Urinary Incontinence In Our Senior Dogs

Urinary incontinence is the inability to control urination, a common problem in ageing dogs. You may notice drops of urine on the floor, a wet dog bed, urine smell on your dog or wet inflamed skin around your dogs’ genitals.

Urinary incontinence can be frustrating but please do not punish your dog. This is a medical – not a behavioural – condition. No matter how well your dog has been potty trained, he may have an accident in the house if he is suffering from a bladder or urinary tract infection.

Consider using doggie diapers to prevent skin infections.

Frequent and painful attempts at urination can be due to:
  • hormonal imbalance
  • weak bladder sphincter
  • polyps or cancerous growths in the urinary tract or prostate
  • bladder infection
  • urinary tract infection
  • bladder stones
  • spinal injury or degeneration
  • diseases that cause excessive water consumption (e.g. diabetes, kidney disease)

If your dog has been diagnosed with bladder stones, the ultimate goal is to dissolve or surgically remove the stones via a procedure called cystotomy, and prevent them from recurring. Read more here.

Signs of Urinary Incontinence in Dogs
  • dribbling urine when walking around
  • leaking urine when resting
  • urinating in large amounts
  • excessive licking of the genitals
What Should I Do If My Dog Is Incontinent?

Consult your veterinarian to confirm a diagnosis. A urinalysis can be performed to check if your dog is suffering from a bladder infection. Other tests may include a urine culture, blood work, radiographs and ultrasound.

Most bladder stones are visible on X-ray. Stones or sediments that are not radiolucent can be detected by ultrasound.

How Is Urinary Incontinence Treated?

Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Medications can often manage the problem effectively. In cases of incontinence due to bladder stones or a protruding disc, surgery may be recommended.

How Can I Manage Urinary Incontinence in my dogs?
  • Take your dogs for more frequent walks: first thing in the morning and shortly after they wake up from naps.
  • Place clean towels or pee pads in your dog’s favourite sleeping areas.
  • Clean and dry the skin around your dog’s genital area, abdomen and legs more often to prevent skin infection.
  • Consider using doggie diapers.

Do not restrict your dog’s water intake without first consulting your vet.

  • Provide a quiet space with a comfortable but firm bed.
  • Divide a meal into smaller portions throughout the day.
  • Provide easy access to the garden for elimination (e.g. gently-sloped ramp).
  • Provide non-slip floor surfaces to help your senior dog get up and walk more easily.
  • Raise food and water bowls to a comfortable level.

preventive health care can add good years to our best friend’s life

Our dogs age much faster than us and also tend to hide their pain. Most of the time, we do not realise they are in discomfort or fighting an illness until it is too late. Some common age-related health problems are osteoarthritis, kidney/liver/heart diseases, tumours or cancers, hormonal disorders like diabetes or thyroid imbalance. Yearly health screening can help detect diseases in the early stages, giving our best friends the best chances of a full recovery.

We always welcome medical stories of your animal friends which can educate and inspire others. Email us at comms@mountpleasant.com.sg if you have a story to share. Meanwhile, be part of Mount Pleasant community over at our Website and Facebook.


Kennel Cough In Dogs

Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, commonly known as kennel cough, is a contagious respiratory tract infection in dogs. It is actually a complex of infections. The chief agent is a bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica and it is usually accompanied by at least one other infectious agent, commonly Canine Parainfluenza Virus or Canine Adenovirus Type 2.

A normal respiratory tract enables debris and infectious agents to be trapped and moved upwards towards the throat where they are coughed up and/or swallowed. Your dog can develop kennel cough when the defense mechanisms are damaged by factors such as:

  • crowding stress
  • poor ventilation
  • heavy dust exposuure
  • infectious agents

Kennel cough is characterised by a harsh, high-pitched hacking cough often described as a “goose honk”. The cough can be dry or productive and is followed by a gag, swallowing action and production of foamy mucus.

Kennel cough is diagnosed with a combination of history of exposure to areas crowded with dogs, a complete physical examination (e.g. coughing on tracheal palpation) as well as diagnostic tests (e.g. radiography).

Common risk areas of infections are boarding kennels, shelters, grooming centres, local parks & vet clinic waiting areas.

Kennel cough usually resolves without medication but severe cases may require antibiotics and cough suppressants to provide comfort during recovery. The dog will improve partially after a week of treatment. However, a failure of kennel cough to resolve suggests an underlying condition and a re-check examination is necessary.

An infected dog can shed the Bordetella organism to other dogs for 2 to 3 months post-recovery. Dogs who have recovered from the infection are usually immune to re-infection for 6 to 12 months.

Kennel cough is contagious. If you suspect your dog has kennel cough, isolate him from other dogs to prevent it from spreading. Vaccination is recommended at least 5 days prior to possible exposure to infection (e.g. if your dog is going to a boarding kennel). Speak with your vet about your dog’s individual needs.

Vaccination against kennel cough is not expected to completely prevent the risk of infection but will minimise the symptoms of illness. Some dogs may experience sneezing or nasal discharge following vaccination which should clear up on its own.

Contributed by Dr Jade Lim, Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Mandai)