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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

Taking Away More Liberties: WI Pet Ordinance Forces Homeowners to Choose — Your Pet or Your House

Wasau Wisconsin Pet Ordinance Limits Number of Pets Homeowners Can Keep | James and Melissa Lecker

Melissa and James Lecker

Posted on March 15, 2012 at 5:03pm by Tiffany GabbayTiffany Gabbay to the Blaze

In a push many see as a gross infringement on one’s personal liberties, a small Wisconsin town is forcing homeowners who keep more than the town’s “permitted” allotment of pets a choice: Give up your animals, or give up your house.

takinglibertiesdog.jpgJames and Melissa Lecker take their dogs for a walk near their Wausau, Wis., home.

This is the dilemma currently being faced by one couple — James and Melissa Lecker — who, unbeknownst to them, moved to Wausau with four dogs.

For Melissa, there was no “choice.”

“These dogs are our family. They’re like our children,” she said.

In Wausau, homeowners are not permitted to have more than three cats, gerbils and rabbits or two dogs.

Melissa told Fox News she was in disbelief when a police officer showed up to her door to inform her that she was subject to a $100 per day fine for being over her dog “limit.”

“I had never heard of anything like that,” she said.

“They told us that the ordinance clearly states they [City council] cannot work with us… that it’s either two dogs or that you have to move, as you can’t have four dogs here.”

Meanwhile, the town’s officials said their hands are tied as the “ordinance doesn’t allow for variance.”

According to Fox, Jeff Gold, a municipal attorney from New Jersey, said the law makes sense when it comes to dogs:

“They smell. They bark. They have excrement,” said Gold.

“You’re not punishing [the Leckers], he explains. “You’re regulating society.” Wow!!  Progressive alert!

No one from Wausau, including Mayor James Tipple returned reporters calls for comment.

Melissa says she has put her house on the market and is prepared to take a $15,000 loss in order to keep her dogs.

“I hope we can work something out,” she told Fox. “But they are just being so mean. My dogs didn’t bother anyone.”

Watch the report HERE, courtesy of Fox

Melissa and James Lecker

Melissa and James Lecke

I too would fight for my pups and would take a $15,000 loss on my house.  Pets are part of your family… They are forever!  Good for James and Melissa Lecker.

These ordinances will become more and more prevalent if we do not stand-up.  They already are in towns, cities, and states with large Progressive populations like California and primarily San Francisco (who tell you who, what kind and how many), New York, large pockets of Wisconsin and the list goes on.  They are also prevalent Internationally, from China to Europe and even pockets of New Zealand, a wide open country where there are more sheep than people. Progressives hope to regulate every moment and action of everyone’s life for their idea of “the greater good”.  Every single day we are losing rights and liberties.  Time to take a stand for pets, for parental rights (of two and 4 legged kids), for individual liberties, for the inalienable rights we are all entitled to in all circumstances.

The Lecker’s situation is not an isolated case by any means.  I was personally involved in a situation in Leisure World in CA where they changed their restriction to 1 cat or 1 dog per unit (ridiculous in a community where pets are sometimes the only friends and love its residents have).  An elderly lady living there had promised her friend and neighbor that she would take her dog if anything ever happened to her because she had no family.  Right before her friend’s death LW initiated a policy of 1 pet and left a poor dying woman to fret over her beloved pet and companion in her last hours and then left her elderly friend in a position to either sell or rent out her home in Leisure World and move to keep her word and take care of her friend’s dog or try to find a home for the pup before it had to go to the shelter or rescue and probably be put down (senior dogs are hard to place).

Nobody is advocating hoarding (which is an illness and wouldn’t be stopped by laws) but good pet parents can and should be allowed to have 4 or 5 dogs, especially if they own a house, or a combination of 6 dogs and cats plus a bird, gerbils, turtles, fish etc.  Each case should be an individual matter and should only be of concern if there is a problem.  And then it should be based on ability to care for the pets in question and the circumstances.  For some people 1 pet is too much.  For most people 2 to 4 are plenty but for some 6 to 10 are perfect.  I have been to people’s houses that only have one pet (or one baby) and you can smell the litter box or diapers the second you walk in and there is a mess or fur/feathers (or dust) on the furniture. I have several friends with between 4 to 8 pets whose houses are no different than the ‘average house’; with either no pets, just kids or a just a couple of each.  And on the extreme, I had an acquaintance that was a vet tech and worked for the local vet that took in strays and hardship cases who had 23 pets, and probably fostered another 100 until permanent homes could be found, and her house was immaculate.  Today it is pets, tomorrow it will be children, activities, food, where you can live, what you can drive, how many vehicles you can own and the list will go on endlessly unless we stand up!

