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Old 15.01.2015, 12:04
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Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

Hi
my dog Sophie has incontinence. She is 14 years old and it is not a surprise that she has this. She is castrated and a large breed dog (Rhodesian ridgeback/Labrador cross). I always try to use natural products to treat her and was wondering if anyone has experience of treating their own dog. Also, I would be interested to also hear about medication that has been used on a vet's advice and how that went - effect, side effects, etc. The washing does pile up sometimes, but I have bought nappies for her. Ideally I would love for it to stop or reduce significantly. Thanks in advance for your comments and ideas.
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Old 15.01.2015, 12:30
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

Sounds like it's been going on for a while. Is it too obvious to say "see a vet"? For Sophie's sake - after all, you wouldn't like to live with permanent incontinence so why would she? There are plenty of vets here that take a holistic and open-minded approach and are not slaves to the big pharmas if that's your concern
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Old 15.01.2015, 12:58
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

Jacquaim, this first and foremost needs to be discussed with your vet, as what type of medical intervention is recommended will likely depend on the reason for incontinence.

Is this urinary or fecal incontinence?

Also - the incontinence might have a behavioral component, but it is always recommended to first do a full veterinary check up, including blood panel and urinalysis, as it is easier to rule out medical issues. With a elderly dog there could be a combination of behavior and medical issues at play.

We cannot diagnose your dog over t'internet, and please first speak to the vet before starting any supplements, etc. While natural supplements have their place - and as eng–ch says, many vets are open to their use, do be aware that 'natural' supplements are not necessarily the right thing in all cases, and in some cases are not harmless as many people think - for instance, depending on your dog's health, other drugs taken, etc. certain products can be contraindicated.

Always, always inform your vet of each and every supplement you give your dog!

If the vet prescribes one of the incontinence management drugs, please follow his/her instructions and keep records. Data (when, how often, how much, what is happening before, during, after, etc.) is helpful in reaching a diagnosis.

---

That said, here are some things I have done to manage incontinence:

First: Vet visit(s) to diagnose or rule out a medical cause.

It must be understood that incontinence is a symptom. It is important to try to determine what causes that symptom and treat the underlying problem/disease. Just treating the symptom without understanding why the dog is incontinent is not a long term solution.

Second: Keep your dog clean - hygene is critical as urine scald or infections from fecal matter can occur if a dog is left in contact with urine/feces for a long time. Bathing regularly might be needed. In dogs with a tendency to dry skin, you might also have to address that when frequent bathing is needed.

If you are using a diaper, be aware that the dog should never be left in a wet diaper due to scald, etc.- these must be changed frequently. A diaper can be a godsend, but it is not a subsitute for the point below.

Third: Give your dog frequent opportunities to empty her bladder/defecate. This means outside once an hour or more frequently. Here is where gathering data is helpful - how often does your dog lose control? Once you have seen a pattern, go outside at a shorter interval than the pattern suggests.

(An incontinent dog generally needs someone home to care for him/her.)

Fourth: Protect the house/dog's beds.

Washable incontinence pads are the best thing since sliced bread. These can often be found inexpensively at Aldi, more pricey at medical supply stores. Use the human variety - anything designed for pets will cost more than the human variety. If you can't find the washable ones, use the disposable.

Line your dog's bed with an incontinence pad, put the cover over, add another incontinence pad on top. The washable ones are soft and comfy - your dog won't object to it. The disposable are more 'papery' and so less comfy - and some dogs will try to shred them. If I have to use disposable, I throw a fleece over it - thick fleece will allow urine to flow through and remain dry-ish on top.
Refering to point two - you will need to wash and change pads whenever wet.

If your dog jumps on furniture, make your life easier and protect the sofa as well. Get a rubberized sheet - the kind used for children's beds (available at Manor or a medical supply store) toss this over the sofa, cover with a fleece. Sure, it looks silly, but better than having to buy a new sofa.

If there are rooms you cannot piddle-proof, consider baby gates to restrict access.

Take up rugs, it is far easier to clean a tile/parquet floor.

If your dog needs rugs for traction (as some wobbly older dogs do) consider buying cheap rugs (Ikea) that you can later throw away.

Find a good enzyme cleaner, available in pet stores (one is Simple Solution) - these are the only way to get rid of odors. And a steam cleaner.

---
A few of my oldies have had incontinence issues, each from a different cause:

Haifisch suddenly had a few incidents of loss of urinary control. At the same time, he started to drink increased amounts. Polydipsia and polyuria are classic symptoms of several diseases - a trip to the vet is always in order! In this case, it was Cushings. Once on appropriate medication to treat the Cushings, the incontinence stopped.

