Why does my female dog wet the bed in her sleep?

Why does my dog wet the bed in her sleep?

If you have ever noticed your dog wet the bed in her sleep it is extremely important to get him to a vet as soon as possible in order to determine the underlying issue.

Female dogs can experience a syndrome called hormone-responsive urinary incontinence.

Hormone-responsive urinary incontinence typically manifests as urine dribbling, which can mean a dog peeing on the bed.

When thinking of why your female dog wets the bed in her sleep? A common misconception among dog owners is that when their dog wets the bed while sleeping, it’s usually a dog that has not been completely house-broken or trained.

In reality, when you see a dog wet the bed, it is almost always a physical problem or medical disorder rather than a potty training problem.

While a weak bladder by itself is not deadly, when paired with something like diabetes or kidney disease, it can result in death if left unaddressed. So for the avoidance of doubt, if your dog starts showing signs of urinary incontinence, skip searching for new dog training courses and book a quick visit to your vet to check if there are any underlying medical issues to be worried about.

Such a medical issue can include but are not restricted to:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Neuter or spay
  • Spinal cord disease 
  • Diabetes 
  • Kidney disease

The one exception is dogs that are closed into a crate to sleep who wake up needing to urinate and cannot get away from the resulting puddle.

Female dog leaking urine

The commonest condition that causes incontinence in dogs is called ‘spay incontinence’.

It is aptly named because it makes female dogs leak urine after spaying. The older female dogs and the length of time since she was spayed, determine how much at risk she is of having spay incontinence.

It may start with you noticing a little wet spot. Then you notice a trickle or that your dog leaves an odourless wet spot. Shortly afterwards, you notice your dog is can’t hold urine overnight and leaves a wet bed after a nap. Unless you have one of the better waterproof beds on the market.

Waterproof Dog Beds

Waterproof dog beds that can be spot treated as the Outer covering is made of durable Oxford fabric with added coating to make the bed waterproof. Resistant to abrasion and chemical agents,

Leaking urine during rest or sleep is not your dog’s fault. There is value in spaying your female dog, but giving up their ovaries means the sphincter muscle in the bladder can be left just weak enough to relax and release urine.

Removing the ovaries during Spay surgery also result in decreased oestrogen levels. Leading to your female dog dribbling urine when relaxed. It may also happen any time they drift off. The result is a telltale wet spot on their bed. 

Some female dogs also have a congenital condition where the bladder is tipped the opposite way to normal. As this condition leaves female dogs at a much higher risk of urinary tract infections, a vet is usually best placed to diagnose and treat your dog.

Hormone-responsive urinary incontinence in female dogs

Once you realise that your female dogs have issues controlling her bladder while asleep, it is important you begin monitoring any other unusual urinary habits.

Fortunately, hormone-responsive urinary incontinence in female dogs can be treated with an effective and relatively safe medication called Phenylpropanolamine (PPA).

Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) is the initial treatment of choice to resolve urinary incontinence in female dogs.

Some dogs require daily treatment with medicine. Others need only intermittent treatment. You will have to consult your veterinarian and experiment with the medication to identify the best course of action.

Virtually all affected dogs have some improvement incontinence after treatment with Phenylpropanolamine (PPA). Often, the largest dose is prescribed for the night to control incontinence while the dog is sleeping.

Speaking to your veterinary doctor should be your first port of call, and then if she gets a clean bill of health, then consider alternative options.

Other causes of sudden urinary incontinence

There are a number of other reasons for urine leakage that your vet will consider before reaching the diagnosis of involuntary urinary incontinence including: 

  • Overflow incontinence – This is where the bladder is so full that the normal stop valve mechanisms cannot prevent leakage.
  • Urge incontinence – Here your vet will consider if urinary tract infection/irritation, inflammation of the bladder, prostate or vagina, and masses (growths) are stimulating the increased frequency of urination. In some instances, this can be confused with involuntary urinary incontinence.
  • Increased water intake (polydipsia) will usually be related to increased urination and this can appear to be similar to incontinence. Conditions that result in increased thirst will need to be ruled out during the investigation of incontinence.

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.

