Incontinence during sleep is often triggered by hormonal imbalances and the muscular weakness that results. Medication therapy, in conjunction with diapering and regular washings, can help pet owners manage this ailment while preventing infections and discomfort.
Causes of Sleep Incontinence
Varying degrees of incontinence, or involuntary urination, is not uncommon in older animals, but one particularly problematic form of this condition occurs during sleep. Without proper treatment at home, this form of incontinence can lead to messy bedding and painful infection.
There are a couple of potential causes for this form of incontinence. A back injury can make the bladder difficult to control, particularly during sleep, and older animals are more prone to these sorts of injuries. And in female dogs – particularly middle-aged and older spayed females – hormonal imbalances trigger a weakening of the muscles used to control the bladder. So, when the animal is relaxed during sleep, you can see emptying of the bladder occur.
Treatment of Sleep Incontinence
Anti-inflammatory medications and surgery can often result in improvements for back injury-related incontinence, while medication, such as the drug Proin, is usually the most effective for treating incontinence that results from weakened muscles in the pelvic region.
In addition to drug therapies and other forms of treatment at the veterinarian’s office, properly handling this problem at home will greatly improve an incontinent animal’s quality of life.
When the skin is regularly exposed to the ammonia and other components of urine, you actually see the skin begin to break down. This results in open sores, infection, inflammation, fur loss, pain and since the skin’s exposure to the urine occurs on a daily basis, there’s no opportunity for healing. You will often end up with a chronic problem that can be extremely uncomfortable. There’s also a higher incidence of urinary tract and bladder infections in pets suffering from incontinence.
Diapering is one way to help avoid soiled bedding and damage to the pet’s skin. There are two types of diaper available: disposable diapers and reusable fabric diaper garments. Monitoring bedding to ensure that it remains dry and clean is also important.
Regular cleanings are another way to help prevent infection and irritation. Washing the pet’s groin area on a daily basis with an anti-bacterial soap can help prevent infection and skin break-down due to contact with the urine.
This is a condition where many cases are treatable, and essentially every case is manageable. It’s just a matter of knowing how to manage a pet’s incontinence. This can mean the difference between a dog who is constantly suffering from pain and discomfort from infections, and a dog who is happy and relatively healthy.