We aren’t the only ones who can experience incontinence. When a house or litter-trained pet loses control of its bladder and/or bowels, the problem is usually referred to as incontinence. This condition can have a number of different causes. However, regardless of the specific cause, incontinence is always a serious issue for the pet’s owners.
Symptoms of Incontinence in Pets
Incontinence can considerably range in severity, from slight leakage to a complete loss of bladder control. However, some of the symptoms of urinary incontinence in pets may include:
- Excessive licking of the penis or vulva
- Irritation around the penis or vulva
- Noticeable leakage of urine
- Urination in unusual areas
Some of the symptoms of fecal incontinence in pets may include:
- Bloated or swollen abdomen
- Defecating in unusual areas
- Frequent scooting on the floor
- Tenderness near the tail
Causes of Pet Incontinence
Incontinence may occur for many different reasons, including:
- Side effects of certain medications
- Anatomic malformations
- Congenital abnormalities
- Kidney disease
- Prostate problems
- Slipped discs in the back
- Spinal injury
- Urinary stones
- Urinary tract infections
- Weak sphincters
- Hormonal imbalance
- Infection of the anal sacs
- Muscle damage
- Intestinal parasites
What Should I Do?
In many cases, fecal or urinary incontinence can be resolved with proper treatment. For example, if your pet’s incontinence is the result of a urinary tract infection, the problem will typically improve after your pet completes a course of antibiotics.
If your pet develops the symptoms incontinence, consult your veterinarian to determine the cause. If treatment is appropriate, follow instructions carefully and monitor your pet to ensure that the problem is fixed after the prescribed treatment is complete.
Dealing with Long-Term Pet Incontinence
For some pets, incontinence will persist regardless of treatment. For example, incontinence due to muscle or nerve damage is sometimes irreversible. If your pet remains incontinent, there are steps you can take to minimize the implications of the condition. According to the ASPCA, the following tips may be helpful to owners of incontinent pets:
- Use doggie or cat diapers, to prevent urine and feces from soiling your floors. Another good product for this would be our incontinence bed pads. Use them to create a space where your pet can relieve himself.
- Take your pet to the preferred urination or defecation spot (i.e. outside or the litter box) at frequent intervals throughout the day.
- Always monitor your pet for signs of infection, as incontinence is one of the most common symptoms.
- To prevent dehydration, do not limit your pet’s water intake unless your veterinarian tells you to do so.
- When your pet has accidents, do your best to remove the urine or feces quickly and thoroughly, as poor hygiene may increase the risk of complications.
By following these tips, you will be able to manage your pet’s condition and symptoms.