Ectopic Ureters Causing Urinary Incontinence in Dogs
When Sam noticed that his young and energetic dog, Daisy, had begun leaving little puddles of urine around the house, he knew something wasn’t quite right. As a responsible pet owner, Sam took Daisy to the vet for a thorough examination, only to discover that she was suffering from urinary incontinence caused by ectopic ureters.
Incontinence in dogs is when urine leaks from the bladder through the urethra into the perineum (the area between the anus and genitals). This happens when there is too much pressure inside the bladder or if the muscles around the opening of the bladder relax.
It can happen at any age but most often occurs after middle age. The symptoms include frequent accidents, dribbling, wetting the bed, and passing small amounts of urine.
There are two types of urinary incontinence: Ectopic and functional. Ectopic incontinence happens when there is damage to the nerves that control urination. This type of incontinence usually results from injury during birth. Functional incontinence occurs when the muscles controlling urination become weak due to age or disease.
Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Dogs
One common cause of canine incontinence is the ectopic ureter. An ectopic ureter is an abnormal connection between one or both kidneys and the bladder. Usually, the ureter connects the kidney with the bladder. When this connection isn’t formed correctly, urine flows into the bladder from another body part instead of through the regular route.
In dogs, it usually happens because the ureter doesn’t connect properly with the bladder during development. Sometimes, the ureter will usually form but not connect correctly to the bladder. The most common symptom of this problem is frequent urination. Other clinical signs include blood in the urine, pain during urination, and difficulty passing urine.
Incontinence due to ectopic ureters is more common in large breeds such as Great Danes, Siberian Huskies, Golden Retrievers, and Mastiffs. However, these breeds are also prone to developing other urinary tract problems, so they may have other health issues contributing to their urinary incontinence.
Some cases of incontinence are severe and require immediate veterinary care, but most cases of canine incontinence can be treated successfully. Nevertheless, if you notice that your dog has problems with urinary incontinence, it’s essential to seek veterinary help as soon as possible.
Treatment for Ectopic Incontinence
If your dog suffers from ectopic incontinence, he may be able to live comfortably with medication, surgery, or behavioral therapy. However, if his symptoms worsen over time, he may need additional treatment options. Unfortunately, according to studies, approximately 50% of dogs with an ectopic ureter will not experience incontinence after proper treatment.
- Medications are often prescribed to reduce the frequency of urination and prevent accidents. Medication can take several forms, including pills, liquids, injections, and suppositories.
- Behavioral therapy involves teaching your dog to control urges to urinate or defecate. This therapy includes positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewarding your dog when they successfully resist the urge to urinate or poop.
- Surgical correction is another option. This is to surgically implant a small device called a stent inside the damaged area of the urinary bladder. Another option is to inject a substance called bulking agent directly into the bladder wall. Both treatments work well, but each comes with its own set of risks and benefits.
- Medical therapy is often tried first before surgery. We usually consider PPA (progesterone) first, followed by estradiol, and then surgical options, such as hysterectomy or ovariohysterectomy. Surgical therapies are rarely used. We don’t use them unless there is no alternative treatment option.
- Bladder training is yet another treatment for urinary incontinence in dogs and cats. Bladder training involves gradually increasing the water your pet drinks daily until they no longer need to urinate frequently.
- Dog diapers are valuable tools to keep your dog clean. They’re designed to absorb liquid waste and protect your home from odor. If you notice your dog sitting in urine for too long, it could lead to urinary tract infections. Regular exercise helps prevent urinary bladder problems.
- Urine scalding can happen if your dog sits in their urine too long. This can cause skin irritation and even burns. You’ll want to take steps to avoid this problem. Make sure your dog gets plenty of water and walks regularly.
Your dog needs regular exercise to maintain a healthy bladder. Exercise stimulates the pelvic floor muscles, helping to keep your dog’s bladder strong.
Prognosis of Urinary Incontinence in Dogs
Dogs suffering from urinary incontinence may be able to live everyday lives, provided they receive proper treatment. However, many owners are unaware of the condition and its symptoms. This means that some dogs suffer needlessly because they’re not receiving the care they deserve.
If you’ve ever had a dog who suffered from incontinence, you know how frustrating this problem can be. The constant urge to urinate or defecate can lead to accidents, stress, anxiety, and depression.
Frequently Asked Questions
Disclaimer: The information provided on this veterinary website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding the health and well-being of your pet. This website does not claim to cover every possible situation or provide exhaustive knowledge on the subjects presented. The owners and contributors of this website are not responsible for any harm or loss that may result from the use or misuse of the information provided herein.