Our shelters are over-flowing because of the tough economic times added to by limit laws like in Wausau.  Everyone who can and wants to should be able to adopt just one or two more pets instead of continuing the flood of euthanization.

Please help the Leckers take a stand by calling, emailing and writing the City Council of Wausau as well as the Chamber of Commerce, Marathon County and state offices of Wisconsin.  I would suggest a call to Jeff Gold, the municipal attorney from New Jersey.  Today Wausau, tomorrow your town… your state… your neighborhood.

I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it." -Abraham Lincoln

Related:

STOP Los Angeles and Other Major Cities from Unreasonable Pet Limit Laws and Restrictions

Southfield Implements Limit on Cats – Over Reaction!

Pet-Limit Laws Unconstitutional

Massachusetts Town Puts Limits on Cat Ownership

Adopt Just One More…MV Temporarily Reduced Adoption Fees

And here we thought Chicago’s attempt to pass a five-dog limit was controversial!

Shocking Report…Gov’t to decide what pets you can own – Episode 006

Adopt Just One More Pet… MV Shelter Reduces Cat and Kitten Adoption Fees Until Sept 27th – Good Job MV!

Homeless With Pets… Choosing Pets Over Shelter

Is Your Pet a Voiceless Victim of the Tanking Economy?

Chinese City’s “One Dog” Policy Has Residents Howling

Florida’s Idea of Cat Population Control

Humane Society list of pet financial aid-related organizations

Where there is a will…

Declaration of the No Kill Movement in the United States

This is in America: No Mercy: Calf Farm Cruelty Exposed We Are Still Euthanizing 4 Million Dogs Plus Additional Pets in Shelters in America Every Year… And We Allow the Murder of 3,700 Unborn Human Babies Per Day Through Abortion

Again, please help the Leckers take a stand by calling, emailing and writing the City Council of Wausau as well as the Chamber of Commerce, Marathon County and state offices of Wisconsin. I would suggest a call to Jeff Gold, the Progressive municipal attorney from New Jersey as well. Today Wausau, tomorrow your town… your state… your neighborhood.

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Change Number of Pet Restrictive Laws. Ordinances and Rules, Dogs, Dogs, Help Familie Keep Their Pets, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Owner's Rights, Pets, Political Change, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Is Your Pet a Voiceless Victim of the Tanking Economy?

More than 1 million dogs and cats are at risk for becoming homeless, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) believes.

In response to a request from DVM Newsmagazine, ASPCA officials estimate that 500,000 to 1 million cats and dogs in the country could be given up by their owners for economic reasons.

Why the huge disparity? Many shelters are not equipped to accurately report numbers and reasons for relinquishments, says Alison M. Zaccone, manager of media and communications at ASPCA.

“Economic issues aside, it is estimated that 5 million companion animals enter shelters each year,” Zawistowski adds.

“If you factor in the animals merely in danger of becoming homeless, it could result in an extra 10 percent to 20 percent increase in relinquishments to shelters. This has the potential to grow into a serious animal-welfare issue, and some regions of the United States, like Nevada — where the foreclosure rates are three times the national average  could be hit much harder than others.”

Source:  Dr. Mercola – Healthy Pets

——-

Up to 1 million pets at risk during economic crisis

New York– More than 1 million dogs and cats are at risk for becoming homeless, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) believes.

In response to a request from DVM Newsmagazine, ASPCA officials estimate that 500,000 to 1 million cats and dogs in the country could be given up by their owners for economic reasons.

Why the huge disparity? Many shelters are not equipped to accurately report numbers and reasons for relinquishments, says Alison M. Zaccone, manager of media and communications at ASPCA.