 

How Urinary Infection in Dogs is Treated

dog incontinence
A urinary infection (UTI) is able to take hold when your dog’s urinary system is either out of balance or there is a problem with a specific part within the dog’s system including Urethra, Kidneys, Bladder or the Ureter. Most infections are either caused by bacteria or in a small number of cases, fungus.Dog's Urinary infection

Urinary Incontinence in Puppies and Younger Dogs

Canine Ectopic Ureters (EU) is the most common cause of urinary incontinence in dogs that are younger. It is an inherited problem where the connection between the ureters and the bladder (the tube that leads from the Kidneys), is not formed correctly leading to a urinary infection. It is usually seen in females and is rare in males.This condition is diagnosed by injecting dye into the urethra (leads from the bladder to outside the body) and then using x-rays to analyze the health of the area. Ultrasound and possibly endoscopy may be used as well.Treatment is to use surgery to correct the deformity. The rate of success is between 50 % – 75%. A new less invasive procedure uses a laser that is inserted through the urethra. It has the same rate of success, although the procedure is somewhat new.USMI: As mentioned, this is the most common cause of urinary incontinence in dogs. To treat this condition your veterinarian will first try using medications to help your dog strengthen the sphincter muscles. Treatment is effective in most dogs with minor side effects. Therapy will be with oestrogen or newer types of drugs. You can also help your dog achieve some temporary relief with a new natural homoeopathic remedy that was just developed. It is called PetAlive Better-Bladder Control and it is made to temporarily relieve incontinence and strengthen the bladder. If these approaches do not work, then surgery will be required.Bladder Urine Storage Issues: This condition might look like USMI, but be actually due to stones (see below, also called urolithiasis), paralysis or abnormal cell growth (neoplasia) in the bladder or urethra. Treatment for these conditions may require surgery to remove obstructions or tumours plus medications made for the specific condition.

Canine Infection and Canine Bladder Stones – Treatment Approach for Urinary Incontinence in Dogs

Fungal Infection: In rare cases, a fungus will be the cause of your dog’s problem, usually in the lower urinary tract. The fungus is called Candida spp. Unlike bacteria which enters from outside the body, the fungus usually comes from the kidneys into the urinary system.Fungal infections are usually caused by some other condition in the body such as diabetes mellitus or if your dog is taking medications such as an antibiotic. Once the diabetes is treated or medications are stopped the fungal infection will go away. If it doesn’t, there are prescription medications that are very effective at eliminating the problem.Diagnosis of the dog urinary infection is done with a simple yeast test. Often if the underlying problem is correct such as treatment for diabetes or the end of therapy with antibiotics, the problem will resolve itself. If it doesn’t then medication can be prescribed using the drug fluconazole. Other drug choices are ketoconazole and itraconazole, although these might not be as effective. A new medication called amphotericin B is showing promise in people and may become common for canine care.A condition called overflow incontinence exists when the bladder becomes too full because there are blockages that are keeping the urine from exiting the body.Treatment for dog urinary infection lasts for 2 to 4 weeks. After treatment, your dog will be tested to make sure the infection is gone.Bacterial Infection: When bacteria enter the body from outside, it colonises in the urethra and moves up to the bladder and if left untreated the kidneys. It is possible to not show symptoms for a long time, allowing the bacteria to colonise and develop. Antibiotics are effective at fighting infection. To prevent infection and to help supplement the antibiotics, consider giving your dog some cranberry juice mixed with food (they tend to not like the flavour) and possibly a homoeopathic remedy made to strengthen the urinary system such as UTI-Free Formula for Pet Urinary Tract Infections.Urine is your dog’s first defence against infection. When the urine has the proper PH balance (base/acid mix) and urea (the primary component in urine that is created by the liver), then it works to fight off infection.Your veterinarian will diagnose the problem by taking a urine sample in the office by using a catheter. Urine collected by holding a cup under your dog may not provide a clean sample. Urinalysis, the name for the test, will show if bacteria is present and if there is a large concentration of crystals, the building blocks of bladder stones.There are several types of bacteria that can cause a problem. X-rays or ultrasound may be used if the formation of stone is suspected in the upper tract. To view the lower tract an endoscopy, a video camera that is at the end of a thin tube is used.You can help your dog avoid bacterial infections by using some home remedies. These include:Cranberry Juice chews: this type of juice has properties which improve the acid level in the urine. The juice also has properties which help to protect the bladder.Walks: Talk your dog out for 2 additional walks each day. Dogs will increase the amount they urinate and feel they need to drink just by being outside. The urine flushes the urinary tract. Increased urination will help flush bacteria from the bladder.Bladder Stones: There are two types of stones that are commonly found in dogs, struvite and oxalate. If your dog has struvite stones, your vet may be able to dissolve the stones with a change to a Prescription Diet. Medications and methods for flushing smaller stones out of the body are available. For oxalate stones and stubborn struvite stones, surgery may be required to remove the stones.

