Unfortunately some dogs are prone to bladder leakage or not being able to hold their bladder for long periods of time. This is called urinary incontinence. Large breed, female dogs are especially likely to experience urinary incontinence after being spayed because they no longer produce certain hormones. Some male dogs can also develop urinary incontinence; it’s just not as likely. There are a few treatment options available for your pet, but unfortunately the availability of some through VetRxDirect is changing. Please read further about this recent issue and the other possible treatments for urinary incontinence in dogs.
Hormone-dependent urinary incontinence in female dogs:
The urinary sphincter is a part of a dog’s urinary tract and tightens to form a closure when a dog is not urinating. This is what makes a dog able to hold their bladder and to not have any leakage. Spaying a female dog means removing their ovaries and most likely their uterus too. These organs are responsible for producing estrogen and progestin hormones. Sometimes, this decrease in estrogen over time can cause a female dog to become incontinent, or not be able to fully close their urinary sphincter. There are also instances where intact (not spayed) female dogs can experience urinary incontinence related to a decline in estrogen with age.
Hormone-dependent urinary incontinence in male dogs:
Male dogs may also develop urinary incontinence, and it can be caused by being neutered. The neutering process involves removing the testicles, which are responsible for producing the male hormone, testosterone. Testosterone, like estrogen, helps control the urinary sphincter and provides the dog with bladder control. Just like female dogs, male dogs who are not neutered may also develop urinary incontinence due to a decline in testosterone.
Treatment for urinary incontinence in dogs:
There are many other causes of urinary incontinence in dogs, ranging from nerve-related, physical abnormalities, and urinary tract infections. This is why it is important to go through all testing for your dog to find the cause of their urinary incontinence. For dogs with hormone-dependent urinary incontinence, the treatment options can be broken down into two categories: hormone replacement and adrenergic agonists. Below is a short list of possible treatment options for urinary incontinence in dogs, but it does not include all possible treatment options. Each dog requires a specific therapy determined by your dog’s veterinarian.
Male Hormone Replacement: Testosterone shots are a possible treatment for male dogs with urinary incontinence. Testosterone will cause the urinary sphincter to tighten and regain control again. Testosterone shots are usually given through your veterinarian, and they are not available through VetRxDirect.
Female Hormone Replacement: Female dogs have two options for hormone replacement: estriol and diethylstilbestrol. Incurin is the brand name product for estriol for dogs, available through VetRxDirect, and it is given to replace estrogen levels. Diethylstilbestrol, commonly known as DES, is a synthetic drug which mimics the body’s natural estrogen, estradiol. There are no manufactured products containing DES, but it is compounded by pharmacies, including VetRxDirect. Diethylstilbestrol is usually given daily for 7-10 days and then reduced to a weekly dose. Both Incurin and DES work by acting as estrogen on the urinary sphincter, causing it to tighten and regain control over urination.
Adrenergic Agonists: Adrenergic agonists can be effective for both male and female dogs. Adrenergic agonists resemble epinephrine or adrenaline and cause the urinary sphincter to tighten, preventing leakage and controlling the bladder. There are several adrenergic agonist drugs available but only phenylpropanolamine has a veterinary approved product, called Proin.
Others: There are many other possible treatments for urinary incontinence due to non-hormonal causes. Your veterinarian will best know which medication is right for your dog based on the cause and potential side effects.
VetRxDirect’s discontinuation of Proin sales:
Phenylpropanolamine, the active ingredient in Proin, can be a precursor to methamphetamine production, so it’s sales and use are controlled under the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005. Most regulatory bodies have tightened the control over the sales of Proin over the years because of its use to create meth. Due to continual changes in state reporting and monitoring of controlled substances, such as Proin, VetRxDirect has made the difficult choice to discontinue selling Proin. The decision was made by weighing the risks versus the benefits of selling Proin. VetRxDirect would like to support the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 in reducing the availability of methamphetamine ingredients in the United States to decrease drug addiction and abuse. This decision unfortunately affects our dedicated customers who have purchased Proin and seen benefits in their dog; however, Proin may still be purchased from licensed veterinarians. VetRxDirect has other treatment options to consider as listed above. We apologize for any inconvenience this decision may cause, and we hope to be a continued trusted source for your pet’s medications.