough, or there are other problems in the body that changed the PH balance or composition of the urine, it reduces the urine’s bacteria-killing effectiveness.

Incontinence in your elderly dog.

 

Symptoms of dog bladder problems

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection in an elderly dog are usually related to problems with urination due to inflammation of the urinary tract. These include:

  • Difficulty Urinating
  • Pain when urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Urine leaking
  • Urination in unacceptable places
  • Urine odour
  • Licking of the area where your dog urinates

Causes Of Dog Urinary Incontinence

There are several different reasons for why old dogs have these problems, including:

Hormonal Changes in Female Dogs

Old dog incontinence can be the result of a hormone imbalance.

Most common are low levels of estrogen in female dogs, especially those who have been spayed.

Scientists are still not sure whether or not early-spaying (between 6 weeks and 6 months old) increases the chances of this type of incontinence

Older male dogs can suffer from testosterone-related incontinence too, whether they’ve been neutered or not.

Some breeds seem to be at a higher risk of this happening, they include spaniels (of different types), Old English Sheepdogs, Doberman Pinschers and Boxers.

Spinal Or Neurological Problems

If your old dog has vertebrae, disc or spinal issues, or neurological problems, then they can cause her to lose control of her bladder.

This is because the nerve signals from her brain to her bladder are not working properly, or aren’t getting through at all.

You’re more likely to see this if your dog is long-bodied (like the Dachshund), or short-legged (like the Corgi), or a combination of both (like the Basset Hound).

However, dogs that have arthritis and other joint problems and injuries need a walkabout harness that allows your pet lead a happier, healthier and cleaner life

Disease Or Illness

There are a few different conditions that can cause your old dog to start peeing more often, or to lose control of her bladder.

The most common ones include diabetes (usually results in excessive thirst, followed by a predictably excessive amount of urination). It also includes kidney or liver disease, polyps or cancerous growths in the urinary tract, or prostate, bladder stones.

Infection

A urinary tract (UTI) or bladder infection can cause your elderly dog to lose control of her bladder because the need to pee is so strong. It usually also makes her need to pee much more often than normal and leave you looking for the right products to buy.

But incontinence which is being triggered by something else can also cause a UTI. It’s sort of a ‘the-chicken-and-the-egg’ situation.

Bladder infections are more often seen in female dogs than in males and affect all ages.

Usually causes some discomfort or even pain for your dog because of the urine burns and itches. Sometimes she’ll strain really hard, but only be able to pass only a drop or two of pee-pee.

Elderly Dog Syndrome

This is another name for ‘Canine Dysfunction Syndrome’, and it can affect senior dogs in a wide variety of different ways.

Then there are endocrine disorders such as Cushing’s Disease and Addison’s Disease.

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (basically this is the dog equivalent of human Alzheimer) can lead to old dog incontinence problems too.

That’s because dogs with CCD can ‘forget’ the house training habits they’ve known since they were puppies.

Sometimes they’ll have periods when they’re kind of ‘spacey’ and not really at the moment… and that can lead to random urination episodes.

Psychological or emotional issues like extreme stress or anxiety can also trigger old dog incontinence, although usually on a more temporary basis.

Older dogs can get stressed and anxious quite quickly, and even what might seem like a small change to you can upset your dog more than you would expect.

And last, but not least, the ageing process itself often means that muscles, nerves and organs don’t work as well as they used to.

Lack of muscle-tone or weak nerve impulses can cause a loosening of the bladder sphincter (the muscle at the ‘neck’ of the bladder, which holds it closed) and cause your dog to unintentionally dribble urine.

 

Urinary: Female Dog Incontinence

Incontinence

Incontinence in female dogs is a phrase used to refer to involuntary urination, night or day. The issue can have many causes which influence the body’s ability to shut off the flow of urine, or when the bladder overflows. These may include urethra muscle control issues, and issues common to all dogs including infection and stone formation.

It is a complex process where the brain transmits the sensation that the bladder is full with the knowledge to give your dog the sensation that it need to urinate by coordinating the muscles that controls urination in the brain (PMC center).

Female Dog Incontinence occurs when the urinary systems isn’t regulating the flow of urine properly.

In younger female dogs (and some males) a condition called ectopic ureters is the most common cause. This is a condition where there is a problem where the tube that leads from the kidney – the ureters – doesn’t attach correctly to the bladder.

