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Urinary and Fecal Incontinence in Pets

Story at-a-glance
  • There are two types of incontinence: urinary, which is the involuntary leakage of urine, and fecal, which is the inability to control the bowels.
  • Involuntary leaking of urine is most often caused by hormone-induced incontinence after a pet is spayed or neutered. The condition is very common in spayed female dogs and less common in neutered male dogs.
  • Other causes of urine dribbling include trauma to the central nervous system, damage to the pudendal nerve, diseases of the bladder, kidney, or adrenal glands, bladder stones, birth defects, and urethral obstruction.
  • Treatment of urinary incontinence depends on what’s causing it. Any underlying disease must be identified and resolved. Treatment of hormone-induced urinary incontinence can often be accomplished using a combination of natural therapies.
  • Fecal incontinence is almost always due to a communication problem between the colon and brain. Problems with a pet’s lower back can compromise the communication pathway with the result that the animal’s brain doesn’t get the message that nature is calling.

Video:  Urinary and Fecal Incontinence in Pets

By Dr. Becker

Today I’d like to discuss incontinence in dogs and cats.

There are actually two types of incontinence — urine and fecal. Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. Fecal incontinence is the inability of a dog or cat to control his bowels.

Urinary Incontinence

Involuntary passage of urine normally occurs while your pet is asleep or resting. When she stands, you may notice urine leakage. It can be just a small wet spot, or it can be a good-sized puddle.

It’s important to understand that your pet is not intentionally leaking urine. She has no control over what’s happening. It’s not a behavioral problem; it’s a medical issue. Trying to correct or punish your pet is a really bad idea. It’s very important to treat urine dribbling as a medical problem requiring a medical diagnosis, rather than a behavioral problem.

There are many causes for urine leaking, including trauma to the central nervous system, damage to the pudendal nerve (the nerve that works the neck of the bladder), diseases of the bladder, kidney, or adrenal glands (for instance, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, or diabetes), as well as bladder stones, birth defects, and urethral obstruction.

Other known causes of urine dribbling are age-related incontinence, a hormone imbalance, and feline leukemia.

Hormone-Induced Urinary Incontinence

Hands down the most common reason for involuntary urine leakage, especially in dogs, is hormone-induced urinary incontinence.

After a pet is spayed or neutered, the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone (which are necessary to help close the external urethral sphincter) are no longer available. The result is often urine dribbling.

Hormone-induced urinary incontinence is extremely common in spayed female dogs and somewhat less common in neutered male dogs. These are typically very healthy, vibrant pets that just happen to dribble urine anywhere from multiple times a day to just once or twice a year.

A commonly prescribed drug for hormone-related urinary incontinence called DES, short for diethylstilbestrol, was pulled from the market about five years ago because it was linked to diseases like diabetes and cancer in dogs. Unfortunately, the drug is now once again available. Because of its overall systemic risk to health, I never recommend it.

Another commonly prescribed drug for urinary incontinence is called PPA, which is substantially safer than DES.

The biggest problem with these drugs is that many vets put dogs on them without investigating the cause of the urine dribbling. They just assume that it must be hormone-induced.

I see dogs on these drugs, who, when I run tests on them, have a disease process causing the leakage. Often I find urinary crystals or bladder stones, Cushing’s disease, diabetes, or kidney disease in a dog being treated for hormone-induced urinary incontinence.

Treating Urinary Incontinence

The cause of your pet’s urinary incontinence should always dictate what treatment she receives. If there’s an underlying disease process or structural abnormality causing the problem, it can be corrected through medical or surgical management.

If your pet is diagnosed with hormone-induced urinary incontinence, I strongly recommend you try to treat the problem naturally. Some of the drugs used to treat urinary incontinence, specifically DES, are potentially toxic, with side effects that in my opinion are not worth the risk.

I successfully treat cases of hormone-induced urinary incontinence with glandular therapy, including Standard Process glandulars – Symplex-F for female dogs and Symplex-M for male dogs. I also use natural, biologically appropriate (which means non-synthetic) hormone replacement therapy.