If one suspects PD/PU the first thing to do is to determine how much water is being drunk and how often the bladder needs emptying. It will help your vet if you keep notes, measure how much is drunk each day.

Saint Swimbo suddenly developed incontinence when put on a bronchial dilator. Although the drug literature did not note any incidence of this, a bronchial dilator is a smooth muscle relaxer. It is possible that other smooth muscles could be affected - hence the incontinence. We took her off the drug, the incontinence stopped. A switch to an inhalant bronchial dilator, rather than the systemic, proved to be a better course to treat her respiratory issues.

Psychocollie had CDRM; he gradually lost the use of his legs and feeling in his lower end - which meant loss of control. CDRM is a progressive disease, one generally can only try to ameloriate the symptoms. Here one goes into management mode as above. Quality of life is an issue. With wheels, with good hygiene, etc. he lived happily, with a very good quality of life, for several years - but the time came when he told me that he had had enough. It wasn't the incontinence that affected quality of life, as we could manage that, but rather the progression of the underlying disease.

Prudence Treadlightly suddenly started having accidents. As she was a young dog, and there was no PD to go with the PU, the first though was a urinary tract infection. Urinalysis showed that was the case, a course of ABs set her right. FYI, UTIs are fairly common in older females - so that is often a first test. Bring a urine sample when you see your vet.

Melon developed low-level canine dementia at the end - there were times, mostly at night , when he was 'away with the fairies'. In some dementia cases, loss of control can occur. Frequent trips outside, getting up in the middle of the night, solved the problem. Add an incontinence pad for insurance.

Puddle the PflegePoodle became incontinent following surgery to remove an undescended testicle. A second surgery to correct the problem was unsuccessful, as were hormone drugs. His incontinence is managed, he wears a diaper in the house.

(Male dogs are easy - use a human baby diaper, turned sideways so that the elastic leg bits go around the waist and hips, covering the penis, tape the ends over the back, to form a 'belly band'. A fraction of the cost of pet diapers. Female incontinence is more difficult, you really have to use a pet diaper due to the tail. But you could experiment with human diapers, cutting an opening for the tail.)

Taking Puddle out once an hour to empty his bladder means that the diaper largely remains dry.

It should be noted here that Puddle should have been castrated as a young dog - leaving a cryptorchid dog intact is negligence in my book. Had his first owner addressed the problem when Puddle was young he might not be incontinent today.

---

As you can see, while the end result, incontinence, is the same the causes are all different, requiring different medical treatment. Hence my advice, in the strongest of terms: First see the vet!

Wishing you and your dog all the best...

Last edited by meloncollie; 15.01.2015 at 13:09.
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Old 15.01.2015, 13:01
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

another vote for the vet, I had a bitch with a bladder infection that seemed incontinent and with proper treatment, lived another 3 years to 16 - and only peed in the house when she wanted to show how upset she was with me after that treatment.
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Old 15.01.2015, 15:50
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

Thank you all for replying to my post. I appreciate the time you gave to answering, especially the comprehensive answer from meloncollie. I omitted to write some relevant details in my post, which was silly. I will be seeing the third vet tomorrow about Sophie and was feeling frustrated about the poor results to date. But how could you know that?

I keep Sophie clean and take her regularly to pee (she has urinary incontinence). I do wonder if there is a behavioural element, as meloncollie suggested. I will watch more closely how she is at different times of the day – luckily I work from home so I can do this.

I know that there are always useful tips and hints when asking around for others’ experiences, hence I wrote this post. Sometimes the obvious is not seen. I hope this is a case of third time lucky.

Thanks again for your thoughts and words – marvellous.
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Old 15.01.2015, 15:58
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

Talk to your vet about cushings disease, incontinence is often the first sign, especially in larger older dogs. My dog had it and it was easily treatable once we got the dosage sorted out. She lived 5+ years after the diagnosis.
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Old 15.01.2015, 17:02
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

Incontinence can also be a symptom of diabetes as we found out with our elderly dachshund. Now he has insulin twice a day, he is not longer incontinent. He has become totally blind very quickly just before Christmas sadly, but is adapting well, enjoying life and his food- so we will keep going for as long as he is happy.

I'm afraid I may shock you and perhaps Meloncollie- but aged 14 I would quietly put an incontinent dog to sleep - in her own home, with sedative first- and not start with nappies, etc. Sorry is this comes as a shock, but I truly think it is best. Our other large dog has matts for traction as she finds it difficult to get up- and is enjoying life still. But I would not put her in nappies, ever, if there is no effective treatment.