dog incontinence

Diagnosis and Examination Associated with Dog Urinary Infection

When the body is working properly, it is likely that a urinary tract infection in the dog will not take hold. Your veterinarian will examine the following areas to check to see if a malfunction in any one is a possible cause of the problem:
  • Urination
    • Flow
    • Frequency
    • Amount (all urine leaves the body at a time or only some)
  • Urinary System Itself
    • The function of the urethra
    • The surface of the urethra
    • Canine Bladder Wall
      • Bladder pressure
      • Problems with the wall
      • Bladder contractions
      • Urethra length
      • Valves
  • Urine Quality
    • Proper PH
    • Urine concentration
    • Urea concentration
    • Acid level
  • Infection-fighting Antibodies in the body
  • Kidney Function
    • Blood supply to the Kidneys

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.

Pets that have accidents

urinary tract infection in dogs
When pets have accidents, the first assumption is that it is due to a behavioural issue. That may or may not be the case.It’s important that customers are taught early on that any time there’s a change in a pet’s behaviour, contact the vet. Most pet owners create assumptions: “It is an old dog, there is nothing I could do,” or “She’s mad because we just returned from holiday.” Well, perhaps the puppy is older — but that does not mean there is nothing the pet owner can do. In terms of the pet that inappropriately urinates after the family returns home, there’s a long list of health conditions, from diabetes to bladder control problems which might be causing or contributing the issue.urinary tract infection in petsWhat appears to resonate with pet owners is if veterinarians or technicians clarify that if there is a change in behaviour for your personal pet –why now? Something should have precipitated that change. Sure, there might be a behavioral explanation, but behavior frequently changes over time, not automatically overnight. Pet owners may not have realized that you’re interested. Many pet owners simply don’t understand that their vet wishes to learn about any changes in behaviour.So, with each trip, repeat the mantra: Changes in behaviour mean a trip to the veterinarian.Many pet owners are ashamed that their pet is having accidents, and may not willingly report it. Because inappropriate elimination is a frequent reason for relinquishment (common in dogs and cats), understanding that the pet is having accidents may save a life, and obviously a pet owner. You can probably help, but you can not offer assistance to a condition you’re unaware of – if the problem is behavioural.Routinely checking for information on home training in dogs and litter box habits in cats, rather than just kittens and older pets — but instead all pets.Ultimately, you will need to figure out whether the pet is incontinent or having accidents.The explanation may be an issue of housetraining. Many owners assume that the dog is housetrained when maybe the dog truly isn’t, at least not reliably.Sometimes owners have unrealistic expectations. “But my neighbour’s 10-pound pet can hold it for 10 hours.” Maybe that dog can, or maybe the neighbour is exaggerating. It doesn’t matter.One big question: where the dog is eliminating? If the dog is eliminating by lifting a leg and/or hitting vertical surfaces, the dog might be marking (of course, reproductive status does matter, though even neutered dogs might).Looming even larger is the question of if the puppy is removing. If the dog wees immediately when folks come home, wagging a tail, even as the dog rolls over (especially when guys come home), the issue may be submissive urination. This behaviour is most common in dogs, but can occur in dogs of any age, especially when newly adopted.If the dog urinates when noone else is indoors, the dog may suffer from separation anxiety. Usually, there’ll be additional signs of separation anxiety, however, like the dog being over-solicitous to household members; behaving anxious as individuals demonstrate cues that they’re going to leave the home; maybe salivating so much from the lack of individuals there are puddles while folks arrive home; objects could be chewed on; the puppy might scratch in the door; neighbours might report whining, scratching or scratching; and the puppy might also eliminate bowel control.

Older pets

If the dog is older, canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome should be considered. As in separation anxiety, there’s typically at least another sign beside having accidents. There is a manual, frequently labelled with the acronym DISHA:Disorientation: Changes in spatial consciousness, lack of ability to navigate around familiar obstacles (like trying to walk through the incorrect side of a doorway, or becoming ‘stuck’ in smallish rooms), wandering or pacing behaviour. House soiling: Not only having accidents but does not appear to understand that the “oops.” If the dog appears to instantly realise, it’s somewhat more likely to be due to a medical condition. Activity level changes: Beyond what is normal for older dogs, important diminished exploration and reaction to things, people, sounds around the home; decreased grooming, diminished appetite; increased stress, such as restlessness, agitation, or an onset of separation distress.It is your job to “Sherlock Holmes” what is happening if your pets urinating inappropriately by deciding if the issue is behavioural. There are many ways to do this, as described in very good detail in Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats.So check for changes in your pet’s lifestyle. Is the pet more or less interactive? Is your cat drinking more water?All of the queries listed above are questions that veterinarians and technicians regularly as of pet owners, while simultaneously testing for proper medical possibilities. Replies help veterinarians to better narrow down that medical conditions appear likely. If it turns out that the pet is having accidents exclusively for behavioural reasons, possibly drug intervention could be utilised as an adjunct to behavioural modification.If the pet has to be professionally known for behavioural problems, the British veterinary association has a superb directory online.The other option is to look into additional research like Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats (4th Edition) by Pitcairn,, H., Richard D.V.M. (Author) or Understanding Canine Urinary Incontinence by Peter Holt or Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs by Rick Woodford.

