If your housebroken dog starts having indoor accidents, a medical problem called urinary incontinence could be responsible. All forms of urinary incontinence should be diagnosed and treated promptly. Extended exposure to urine on the skin cause secondary complications including ulcers which are very common in dogs that are immobilized or inactive.
- Estrogen-responsive Urinary Incontinence is a common problem affecting older spayed females.
- Cushing’s Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, and Chronic Kidney Failure result in the production of excessive amounts of urine which may cause indoor accidents.
- Urinary Tract Infections can cause dogs to feel the urge to urinate frequently because of bacterial irritation to the bladder wall. Other conditions that may cause urinary incontinence are kidney and bladder stones as well as polyps of the urinary bladder and cancer of the urinary tract.
- Certain medications contribute to increased urine volume. Diuretics, like Lasix, are often used to promote urination in certain types of Heart Disease, which helps prevent excess fluid from accumulating in the lungs.
- In estrogen responsive urinary incontinence the primary complaint is that urine leakage occurs unconsciously while the female dog sleeps or is resting. She leaves a “wet spot”.
- Urinary tract infections cause dogs to produce small amounts of urine more often than normal.
- Excessive urinating and drinking are hallmark signs of Diabetes, Cushings Disease and Kidney Failure. Proper diagnosis is essential to confirm the exact problem so that treatment will be effective.
SIGNS WITH STONES
- Frequent urination (often in unusual place).
- Blood in urine.
- Dribbling urine.
- Straining to urinate.
Urolithiasis is a disease caused by the presence and effects of stones (called uroliths) or crystals (called calculi) in the urinary tract. Stones interfere with and can block the flow of urine. This prevents the normal elimination of poisonous wastes like ammonia and potassium from the body. These substances are reabsorbed from the urine back into the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. Ammonia is toxic to the brain and causes dementia. It is also harmful to other organs. Excess levels of potassium are toxic to the heart and can cause Fatal Cardiac Arrest. Once the urinary blockage is cleared most dogs are fine but 50 percent of treated cases recur if preventive measures are not taken. Prevention involves Dietary Therapy, which is geared to prevent stones from reforming and is effective for most dogs.
WHAT YOUR VET CAN DO
- Diagnostics for urinary incontinence involve blood and urine tests. X-rays of the urinary tract may reveal stones.
- For estrogen-responsive urinary incontinence, oral estrogen replacement therapy given daily is very effective. Urine usually stops leaking in less than a week. Life-long estrogen supplementation is generally necessary. The ovary normally produces estrogen. Since the ovaries are removed when these dogs are spayed, the body becomes deficient in estrogen.
- Surgery is generally the only effective treatment to remove large bladder stones and reestablish normal urination. Dietary therapy may be all that is needed to resolve small stones causing minor interference with the flow of urination. These diets also help prevent the formation of new stones.
- Diuretic Herbs – parsley, corn silk, dandelion. Diuretics promote urination which can decrease the risk of stone formation. Flushing the urinary tract can help eliminate small tones, toxins and bacteria.
- Cranberry – reduces levels of calcium in the urinary tract, therefore may decrease the risk of stone formation in certain cases. Cranberry and Uva Ursi both may be beneficial with urinary tract infections.
- Vitamin B6 – 2 mg per pound once daily by mouth.
- Glycosaminoglycans – May help heal urinary bladders irritated because of infections and/or stones. This is a normal constituent of the bladder lining.
- IP-6 is Inositol hexaphosphate which is an antioxidant.
Belladonna 30c may be recommended to prevent recurrent urinary infections, especially with blood in the urine. Urtica urens 3x promotes urination and decreases the risk of stone formation. Hydrangea 3x is also useful as a stone preventive.
URINARY TRACT PROBLEMS
TIP: Many “special diets” are commercially available to prevent urine stones and crystals from recurring but analysis of urine is important, it tells you the type of crystal present so diet can be chosen accordingly. Many of these “diets” are geared to acidify urine PH which in certain cases can make the problem worse. Must also analyze type of bladder stone to see what they are made of and choose proper type of diet to prevent them (stones) from recurring.