Urinary incontinence (urine leakage) in spayed female dogs is a fairly common problem as dogs age. The dog is unaware that urine is leaking. Most of the time this is the only problem, sometimes a urinary tract infection is seen with incontinence.
While there are a variety of potential causes for urine leakage, incontinence in middle-aged or senior spayed female dogs is usually due to the lack of estrogen, otherwise known as hormonal incontinence.
Traditionally, drugs containing phenylpropanolamine (PPA) have been used to increase the smooth muscle tone of the bladder and urethra to help control the flow of urine. This class of drugs is not hormone-based. PPA was used in human medications for colds and for appetite suppression (weight loss), but has been removed from the human OTC market.
New Drug Approved for Urinary Incontinence
On July 27, 2011 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first hormone-based incontinence drug for dogs, called Incurin. This drug is a natural estrogen hormone, and is labeled only for hormone-responsive incontinence in female dogs.
From the FDA:
"Estrogens increase the resting muscle tone of the urethra in females and can be used to treat female dogs with urinary incontinence due to estrogen depletion.
In a placebo-controlled field study of 226 spayed female dogs, a greater percentage of dogs treated with Incurin were improved (fewer or no incontinence episodes) compared to dogs treated with placebo. Incurin was shown to be effective for the control of estrogen-responsive urinary incontinence in spayed female dogs 1 year of age and older.
The most common side effects associated with Incurin treatment included a loss of appetite, vomiting, excessive water drinking and swollen vulva." Full press release
If Your Dog Has Problems with Urinary Incontinence
If your spayed female dog has problems with urine leakage (e.g. a pool of urine left on the bed after sleeping), the first step is to see your vet for a urinalysis and bloodvwork to rule out a urinary tract infection, or other diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease.
If hormonal incontinence is diagnosed, your veterinarian can help determine the best treatment to help manage this condition for your dog.
- My senior dog is drinking lots of water and urinating more
- What are the signs seen with a urinary tract infection?
- Urinary Tract Infections In Dogs and Cats
- Senior dog health - when it is time to see the vet
Photo: Old Dog © BobMacInnes on Flickr