Urinary incontinence is a common condition in dogs and cats. It occurs when your pet can’t control their bladder, which can make them urinate outside of their litter box or other areas of the house.
This can be frustrating for both you and your pet, but fortunately, there are treatments available!
The good news is that the condition can be treated and managed with readily available medications. Before we delve deeper, let’s first take a closer look at incontinence in pets.
What Is Urinary Incontinence in Dogs and Cats?
Urinary incontinence is a condition in which the pet cannot control urination. The urine may dribble when your cat or dog is standing or sleeping, or they may leak urine if they are not able to get to the litter tray.
It is important to note that this can be caused by medical issues so it is always best to consult your vet if you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior.
What Causes Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the uncontrollable discharge of urine. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including the following:
- Urinary tract infection (UTI) – A UTI occurs when bacteria enter your cat’s bladder and cause an infection. Symptoms include frequent urination, blood in their urine, and painful urination.
- Spinal cord injury or damage to the nerves that control the bladder muscles. This can result from spinal trauma or a disease such as diabetes mellitus, which affects blood flow through the body’s tissues.
- Bladder stones that may become lodged in the urethra (the tube leading out of your pet’s penis or vulva). If left untreated, these stones will eventually cause obstruction of urine flow and can lead to bacterial infections within your pet’s bladder tissue itself—a condition is known as urolithiasis. Urethral sphincter incompetence (USI), or poor function of this muscle.
- Urinary tract cancer – This type of cancer is rare but treatable if caught early enough.
Other Reasons of Urinary Incontinence
Other causes of incontinence in pets include urethral sphincter muscle dysfunction (USM), which means the muscles around the urethra are unable to contract properly and prevent urine from leaking out. USM can develop for a number of reasons, such as:
- Degenerative changes in the pelvic floor muscles as a result of aging
- Congenital defects in the urethra or bladder neck
- Spinal cord injury
A number of neurological diseases can also lead to urinary incontinence, including degenerative myelopathy (DM) and spinal injury. DM usually presents itself with more severe neurologic signs than those seen with other causes of incontinence, like dementia or stroke.
Treatment Options for Urinary Incontinence – Proin (Phenylpropanolamine)
Proin is the most common drug used to treat urinary incontinence in dogs and cats. Proin urinary chewable tablets contain phenylpropanolamine, an active ingredient also known as sympathomimetic amine (SAM).
Proin works by acting on receptors in the brain that control blood pressure and heart rate, as well as by reducing urine production. It works by enhancing bladder contractions and reduces the amount of urine produced by your pet’s body.
How Does Proin work?
The active ingredient in Proin is phenylpropanolamine, which is used to treat urinary incontinence in dogs. Proin works by activating the adrenal receptors, which increases the dog’s heart rate and improves blood flow.
This helps to relieve the symptoms of bladder dysfunction or urethral sphincter incompetence.
This reaction, known as vasoconstriction, is the constriction of blood vessels and it occurs near the bladder muscles. Doing this strengthens the pet’s urethral sphincter and prevents urine leakage.
What Are the Potential Side Effects of Proin (Phenylpropanolamine)?
You should talk to your veterinarian about the potential side effects of Proin, which include:
- Increased heart rate. This can make your pet more likely to have a stroke or heart attack.
- Increased blood pressure. This can cause dangerous conditions such as hypertension and damage to the kidneys and other organs in the body.
- Sweating, tremors, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headache (especially in older dogs). These may be signs of low blood pressure caused by too much phenylpropanolamine in their system.
- Dry mouth (which can lead to tooth decay) and increased appetite (which could result in weight gain).
There are many different treatment options available for urinary incontinence in dogs and cats. The most common is Proin (Phenylpropanolamine). Proin works by decreasing the amount of urine that is produced, which helps reduce the frequency of urination and associated leakage.