Sometimes as our dogs age we may start to notice some urinary accidents around the house or on their bedding. Alternatively, we may notice their fur appearing wet or stained (often pink or brown) around their vulva. They may lick the area more also. Sometimes they may even drip urine when walking along. There are various reasons for this in older animals and in many cases your veterinarian can help manage the signs.
Urinary incontinence most commonly affects middle aged and older desexed female dogs but can also be seen in non-desexed females and males. Left untreated it usually gets worse with time and it can lead to secondary issues like urinary tract infections.
The first step when these signs are noted is getting your dog to the vet.
The vet will perform a full physical exam on your dog including feeling the bladder through the wall of the tummy. They will also inspect the vulva for any discharge or redness.
Next your vet will usually wish to collect a urine sample. In dogs this can often be done by catching the urine mid-stream with a shallow dish. In other cases, an ultrasound may be used to visualise the bladder through the wall of the tummy and a small needle and a syringe be used to collect the sample directly.
Your vet will then run several tests on the urine. A dipstick that tests the urine for the presence of blood, glucose, protein and bilirubin (a by-product of the liver) will be run. The concentration of the urine will also be tested. Very dilute urine can be a feature of kidney disease. The presence of glucose could indicate diabetes. If there are abnormalities on this dipstick a blood test may also be required to confirm issues like kidney disease, diabetes or liver disease.
The urine will also be looked at under a microscope to check for abnormal cells, crystals or bacteria.
Your vet will then discuss the best treatment plan for your dog.
Many elderly dogs can suffer from a condition where they leak urine and wet their bed due to loss of strength of the muscle that helps to hold urine in. This condition can sometimes be well managed on hormone medications or medications that work on the nerves that supply the muscle. Sometimes these need to be administered as infrequently as once a week.
So, if your dog has started wetting the bed know that there is help available to improve their quality of life. Call us today and speak to one of our friendly team on 8373 0301 if you have any questions.