Synthetic hormone replacement drugs can cause some of the same problems in female dogs as they do in women who take them. Natural plant-based hormone therapy is compounded for your pet’s specific hormone imbalances based on sex hormone blood test results.

I also use a few excellent herbal remedies, including corn silk, lemon balm, and horse tail. There are some great nutraceuticals specifically formulated to help with incontinence. I also frequently use acupuncture to stimulate the pudendal nerve. And chiropractic can do a great job keeping the central nervous system working appropriately.

Dogs with urinary incontinence that can’t be completely resolved can be fitted with belly bands, doggy bloomers or panties with absorbent pads. You can even use human disposable diapers, and just cut a hole out for the tail if that arrangement fits your pet’s body shape. Just remember that urine is caustic and should not remain on your pet’s skin for very long. It’s important if you use diapers to change them regularly and disinfect your pet’s skin.

Fecal Incontinence

Fecal incontinence is almost always due to the colon and brain not communicating effectively. The nerves that control the colon are supposed to send a message to the brain when it’s time to go outside. If there’s a problem with the lower back – for example, degenerative myelopathy, peripheral myopathy, arthritis, muscle weakness, atrophy, a spinal tumor, or a condition such as myasthenia gravis – the communication pathway is compromised, and the animal isn’t aware nature is calling.

In older pets, the anal sphincter can lose its ability to hold in feces efficiently.

Parasites can also contribute to fecal incontinence. If you have a pet that has diarrhea for an extended period of time, there can be damage to the muscles of the rectum, which can lead to the problem as well.

Other causes of fecal incontinence can include an abscess or infection of the anal glands, a dietary issue, medications, or a perianal fistula.

Owners of pets with fecal incontinence might find accidents around the house. Or the pet could inadvertently pass feces when he uses his abdominal muscles to go from a lying position to a standing position, or when he jumps up on the couch, or in similar situations requiring use of the abdominal muscles.

Your dog or cat may also poop while walking without knowing she’s doing it. It can also happen during sleep. Excessive gas and swelling of the abdomen are common in cases of fecal incontinence.

It’s important to find the underlying cause of your pet’s fecal incontinence. Your vet will want to do a complete blood profile – including a chemistry profile, CBC, urinalysis, and a fecal analysis – to check for the presence of an infection or parasites. Sometimes, additional diagnostics such as X-rays may be required to check for spinal arthritis or a bone tumor.

Both chiropractic and acupuncture – I use electroacupuncture in my practice – can be very helpful in these cases. Aligning the vertebral bodies and stimulating the nerve fibers that communicate between the colon and the brain can help reduce incidences of fecal incontinence.

January 8, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Help Familie Keep Their Pets, Holistic Pet Health, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, pet products, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Animal Chiropractic Success Stories


Story at-a-glance
  • Many more pets could be helped by chiropractic adjustments if more dog and cat owners were aware of the benefits of treatment.
  • Chiropractic can help animals with a wide range of health problems — from chronic pain to difficulty chewing to bowel and bladder dysfunction.
  • Pets that often benefit from chiropractic treatment include those recovering from injury or illness, pets who have just had anesthesia during a surgical procedure, older dogs and cats who show signs of aging or behavior changes … even vigorous animals whose owners are interested in maintaining their pet’s good joint and spine health.
  • If you’re seeking chiropractic treatment for your pet, be sure to find a practitioner who is licensed for small animals.

By Dr. Becker

Many pet owners don’t think about animal chiropractic when their beloved dog or cat is injured, in pain, or becomes ill.

And that’s really unfortunate, because often a visit to a small animal chiropractor can put your pet on the road to recovery much more quickly and safely than other alternatives.

Chiropractic adjustments can often take the place of surgery.

They can reduce or eliminate the need for veterinary drugs that carry side effects.

They can also address chronic health problems that don’t get better or keep coming back.

Chiropractic Adjustments for Pets

A chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is a specific impulse directed at a joint to reduce fixation and re-establish normal movement.

Adjustments clear the way for the body to return to a state of balance without the interference of a subluxation, which is a vertebral lesion.

Adjustments are done to the joints of the spine and also the extremities.

Chiropractic can treat animals with back, neck, leg and tail pain; muscle spasms; nerve problems; traumatic injuries; difficulty chewing, TMJ or jaw problems; and stiffness from arthritis.