Female dog incontinence may be inherited or triggered by spaying. After spaying the illness usually occurs 3 years after being neutered, but can occur up to ten decades.

Dog's Urinary Tract incintinence

Dog Breeds Affected by Urinary Incontinence:

While this could be a problem in all breeds, it is most often seen in:

  • English Bulldog
  • Newfoundland
  • Siberian Husky
  • Retrievers (Labrador and Golden)

Many times, the problem is diagnosed after other causes of incontinence like disease, cystitis (bladder inflammation) and canine cognitive dysfunction are ruled out.

Other causes are less common. These include thickening of the bladder wall, structural problem where the ureters ( lead from the kidneys to the bladder), enters the bladder (ectopic ureters), neoplasia (tumour or unusual cell growth) and some form of paralysis in the urinary system.

Medical direction is widely used and is suitable for nearly all affected animals. Surgical remedies are also described: operation is used for patients that are refractory to medical management or for young animals where the health effects or cost of long-term medication is of concern to the owners.

Treatment options include the use of prescription drugs and surgery. There’s also a homeopathic natural approach which may provide temporary relief as stated below.

Medications

Prescription medications include oestrogen treatment and a class of drugs called sympathomimetic agents (Phenylpropanololamine). Medications can work by helping the muscle that closes off urine in the urethra increase the amount of pressure it uses when shutting off the flow of urine. Most dogs won’t experience side effects, and if they do, they include restlessness, anxiety, aggressive behaviour and diarrhoea.

Surgery

Surgery is used if a dog does not respond well to medications or if you prefer this option. The objective of surgery is to move the bladder into a better position. There are numerous surgical techniques available which can be discussed with your vet (colposuspension, urethropexy, urethral sling suspension, and injection of collagen). There’s a high rate of success with this approach (80% increase, 50% treated).

There are natural homeopathic remedies know to ease incontinence and strengthen the bladder. 1 product that’s a fantastic source of further research is PetAlive Better-Bladder Control. It contains components such as:

Bacterial infection is the most common type of disease and is usually found in female puppies as they have a brief urethra (tube that carries urine from bladder to outside of body). If not treated the bacteria can colonise up the urethra, to the bladder, and then go from the bladder to urethra into the kidneys (pyelonephritis).

Urine is your body’s natural means of keeping a disease from forming and thus preventing female dog rash. Urea, the principal ingredient in pee, kills germs in the bladder and the whole tract. When your dog does not drink enough or if there is an obstruction, the stream of urine is not able to perform its job. Even walking your dog once every day will encourage an extra chance for your dog to urinate.

To deal with infection your vet will prescribe antibiotics. As a homeopathic addition to antibiotics or as a preventative you may try UTI-Free Formula for pet urinary tract infections. Certain organic ingredients are related to urinary support. Cranberry juice tablets may also be of help for incontinence in female dogs because it functions to keep bacteria from clinging to the walls of the bladder.

Stones tend to form when there’s a buildup of minerals which attach together in the urine.

As stones become bigger, they can start to block the flow of urine. Other symptoms may include blood on your dog’s urine and pain when urinating. In severe cases like if the ureter is obstructed (tube that leads from the kidney to bladder), your dog may vomit and act lethargic.

Diagnosis is accomplished by assessing the urine, x-rays and by feeling your dog during the trip to the vet. Ultrasound could also be beneficial. In puppies, struvite formation is related to bacterial infection.

Urate stones can be dissolved with the drug allopurinol. Your vet may also indicate a change to a low protein Diet that could help prevent these kinds of stones from forming. The other kind of stone, struvite is connected with dogs which also have a fungal infection. These kinds of stones can be dissolved by changing to a special diet such as Hill’s Prescription Diet s/d. This diet will have to be the only thing that your dog eats for a period of 3 to 6 weeks.

Other Reasons For Female Dog Incontinence

In elderly dog’s a condition known as canine cognitive dysfunction may be the cause for female dog rash. It’s a neurological condition where you dog can’t effectively control the bladder.

In young dogs, a birth defect exists that leads to rash called ectopic ureters. The ureters in puppies are what moves urine from the kidneys to the bladder. One or both may by-pass the bladder and link to some other place like the vagina or urethra. If that is true a young puppy may undergo urinary problems like dripping urine. There are several breeds where there is an above average incidence of the problem including:

Female dog incontinence due to dog ectopic ureters is diagnosed with a bladder dye research. The problem is treated with surgery to move the ureters to their proper location.