Last edited by Odile; 15.01.2015 at 21:39.
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Old 15.01.2015, 18:43
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

If you've seen multiple vets, i would imagine they've ruled I out spay incontinence then - happens in about 20% of spayed female dogs, can be dependent on estrogen. Has to do with weakening of the various structures due to loss of hormones. Treatment is either a hormone or caniphederin (if I'm spelling that right). It it more likely in older and larger dogs

Since no one mentioned it, i assume it's been ruled out.

Our Lily (10.5 year old mix of dog only knows) has seasonal bouts of this (autumn and spring), brief periods. We think it's a combination of allergy and hormones... We've used caniphedren. Seemed to work. This year, she didn't have it at all. She was a shelter pup, and spayed early, i think.

She's just had a full blood and urine panel and is fine.

Please see a vet!
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Old 15.01.2015, 19:07
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

jacquaim,
When you see the vet you might ask them to show you how to express your dog's bladder. With pets that are incontinent they might not empty their bladder all the way and over time this can lead to infections and other issues.

If it looks like her issue is going to be ongoing it would be worthwhile to learn how to do that and to perhaps get her on some kind of schedule so you are aware of how much she is drinking/voiding (urinating) each day. Paying attention to things like a pet's input/output is helpful in monitoring health and quality of life.

Best of luck with the vet visit. If possible post back and let us know what you find out.
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Old 15.01.2015, 21:30
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

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I'm afraid I may shock you and perhaps Meloncollie- but aged 14 I would quietly put an incontinent dog to sleep - in her own home, with sedative first- and not start with nappies, etc. Sorry is this comes as a shock, but I truly think it is best.
Blanket statements like this do indeed shock me, Odile.

The only reason to euthanize a dog is when, after treatment options have been explored and proved untenable, the dog is unhappy, in pain, visibly has no quality of life.

If the dog is otherwise enjoying life, incontinence in and of itself is not a reason to euthanize the dog. We have to be careful of anthropomorphizing the situation. We humans worry about 'loss of the animal's dignity' - yet many if not most animals don't even notice, carry on as before. The key here is 'otherwise enjoying life'. That is an individual assessment.

If the incontinence means that the dog is in pain, if scald/sores cannot be prevented - that is an entirely different matter.

Sadly, many incontinent dogs are euthanized as a matter of convenience for the owner. That is wrong.

As is prolonging suffering.

The key is understanding what quality of life entails for the individual, making choices based on the individual only.

We cannot make an assumption, let alone an assessment, of an animal's quality of life over t'internet - that is for Jacquiam and his/her vet, and only Jacquiam and his/her vet, to decide together.

----

(Puddle, the 13 year old incontinent, vision impaired poodle - who today took part in a local 'Nasenarbeit' contest that had him gleefully running up hill and down dale, in and out of the forest, agrees. He may be incontinent, he may look funny wearing his Windel, he may not see as well as he once could... but he loves his life, every single minute. )
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Old 16.01.2015, 10:17
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

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I do wonder if there is a behavioural element, as meloncollie suggested.
.
Left with a hole in his ear after being attacked by 3 other dogs and having his bed removed to a different room more or less in the same time period, our dog became very frightened at night and started urinating in the lounge.


Had him checked out by the vet who found no infection or reason for this behaviour which continued for about 3 months. So we had him checked out by our neighbour who is a homeopath. He had 3 treatments with the homeopath who took into account his pyschology and his recent trauma and also his early life where he spent most of the day in a locked up garage.


His behaviour has improved drastically and is more or less back to normal although I can't honestly say if this is due to the homeopath or time. When we started the homeopathic treatment - 3 months after the initial traumatic attack his behaviour was already beginning to improve.
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Old 16.01.2015, 15:15
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

Just-a-mutt - great idea about learning to express the bladder - never thought of that. And I will write a post about what happens after the vet visit.

Odile - no it does not shock me that you write you would kill a dog (yes, that is what 'quietly put to sleep' means) rather than have it wear nappies. I am wise enough to know that there are people who care for their animals and would do almost anything for them but … (fill in reason here). I personally find it an extreme reason to kill a dog. Dogs are able to live 'happily' with all sorts challenges and wearing nappies, I think, is one of the smallest challenges.

Enaj - I use homeopathic remedies with Sophie and they have had great effects for her most of the time. And it does certainly sound as if your dog was reacting to severe trauma in the way anials do because they cannot sit down and verbally explain what is going on. I am glad that your dog is 'getting back on track'.

Vet comes tonight.
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Old 16.01.2015, 15:22
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

jacquiam- you don't know me- and of course I meant after going to see the vets and finding out the reason/s and if it can be helped. And of course if depends very much on how much the dog is enjoying life otherwise. my comment was in case no solution can be found, and due to the age of the dog.

All the cats and dogs we've had have lived to very ripe old age- our last dog aged 19.He was fabulous to the end- but when he was diagnosed with agreesive cancer of testicles, we refused treatment. He had another 5 happy months- but one day he looked at us with 'that look' and we knew the time had come. Our friend the vet came to our house, we both held him and he was put gently to sleep, in our arms. No, he was not killed- he was put to sleep- in the most humane way- the vet gave us a sedative to give him before his visit, and it was all very peaceful. Hope I can go like that one day.

Our current 2 dogs are 16 and 15- with the youngest having diabetes requiring twice daily injections, and now totally blind- but happy in his now slow and sleepy way, enjoying his food and lots of cuddles. We've even bought a pram to take him out on daily walks- so we can take him to a safe park and get some fresh air. So your comment is really below the belt- honestly. Our cats have all lived to be 18 or more, and our current cat, Pudding, is about 17 (rescue like all the others, so precise age unknown- we have never chosen an animal, they have all chosen us in very difficult circumstances) - so no, we do not 'kill' pets willy nilly for our convenience, thanks.

Now, back to the subject- have you visited a vet and done all the necessary tests yet? Not going to the vet, imho- and get all the tests done, would seem very unfair to me.

Edit- good to see vet is coming tonight. Bonne chance.

Last edited by Odile; 16.01.2015 at 15:43.
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Old 17.01.2015, 13:44
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

Vet has been and visit was great.

She said Sophie is in really good shape and gave us numerous ideas regarding the incontinence, both natural based remedies and medication. She recommended we try 3 homeopathic remedies plus pumpkin seed oil first before going to the medication.

The medication (canefadine I think it is) has side effects that can be problematic e.g. increase in aggression, restlessness, increased panting, thirst - all of which cause stress.

I liked her approach - she was here over an hour and really spent time talking about the situation and going through many practicalities and options. And all of that cost only 70 CHF which is astounding! I feel really positive about it all.

Thank you all for your words and ideas. That helped too.
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Old 17.01.2015, 19:19
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

This isn't medical related but I buy my dog beds from Jacobs den. Find her online or Facebook. It is a lady in the UK that specialises in wet dog mats originally for incontinent dogs. I have about 5 used on the bed, sofa, car etc for when my log haired dog is wet. It takes the water away so they stay dry. Would, really recommend them to you.
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Old 18.01.2015, 08:22
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

Thanks Sophie76, that is great information!
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Old 24.01.2015, 13:38
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

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This isn't medical related but I buy my dog beds from Jacobs den. Find her online or Facebook. It is a lady in the UK that specialises in wet dog mats originally for incontinent dogs. I have about 5 used on the bed, sofa, car etc for when my log haired dog is wet. It takes the water away so they stay dry. Would, really recommend them to you.

We purchased pooch pads in Japan. (I have never seen them here- they are from the US).
They are great as they absorb urine and can be washed and dried in the machine.

Over the years I have sold a few but I have some left fir sale. If you think this is something you might need send me a PM.

One of our dogs had bladder surgery in October for bladder stones. One stone was very deep and difficult to remove. Since that surgery things are not back to normal. She is not incontinent, which the doctor defined for us as inability to control the bladder at all. If that were the case, I would put nappies on her. I have a pair of "nappie pants" which we bought in Japan after one of our dog's had surgery and needed nappies. But she was taking them off so we bought these cute pants with a drawstring and snaps and she couldn't get to the nappie. But I digress.
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Old 25.01.2015, 16:17
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

Thanks Mrs Doolittle
I have nappies for Sophie and have been in touch with Jacob's Den. All is going well at the moment.
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Old 20.07.2015, 21:27
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

Apologies for resurrecting this thread. Just wanted to say that just recently, Ebby has lost a little pee in bed, even though she gets outside enough. She was spayed a year ago, so I wonder if it could be related still? It happened twice in one night, but not again.
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Old 20.07.2015, 21:44
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Re: Dog is incontinent - ideas and experience of treatments

Has Ebby been tested for a urinary tract infection?

Often this is the first step in young females, as UTIs are not uncommon and can result in urine loss.

Post spay incontinence is not all that common, but it does happen -however other causes are often considered first., such as thyroid disorders, diabetes, Cushings, hormonal imbalance, etc.

(Have you seen an increase in drinking as well?)

If it is spay incontinence, there are several possibilities for treatment from meds to surgery.

So first step,is a discussion with your vet.


Paws crossed it's easily sorted.
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