Urinary incontinence in dogs is not uncommon. This condition can have a number of reasons such as spaying, age, spinal problems, and hormonal imbalances to name a few. Growing up with dogs and having been a dog owner all my life, I considered myself lucky to not have seen this condition in my dogs until recently. This urinary incontinence issue was unknown to me until Duchess, our Rottweiler, came along.
How Urinary Incontinency Started for Duchess
We took Duchess home when she was only 7 weeks old. The smaller one of the litter, she grew fast, and our vet at the time suggested to spay her at around age 2 months. She also had her tail docked when we got her. All went well and she grew into a beautiful adult when we started seeing some little wet spots here and there. We tried to explain it away with having played hard, drinking too much water and not emptying out before coming inside etc. It happened on and off but did not seem to be consistent.
Two years ago I noticed some wet spots on her bedding, on carpeting and rugs in the house, and dribbles on the wood floor. Ruling out urinary tract infection, our vet determined that she suffers from urinary incontinence possibly due to her spaying. This was not the same vet that spayed her and we were advised that a very small percentage of dogs end up with urinary incontinence due to getting fixed.
In our case, the vet may have spayed her to early, as this increases the risk of this condition. We did not know and apparently our vet at the time was not aware or educated enough about this either.
How we treated Urinary Incontinence
Our only option seemed to be a medication with very concerning risks, Proin. I was very suspicious about this medication since my research showed that this was a drug that was banned for people due to cancer causing side effects. At the time we had no other choice.
One year later, even with this medication, she started leaking again. This time we consulted with a specialist, hoping that there was a different solution for this issue. One hour later and $ 400.00 lighter, I was disheartened by his diagnosis. He suggested to continue and increase Proin and add another medication to it, for life. I was very disappointed and tore up the new prescription on the way out. I will not risk my 3 year old dog, who suffers from urinary incontinence, to end up dying from cancer because of the side effects of these drugs.
How we deal with Urinary Incontinence Now
I decided to manage her better, leaving her outside much more and making sure she empties out completely before coming inside. I designated an area for her bedding, which makes it easier to clean up. I try to limit her access to the pool, so I know when and how much she drinks (unfortunately she prefers pool water over tap water). We have tried doggie diapers and they are a pain and don’t really work well and she seems very uncomfortable (who can blame her).
I decided that managing her the best I can is better than the alternative at this time. The Alternative being Proin, a drug with several and sometimes fatal side effects.
Update: We were not able to manage Duchess without Treatment anymore. After careful consideration we opted to give Proin a try and it has worked just fine without any noticeable and serious side effects. The Benefits outweighed the Risk in our Case.