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Causes Of Incontinence

Causes of Incontinence

There can be several causes of incontinence in dogs.

If you suspect that your dog may not have control over bladder, your vet will want to discover the cause to determine the proper treatment.

Causes of Canine Incontinence

  • Excessive water consumption
  • Urinary tract or bladder infection
  • Spinal cord disease
  • Weak bladder sphincter (common in female dogs)

Excessive Water Drinking in Dogs

Some dogs will drink so much water that their bladders literally overflow. Your vet may want to rule out the following which can cause your dog to suck down water:

  • Bladder Infection (see below)
  • Cushing's Syndrome
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Diabetes Insipidus
  • Kidney Failure

A blood panel and urine culture can rule out the vast majority of causes.

Dog Bladder Infection

A urinalysis or urine culture can rule out a UTI or bladder infection. The urinalysis may show infection fighting white blood cells or bacteria. A urine culture will confirm the infection and identify the organism.

Bladder Incontinence in Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal damage, especially in the lower lumbar area can also cause urinary incontinence in dogs. Spinal surgery may be recommended to decompress pressure that is interfering with the nerves for urination control.

Weak Bladder

Female dog incontinence is commonly caused by a lack of estrogen from spaying or age. The bladder and urethra contain estrogen receptors. This hormone helps maintain strength and flexibility of these tissues. A weak bladder can result from not having enough estrogen.

Other Causes of Incontinence

One of the more unusual incontinence causes of canine urinary incontinence is an ectopic ureter. The ureter transporting urine from the kidney connects to the vagina or rectum, instead of connecting to the urinary bladder, so urine is not stored. This condition can be solved with bladder incontinence surgery and is typically seen in a puppy that leaks urine and just cannot be house-broken.