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Leaking Urine at Night - Urinary Incontinence

by Claudia
(Sacramento, CA, USA)



For the past several weeks I have noticed that when my dog wakes up in the morning she is wet around her hind quarters where she has leaked urine. What is wrong with her, and what can I do to help her?

My dog is a female spayed, 8 year old German Shepherd. She is still fairly active, and has a big yard for exercise. She sleeps indoors at night. She has been house trained her whole life, and has never had any accidents.

Comments for Leaking Urine at Night - Urinary Incontinence

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Jul 14, 2009
My Online Vet Response
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Dear Claudia,

Jessie sounds like she has urinary incontinence. It is not unusual in older, spayed female dogs. In the anatomy of female dogs, the urethra, (which connects the bladder to the outside through the vulva), actually branches off from the vaginal tract. Meaning that when a female dog urinates, the urine is running through the urethra then through the vagina to exit out of the vulva.

It also means that the 'shared' tissue between the vaginal tract and the urethra are both sensitive to estrogen. You did not mention if Jessie was normal weight or not. Starting her on a good diet for weight loss will also help.

When she is spayed, the ovaries and uterus are removed. The ovaries are the main source of estrogen. Since the adrenal glands also produce some estrogen, and testosterone, that is enough for most dogs to keep their hormones in balance. In those situations where the adrenal glands are not able to produce enough hormones, especially estrogen, you will see that the bladder sphincter will lose its tone and become lax, allowing urine to leak out of the bladder. When an external source of estrogen is given to her, the incontinence will clear up. But there are problems giving long term supplementation of estrogen, therefore alternative methods are much preferred.

There are other causes also. If Jessie has a bladder infection, that will make her urinate more frequently and cause inflammation of the vaginal tract and urethra. A vaginitis will also cause irritation and sometimes there is a discharge. If Jessie has some arthritis, or bone spurs or calcium deposits 'pinching' a nerve especially a nerve that controls urination it may result in urinary incontinence. Contact a holistic veterinarian knowledgeable in Acupuncture and Chinese herbs to help the urinary incontinence. They should also provide a physical examination with a urinalysis and start your dog on some glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. In discussions about the diet for weight loss, also discuss nutrients to boost her immune system.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Urination Problems & Dog Incontinence Products,
- Dog Urine Cleaning Products
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Urination Problems Section

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