What Is Causing My Dog's Incontinence?

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionGabby (Female Rottweiler) just turned 2 last week. Lately we've noticed her peeing more frequently than usual and all in the house. She does it in her sleep, and thus wakes up with her bed soaked. She also does it when she's just lying down on the floor and we can see it drip from her backside. We've monitored her eating and drinking habits and don't notice any differences there. Any thoughts? (Alison Keegan - Maine)

Answer

Dogs can be incontinent for many different reasons, some of which are only relevant to senior dogs and will be discounted here. The most common reasons can involve the bladder, urethra, or abnormalities in the parts of the nervous system that controls bladder function. Most incontinent dogs will first be tested for a bladder infection, which if long-standing may have caused scarring of the bladder tissue and an inability for it to stretch to hold its contents. One reason which occurs most frequently in neutered females is so-called "Hormone-Responsive" incontinence, which results in urine leakage while resting. In the above cases your dog will require veterinary examination and possible treatment, which will most likely begin with a urine and blood test to investigate the possibility of a bladder infection or hormonal cause.

If a disorder of the nervous system was responsible, you would probably witness other symptoms such as muscle weakness or change in behavior. Likewise, if your dog appears unable to urinate normally between periods of incontinence you must take your dog to the vet immediately. A partial blockage of the urethra (for example with a tumor) may cause the bladder pressure to increase so much that there is constant pressure to leak around the blockage. If this was the case this is a very dangerous situation as sever blockage can quickly lead to death.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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