Monthly Archives: January 2017


Urinary Incontinence in Dogs

What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence occurs when a house trained dog loses control of his or her bladder. This can range in severity from the occasional, small urine leaks to inadvertent voiding of large amounts of urine. This can be a frustrating situation for dog owners, regardless of the amount or frequent of "accidents." If you believe your dog is suffering from urinary incontinence, your first step should be to consult with your veterinarian who will work to determine a cause. It is important to rule out conditions that may require medical intervention, such as: urinary tract infection, hormonal imbalance, urinary stones, prostate disorders, diabetes, or kidney disease. Excessive urination can also be a side effect or certain medications.

What causes urinary incontinence?

Other known causes of urinary incontinence include: spinal injury, disc degeneration or a protruding intervertebral disc. It is these conditions in which chiropractic care can provide relief to both the dog and frustrated dog owners. One study has documented the association between segmental dysfunction in the lumbar region (low back) and urinary problems,  either retention or incontinence, in dogs. This association suggests a possible neurological explanation for the observed urinary problems. The nerves that supply the urinary bladder and urethra originate from the lumbar and sacral sections of the spinal cord. Segmental dysfunction of the joints in this area could cause swelling, leading to pressure on the nerves originating here, causing secondary problems like urinary incontinence. In dogs, the nerves originating in the L1 to L4 spinal cord segments provide the nerve supply to the bladder, whereas the nerve supply to the urethra originates in the sacrum, or tail bone.

How can Segmental Correction help?

Structural corrective chiropractic care focuses on locating and correcting segmental dysfunction in your pets spine. Finding and correcting the underlying cause of secondary conditions, such as urinary incontinence, not only provides your pet with a better quality of life, but can also eliminate the frustration that comes with frequent "accidents" in the house. Chiropractic should be viewed as a low-cost and non-invasive treatment option involving little to not discomfort. Contraindications for animal chiropractic are few, but they include vertebral or pelvic fractures and spinal tumors. Although not a contraindication, skill and diligence must be used with animals that have disc protrusion or prolapse or that have had previous back surgery. Animal chiropractic does not replace conventional veterinary care, rather it is complementary, as it addresses the structure and biomechanics of an animal and the secondary effects this has on the body's ability to function optimally.

  1. Thude, TR. Chiropractic abnormalities of the lumbar spine significantly associated with urinary incontinence and retention in dogs. Journal of Small Animal Practice. Vol 56. December 2015.
  2. Urinary Incontinence in Dogs. Retrieved on October 26, 2016.
  3. Taylor, LL and Romano, L. Veterinary chiropractic. The Canadian Veterinary Journal. Vol. 40 October 1999. 732-735.