The Best Treatment of Incontinence in Female Dogs (and their side-effects)

What drug should you choose to give a dog to treat incontinence? There are two main options but how do you decide on the best treatment for your dog. To answer this we need to know how effective each treatment is, what the side-effects are and how easy it is to medicate your dog.

So let's move onto question number three, and that's all about hormonal incontinence in a female dog.

How to treat incontinence in dogs

This question is about the different types of medication that we use and generally speaking, there are two different types. Which is the best one? How do we decide which is the best treatment of incontinence for your dog and which one do I recommend?

We've got a couple of different medications. One is called Propalin and one is an estrogen supplement.

Now both of these medications work well and are generally considered safe to give, although as with all medications there is the potential for side effects. But in my experience these are really very rare.

Side effects

Propalin can cause restlessness, it can cause aggression, irritability, and even high blood pressure. Estrogen treatment has the potential to be toxic to the bone marrow.

My preference

Now as for which one I recommend, I tend to recommend Propalin in most cases. It’s very much a personal preference and the reason I recommend this treatment to start with is for a couple of reasons. So although the side effects of either of these options is very rare, I feel that bone marrow problems are probably more severe and they have a greater potential to even be life threatening.

Like I say, if your dog is on an estrogen supplement for incontinence, the incidence of this side-effect is very uncommon and ideally we'd be monitoring for this as well with blood tests.

The other benefit for Propalin is that it comes in a liquid formulation rather than a tablet. This means that the dose can more easily be tapered to the lowest effective dose, and that's frequently a lot lower than the starting dose tends to be.

So that’s my reason for choosing Propalin but it may be that in your dog the estrogen treatment is more appropriate or you'll find it easier to administer. In reality it probably makes very little difference as to which one you choose if they’re both suitable for your dog given their medical history and any other conditions that they’re suffering with.

And then if one fails to work as expected, I would have no concerns about switching to the other drug in the majority of dogs.

The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr. Alex Answers Show” podcast.

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