It can also alleviate some bowel, bladder and other internal medicine conditions.

And for healthy animals, it can maintain the integrity of the joints and spine.

Why You Might Want to Seek Chiropractic Care for Your Pet

There are certain indications for care that can often be best served by seeking chiropractic as a first step rather than a place to turn when all else has failed. These situations include:

  • During recovery from an injury or illness
  • After any surgery involving anesthesia
  • Lameness and/or difficulty standing up or lying down
  • If your dog or kitty is getting up in years or if there is a behavior or mood change
  • If your pet is seizing or experiencing other neurological problems
  • When your pet has a chronic or recurring health problem that won’t resolve

Examples of What Animal Chiropractic Can Do

From Dr. Sandra Priest:

Sam, a 12-year-old miniature Dachshund, was presented for chiropractic treatment after being diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease in the cervical area. Despite several weeks of medication with an anti-inflammatory drug and a muscle relaxer, he was still experiencing severe episodes of muscle spasm and neck pain.

At the time of his first visit, Sam had visible asymmetry in the right and left shoulders and severe rigidity in the muscles in his neck. There were several areas along his spine where normal flexibility was moderately decreased. After a course of adjustments, Sam was no longer painful and had resumed normal activity.

Cynna, a five year old Welsh Springer Spaniel, became lame on the left front leg after several hours of vigorous exercise. The lameness disappeared with rest, only to recur every time she exercised for a prolonged period. Chiropractic examination revealed the radial head malarticulation, which was corrected. Gait analysis after the adjustment was normal and the lameness has never recurred, even during prolonged periods of heavy exercise.

From Dr. Deborah Sell:

"Thanks so much for your help. I’m sorta conventional when it comes to health care, but Sophie was in such bad shape, I thought I’d try. I figured I’d do all the dogs wondering what you would find. Your adjustment to Sophie went as expected and the results over the next few days were good.

But unbelievable to me, is the adjustment you did to my 2 year old Rocky has helped him even more. Rocky has been such a problem with other dogs and I’ve been working on his aggression behaviorally. After your adjustment, I noticed a significant improvement in his behavior when around new dogs. This improvement has continued and I am amazed. He seems to feel like a new dog, much happier and not as moody. Sophie (13 year old) is also doing well and shows energy and enthusiasm even on cold wet mornings." ~ Vici Whisner, Dog Trainer

From Dr. Erin O’Connor:

One of the very first dogs where Dr. O’Connor really saw what animal chiropractic could do, before she even began her practice, was with her own sheltie, Taffy. About the time she was finishing up her AVCA certification, her dog Taffy’s arthritis had been progressively getting worse each day. Soon enough, she wasn’t able to get up and down stairs and needed to be carried. Dr. O’Connor examined Taffy and adjusted her. Immediately after the adjustment, Taffy started running around in circles, her eyes brightened up, and she was acting as if she felt young again! She was also deaf since 8 years old and after her adjustment, her ears started to move again as though she could hear some sound. After that, Taffy was regularly adjusted to help her get some more movement in her back legs and to alleviate any pain. Dr. O’Connor is forever thankful for chiropractic, because of it, Taffy was able to stick around with her for some extra time, and was healthy and happy. Sadly, the day came when Taffy had to leave her in April 2010. You could see it in Taffy’s eyes that she was ready and just getting tired in her old age. Dr. O’Connor knew their journey together was coming to an end and spent the day outside with Taffy in the warm spring sun and she passed away peacefully on her own later that night at 15 1/2 years old.

Finding a Licensed Practitioner

If you seek chiropractic care for your pet, it’s important to find a practitioner who is licensed for small animals.

Human chiropractors can become licensed to treat pets, but only after special training, since people have an entirely different biochemical system than pets. Insure the practitioner you choose to care for your dog or cat, whether it’s a veterinarian or a chiropractor, is certified to perform chiropractic on animals.

You can search for a certified animal chiropractor in your area at the American Veterinary Chiropractor Association and/or the College of Animal Chiropractic.

Source: Mercola.com January 21, 2012

Related Links:

Holistic veterinarians, pet chiropractors and pet acupuncturists who are animal trained should all be part of your pet’s health team!

April 6, 2012 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dog Chiropractor Helps Dogs Retain Mobility

COOS BAY, Ore. —  Rox Ann Kight can barely mask the pain in her voice when she talks about her Labrador-golden retriever mix Odie.

Original Article Posted on Fox News on September 17, 2007 – Updated December 13, 2009

About three years ago, Odie developed trouble walking and the vet said the only choices were surgery at $750 or euthanasia.

“They thought something was wrong with his leg,” Kight said.

She wasn’t convinced. As the director of the Bandon-based Assistance Dog Network, she has trained hundreds of dogs as service dogs for the disabled and currently cares for 15 dogs.

On the advice of another dog owner, she took Odie to Dr. Edward Lanway in downtown Coos Bay.

“(Odie) hobbled in here on three legs,” Knight said. “Within two sessions with the doctor” Odie could walk and run, she added.

Lanway is not a veterinarian. He’s a chiropractor.

Today, Odie serves as a currency-sniffing dog for the Department of Homeland Security at the Miami airport.

“People usually come to me because the veterinarians have given up on them,” Lanway said.

Lanway has treated thousands of human patients. Twelve years ago, he began working on dogs and has 15 to 20 regular canine customers.

Often, dog owners end up seeing Lanway themselves.

“I put down the dog’s name as the referral on our form,” Lanway said.

Assistance Dog Network Trainer Krista Llewellyn brings her dog, Prescott, to see Lanway about every six weeks. Two years ago, Prescott, a golden retriever, could barely walk. In addition to hip dysplasia, he had what vets called “growing pains” the result of rapid early growth, she said.

“He would cry out in the night from the pain,” Llewellyn added.

Prescott washed out of the service dog training program at eight months. Vets suggested euthanasia.

After an eight-week program with Lanway Prescott could run and play with other dogs. He now serves as a reading therapy dog at the Bandon Public Library.

“There is such a dramatic change in the dogs both mentally and physically,” Kight said.

Lanway works on dogs in the presence of their owners in an examination room in the back of his office. During the exam, he peppers an owner with questions about the dog’s habits and lifestyle to get a better sense of a plan of treatment.

Lanway uses the same techniques on dogs that he uses on his human patients, feeling for and treating tension points along a dog’s hindquarters, back and spine.

Laws governing chiropractors’ work on animals vary by state. Oregon’s only stipulation is that chiropractors treating animals must have a prescription from a veterinarian.

Lanway would like to see more regulation. Even thought it is not required by Oregon law, he took additional courses to work on dogs, he explained.

Lanway said some dogs are too old or too far along to respond to treatment.

“No treatment is 100 percent,” he added.

But Kight says the $30 charge per visit is worthwhile.

“It’s the best preventative medicine,” Kight said. “(Lanway) has saved a lot of dogs.”

Since this article pet/animal chiropractic care is becoming more and more available and is extending both the length and quality of pets’ lives.  Consider a chiropractor or acupuncturist for your pet before major surgery and definitely before euthanasia.

Posted:  Just One More Pet

December 13, 2009 Posted by | animal behavior, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Success Stories | , , , , | 2 Comments

Titan the Great Dane named world’s tallest dog

‘Gentle soul’ is blind, deaf and epileptic — and he stands 42.25 inches high

updated 7:23 a.m. PT, Fri., Nov . 13, 2009

LOS ANGELES – The Guinness Book of World Records officially says an ailing 4-year-old Great Dane named Titan from San Diego is the world’s tallest dog.

Owner Diana Taylor says Titan is blind, deaf, epileptic and undergoes acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments every three weeks.

He is also a gentle soul who is often mistaken by young children as a horse.

The announcement came during a ceremony Thursday.

Taylor says Titan stands 42.25 inches from floor to shoulder, weighs 190 pounds and doesn’t stand on his hind legs because it isn’t good for him.

Titan took over the title from Gibson, a 7-year-old harlequin Great Dane from Grass Valley who died earlier this year after battling bone cancer.

November 18, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Just One More Pet, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment