Doyalson Animal Hospital | Cat in Litter Tray

Urinary incontinence

Unfortunately, even pets who have previously had excellent toileting control can develop incontinence (urine or stool leakage) issues as they get older.

Significant urinary or faecal incontinence can have a negative effect on the quality of life of affected pets, as it may cause skin issues from constant wetness, and physical discomfort from lying in a messy bed. Some pets who have previously had impeccable toilet training may also feel quite anxious about accidentally “dirtying” their bedding.

Frequent pet incontinence can also have a negative impact upon human family members too, with the increased workload of having to constantly wash and dry the pet and their bedding (particularly with larger dogs).

Urinary incontinence in older pets can be caused by a number of issues, some of the most common ones being:

  • Urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence (USMI) – this is a “weak bladder” that is unable to hold in urine, and is most commonly seen in older, desexed female dogs
  • Bladder issues, such cystitis (infection), bladder stones (hardened mineral accumulations) or tumours
  • Excess production of urine, due to underlying health conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease
  • Prostate problems in older male dogs
  • Spinal problems, such as a bulging disc in the lower back, causing reduced nerve function to the bladder

Faecal incontinence in older pets may be caused by:

  • Spinal problems or nerve problems causing reduced nerve function to the bowel
  • Intestinal disorders, causing inflammation and/or loose stools, e.g. inflammatory bowel disease
  • Diseases affecting the area around the anus, such as anal gland abscesses, tumours or hernias

If your pet shows any toileting troubles, we recommend a prompt assessment by our knowledgeable veterinary team. In many cases, we will be able to offer treatment for your pet’s condition. Our team just can’t repress our urge to help your pet regain continence and comfort!