Has your female dog suddenly sprung a leak after being spayed? This leaking of urine is not the same as behavioral marking, mostly seen in male dogs, nor is it the same as the puddles you might find in the house with a new, untrained puppy.
Incontinence after a female dog has been spayed normally happens when they are sleeping or at rest. This is a result of the operation they have just gone through and the hormonal changes they occur after the procedure.
Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels affect the urinary sphincter mechanism. This is the muscle group in the urethra near the bladder that keeps the urethra shut tight. The specific smooth muscles that are affected are actually part of the involuntary nervous system. This means that no matter how well-trained your dog is, she simply cannot help it. This also means that you should NEVER yell or reprimand your spay female for leaking urine. She simply has no control over her body.
Although any dog can become incontinent as they age, especially larger breeds and those that are overweight, this type of leaking is most common in recently-spayed female dogs.
Signs of Female Incontinence After Spaying
Spay incontinence typically develops immediately or some months after the actual spaying procedure. You will most likely notice that your dog dribbles while walking or lying down, so you will probably find wet spots on the bedding or areas where she sleeps. You may also notice your female dog is licking the area of skin that has become irritated by urine.
Sadly, many of these dogs will develop a urinary tract infection, which can make the situation worse. Since the sphincter is weak, it allows bacteria to travel inside the bladder. And all of that licking is creating a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s the perfect storm of sorts and makes incontinence even worse.
If your dog has recently been spayed and has any of the symptoms listed above, you should schedule a follow-up appointment with your vet, who will want to do a urinalysis and blood work, and perhaps even a culture to determine the kind of bacteria that is present if an infection is occurring.
Your vet cannot predict if your dog will be the one to develop incontinence, but obese dogs and pets that are spayed under the age of six months are more at risk.
How to Deal with Urinary Incontinence from Spaying
Luckily, only a few out of every 100 spay females will develop incontinence, but if you’re reading this, that fact probably won’t bring relief, as you’re most likely one of the few. If so, there are some things you can do to help your furry baby (and your furniture and carpeting).
In the past, veterinarians typically treated spay incontinence with hormone injections or pills. Unfortunately, this treatment usually had numerous side effects.
Nowadays, the drug phenylpropanolamine is prescribed, and is considered safe and effective by the veterinarian community. The down side is that this drug only serves to make the urinary sphincter work more effectively in the short term. This means that the drug must be administered for the dog’s lifespan. Luckily it comes in chewables, so most dogs will happily take it.
Treatments may not work for all dogs. In these cases, dog diapers are a terrific option. Dog diapers may also be a good option for those people who cannot afford lifelong medications. If your dog typically wets at night while sleeping, a dog diaper would be a more affordable option, and one with no side effects.
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If you have any questions about dog diapers or how to get the proper fit for your pooch, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We are always more than happy to answer any questions you may have.