Diagnosis and Management of Urinary Incontinence

urinary tract infection in dogs
Urinary incontinence is a common problem, occurring with an incidence of 10-20% of female dogs after ovariohysterectomy.Complete diagnostic evaluation of urinary incontinence involves imaging studies to rule out anatomic abnormalities and functional studies to rule out sphincter mechanism incompetence.Medical therapy with alpha adrenergic agonists is successful in approximately 70% of dogs with urinary incontinence. Current methods for surgical therapy are highly successful in the short term, but longterm success has been unsatisfactory.urinary tract infection in dogsUrinary incontinence occurs with alarming frequency in dogs, particularly in spayed females. Retrospective studies have reported that the incidence of urinary incontinence in dogs following ovariohysterectomy ranges from 13.6% to 20.1%. The significance of urinary incontinence in an indoor pet cannot be underestimated, as the problem can often lead to euthanasia due to repeated house soiling. Thus, urinary incontinence is a common problem with serious consequences; it is the responsibility of veterinarians to be familiar with its diagnosis and treatment.It is also important to differentiate the loss of voluntary control from behavioural changes or recent onset of polyuria and polydipsia. Previous response to (or lack of response to) antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs may suggest the nature of an underlying condition. It is helpful for diagnostic direction and assessment to characterize the animal’s ability to initiate a urine stream, the diameter of the stream, any interruptions of the stream, and any apparent pain.

Causes for urinary incontinence

The causes of urinary incontinence may be divided into two categories: anatomical abnormalities and functional abnormalities. The anatomical abnormality that is most often associated with urinary incontinence is ureteral ectopia. Suspicion of the ectopic ureter is highly dependent upon history and physical examination of the animal, as this problem occurs almost exclusively in female dogs and is characterised by constant dribbling of urine since birth.An early none-intrusive test can be conducted with this piece of kit.Functional abnormalities causing urinary incontinence may be congenital or acquired, but most commonly involve urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence (USMI), otherwise known as “hormone responsive incontinence”. In contrast to ureteral ectopia, USMI typically occurs in middle-aged spayed female dogs and is characterised by intermittent incontinence during recumbency and sleep. Other factors such as polyuria/polydipsia, urinary tract infections and vaginal strictures can exacerbate pre-existing incontinence but are rarely primary causes.One purportedly simple method of diagnosing USMI is by the response to treatment (typically with phenylpropanolamine). This method is not as simple as it seems, because a lack of response to treatment does not rule out USMI- up to 30% of dogs do not respond to pharmacologic therapy. In addition, many dogs require dosage adjustments and up to 4 weeks of drug therapy before a response is noted.Diagnostic evaluation of urinary incontinence is focused primarily on identifying these anatomical or functional anomalies. Anatomic abnormalities may be identified through a number of imaging techniques. Initial screening examination is typically performed by use of survey radiography or abdominal ultrasonography.Abdominal ultrasound findings consistent with ureteral ectopia include hydronephrosis or hydroureter on the affected side. In chronic cases, parenchymal and renal pelvic changes may be suggestive of pyelonephritis. Intravenous contrast urography is the classic method for identification of ectopic ureters. However, the technique is time-consuming and can be difficult to interpret.Many vets have switched to the use of computerised tomography (CT) after intravenous contrast administration. This technique is less labour intensive than performing staged radiographs, does not require removal of faeces from the colon and allows specific localisation of the entry point of ectopic ureters. Disadvantages of CT excretory urography are that it has limited availability, adds to client expense and requires general anaesthesia.A final method for definitive identification of ectopic ureters is direct visualisation via cystoscopic evaluation. This technique is considered the “gold standard” and has high sensitivity and specificity, but requires expensive equipment and a high skill level to obtain a complete examination of the urinary tract.Read more