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Incontinence What it Means to Your Pet!

Aug 17, 2007
What happens when your dog loses the ability to control his bowel movements? What do you do when you realize that your well-trained life companion who has been potty trained for years all of a sudden starts urinating and defecating all over the house?

Well instead of punishing your dog and making matters worse, you may want to look into the fact that he may have a condition known as incontinence.

Incontinence is the inability to control urination and/or defecation. The same term is also used to describe the reduced control that is sometimes apparent in geriatric animals.

The condition can be very upsetting to owners, as it warrants constant vigil to avoid cleanups. Many owners believe that the affected animal is either uncomfortable or in poor health. Some owners are repulsed and unable to cope with this type of problem.

Incontinent dogs should be carefully examined by a veterinarian to determine whether the problem is due to old age (lack of sphincter control) or a condition that can be treated. Urinary incontinence could be caused by conditions of the bladder and urethra.

A relatively common cause in older spayed female dogs is reduced estrogen levels. This type of condition may respond well to hormone treatments.

Fecal incontinence has been associated with damaged anal sphincter muscles, which perhaps can be surgically repaired, or injuries to the lumbar or pelvic area, with results from a nerve damage.

Nerve disorders usually are difficult to treat. Where loose stools associated with improper feeding are a part of the problem, dietary adjustments may be helpful.

The saddest situation is one in which the dog owner, unaware of possible corrective measures, believes that incontinence cannot be cured and automatically warrants euthanasia.

Even if the problem cannot be handled medically, some minor adjustments may make the incontinent dog easier to live with, and thus prevent the injustice of sending a faithful companion to his death.

Take this example: An 11 year old, spayed, female dog is healthy in all other respects, but had had urinary and fecal incontinence for about 1 1/2 months.

There are several things that a veterinarian might do for the dog. With a diet change and medical treatment, the incontinence could be reduced to the point where the diapers and bloomers were working acceptably. Other affected dogs have responded well to paper training or installation of a pet door.

If you follow your vets orders the problem can be manageable.
About the Author
Browse our English Bulldog articles or search through our pet classifieds to find that perfect puppy. If you are just looking for a good laugh check out our dog breed blog.
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