“According to national financial estimates, approximately one in 171 homes in the United States is in danger of foreclosure due to the subprime mortgage crisis,” adds Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, executive vice president of ASPCA programs and its science advisor, in a prepared statement. “Considering that approximately 63 percent of U.S. households have at least one or more pets, hundreds of thousands of animals are in danger of being abandoned or relinquished to animal shelters.

“Economic issues aside, it is estimated that 5 million companion animals enter shelters each year,” Zawistowski adds. “If you factor in the animals merely in danger of becoming homeless, it could result in an extra 10 percent to 20 percent increase in relinquishments to shelters. This has the potential to grow into a serious animal-welfare issue, and some regions of the United States, like Nevada – where the foreclosure rates are three times the national average – could be hit much harder than others.”

Originally Posted: Feb 5, 2009
By: Daniel R. Verdon – DVM NEWSMAGAZINE

——

In October 2008, an article appeared in The Denver Post about a woman who tried to poison her dog with an overdose of anti-anxiety pills. When it didn’t die, she shot it four times with a .22 caliber handgun.

Animal cruelty?

Yes, but at its roots, sheer desperation…

Paula Harding, age 33, told police she couldn’t afford a veterinarian due to financial problems, nor could she afford euthanasia for her sick 15-year-old terrier/poodle mix. She called her dog a “good friend” and felt she had no other option. Now, on top of her financial difficulties, she faces animal cruelty charges.

The Grim Reality

Sad cases like this are turning up all over the country. On May 28 a big semi pulled into my veterinary practice after-hours and begged the last remaining staff person to please take their ill cat. They were passing through the area and felt we may be compassionate enough to euthanize their sick cat for free. Otherwise, they told my employee, they would be forced to dump her paralyzed body along a busy street, hoping someone would find her and be able to afford a humane euthanasia.

Pets are the voiceless victims of the tanking economy and are frequently abandoned at shelters or even left behind in foreclosed homes.

Some of these abandoned and starving animals aren’t being discovered until real estate agents come to show the property, many days or weeks later. There are tales of dogs being found in state parks, cats left on doorsteps in cat carriers, and animals simply abandoned on the street.

People are having to choose between feeding their children and feeding their pets, and pets are losing. As the cost of food and healthcare rises, so does pet food and veterinary care.

So many people are feeling forced to abandon their animals that a new term is being used: “foreclosure pets.” The number of foreclosure pets is increasing while the donations and offers for housing are decreasing.

According to the New Haven Register, shelter and rescue operations are up by 15 or 20 percent, in some cases more. The number of people adopting is dropping in some areas, but increasing in others…a small bright spot in the story.

Donna Miles of Bella Vista Animal Shelter reported she receives two or three calls per day from pet owners who are no longer capable of caring for them. These calls used to come from folks who had been through divorce and could not keep their pets, but lately, the foreclosure crisis is the cause, although owners are often reluctant and embarrassed to talk about it.

Another shelter owner said the animals she used to receive were scruffy and underfed, but of late, she is receiving animals that are obviously well loved and well cared for. These pets are arriving shelters, complete with cat trees, litter boxes, favorite toys and photo albums.

This is such a heart-breaking testament to the anguish people must face in having to part with their devoted companions.

Big Hearts Are Stepping Up

Many shelters are seeing an increase in donations and adoptions. Instead of taking a vacation, some animal lovers are rescuing an abandoned pet instead.

Pet food banks are emerging in many neighborhoods.

Organizations are popping up everywhere to help with the pet crisis. An organization called No Paws Left Behind helps people find new lodging for their animals, trying to work with pet owners before the foreclosure takes place.

One of their main goals is to educate people about the types of shelters they’re selecting. Many have a No Kill policy in place. However, shelters without a No Kill policy are responsible for euthanizing more than 12 million dogs and cats each year.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) created a grant program in March 2008 to help with the foreclosure pets. Grants ranged from $500 to 2,000 per organization.

However, due to financial constraints, they had to temporarily close the Foreclosure Pets Fund as of May 4, 2009. Unfortunately, there are more dogs than dollars.

