Buddy and Porky Pet Health – Dealing With Spay Incontinence

Hi Buddy,
I have a house-trained 1 1/2 year old puppy, Gracie, who, after having been spayed at 6 months, started to have incontinence issues. At times she had a urinary tract infection and we felt that was the cause. But lately she has had a couple of “accidents” even though the vet said she doesn’t have a bladder infection. What might be the cause of this?

Your help would be much appreciated!

Dear Nancy,
Urinary incontinence occurs when a housetrained dog loses control of her (or his) bladder. It can range  from occasional small urine leaks to inadvertent voiding of a large amount of urine.

It can be a problem and an annoyance, especially when you have already successfully housetrained Gracie and thought you were in the clear with that issue at least.

There can be many causes, but we are pleased that you are working with your vet to try to figure it out.

Because you say that this started after Gracie was spayed, your vet is probably considering the possibility that this is “spay incontinence,” which occurs because Gracie no longer has estrogen in her system and that causes her bladder sphincter to weaken.

There are estimates that this condition eventually occurs in as many as 20% of spayed dogs (although more recent research puts the figure at about half that.)

Don’t panic.

Spay incontinence is treatable but may take some time.

Medications can often effectively manage this condition and prevent everyday accidents. Some treatments focus on hormone (estrogen) therapy, while others, such as Propolin, strengthen the bladder muscles that control urine flow.

Surgery also may be an option if medication alone doesn’t work.

Other possible causes, other than urinary tract infections which you have already ruled out, could be urinary stones, the presence of other diseases that cause excessive water consumption, such as diabetes, kidney disease, hyperadrenocorticism, congenital abnormalities, anatomic disorders and even certain medications.

If the answer is not spay incontinence, there are tests and protocols to eventually come up with a diagnosis.

Here is what not to do.

Don’t go on the internet and get a lot of unprofessional advice about herbal or dietary remedies. But if you do, and we know that you probably will (because we do it too) don’t actually try any of those suggestions without first asking your vet.

There is a reason that vets have to go to veterinary school.

Good luck to you and your vet. We hope you have many happy (and dry) years with Gracie!

Speaking of happy . . . the Barn Cat Boogie is coming  up on September 14 in the barn at Fallbrook, 103 Thompson Road in Oswego.

There will be a barbecue picnic dinner, entertainment, dancing, a fabulous silent auction and a bonfire in the meadow.

You can register online at http://www.oswegohumane.org/

And speaking of having fun, Every Dog Has Its Day on September 15 at the Oswego County Humane Society’s annual 5K Walk or run and 1M Family Walk and Family and Pet Celebration, also at Fallbrook.

Lunch is provided and there will be lots of fun family activities.

Admission is free (although you can help raise money for OCHS and win prizes) and you can sign up online at www.oswegohumane.org

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.

Phone (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]

Because people and pets are good for each other.