What You Can Do

The Humane Society website has some excellent suggestions for pet owners who are facing economic hardship. Here are some of their suggestions, and a few additional thoughts:

  1. Plan ahead. There are folks who can help you find animal friendly housing, but you must not wait until you are homeless to get your ducks in a row (or your cats and dogs). Check ads and contact real estate agents at least six weeks before you have to move. Contact your local Humane Society office, which sometimes keeps a list of pet-friendly apartments. Gather proof that you’re responsible. Once you have permission from a landlord, get it in writing.
  2. Be proactive. It is unlikely you’ll be able to rent a small apartment with 6 animals in tow. Try to find homes for your animals yourself. What about friends and family? What about a local shelter? People at church?
  3. Don’t be shy—ask for help. Reach out to fellow dog and cat owners. Put the word out. Ask your neighbors to help. Even contact a news organization!
  4. Let your vet know. He or she might be able to help by offering a discount, and by prescribing only the most vital vaccination (the only vaccine required by law is rabies vaccine) to keep your pet healthy. And vets are usually knowledgeable about local community resources.
  5. Keep the faith. There are a lot of good people out there who are looking for ways to help. Once you are on your feet again, you may be able to retrieve your pet.
  6. DON’T leave your pet behind, no matter what. No matter how hard it is to cope or how overwhelmed you are, please don’t leave your pets in your house when you move out. It can be weeks before the lender or a realtor comes to the house and finds Fluffy slowly starving inside.

If you are considering adding a pet to your life, please consider rescuing a homeless pet from a shelter, instead of buying a puppymill pet from a store. Or, if you want a slightly different experience, you might be interested in becoming a foster care volunteer for a homeless dog or cat.

The bottom line is, our pets are in need of bailout, far more than our banks. You can make a difference, and the first step is getting educated on the issues.

Our pets, who bring us many years of happiness and devotion and good health, are completely dependent on us. Don’t let them suffer in silence any longer.

Good Animal Welfare Organizations

The following is a list of animal welfare organizations that are actively involved in lessening the impact of this economic crisis on our furry friends.

Related Posts:

Posted:  Just One More Pet

August 21, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

The “ex”-Middle & Upper Class Homeless

I originally read the article below on Cnn.com last May about women who have become homeless and are living in their cars with their pets, one lady has four cats and another lady has 2 dogs. I posted the story below at that time on a personal blog of mine. Then lately I saw a TV news story about how this situation is getting worse daily and that Santa Barbara has designated 3 large parking lots where people who are homeless can park over night… with pets, children and what little is left of their belongings.

Kudos to the people who have kept their pets with them, but I think it is time for Santa Barbara and cities all over the country to look at other options for these people and thousands of others, that include their pets.

SANTA BARBARA, California (CNN) — Barbara Harvey climbs into the back of her small Honda sport utility vehicle and snuggles with her two golden retrievers, her head nestled on a pillow propped against the driver’s seat.

art.sleeping.cnn.jpg

Californian Barbara Harvey says she is forced to sleep in her car with her dogs after losing her job earlier this year.

A former loan processor, the 67-year-old mother of three grown children said she never thought she’d spend her golden years sleeping in her car in a parking lot.

“This is my bed, my dogs,” she said. “This is my life in this car right now.”

Harvey was forced into homelessness this year after being laid off. She said that three-quarters of her income went to paying rent in Santa Barbara, where the median house in the scenic oceanfront city costs more than $1 million. She lost her condo two months ago and had little savings as backup.

“It went to hell in a handbasket,” she said. “I didn’t think this would happen to me. It’s just something that I don’t think that people think is going to happen to them, is what it amounts to. It happens very quickly, too.”

Harvey now works part time for $8 an hour, and she draws Social Security to help make ends meet. But she still cannot afford an apartment, and so every night she pulls into a gated parking lot to sleep in her car, along with other women who find themselves in a similar predicament. Video Watch women who live in their cars »

There are 12 parking lots across Santa Barbara that have been set up to accommodate the growing middle-class homelessness. These lots are believed to be part of the first program of its kind in the United States, according to organizers.

And there are others living in cars with their children…

August 14, 2008 Posted by | Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments