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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 29809
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Hi. I have a 2 yr old entire dog who has slight incontinence.

Customer Question

Hi. I have a 2 yr old entire dog who has slight incontinence. (Drips on and off throughout the day)
Is there anything that can be done and what are the success rates? If medication would this be something covered by insurance. He seems so young to have this problem. I have read that it is most likely in old spayed females, the complete opposite! Thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry to hear of this with your dog. There are quite a few causes of urinary incontinence in a young male dog. In very young dogs, congenital disorders are more likely such as ectopic ureter (anatomically incorrect plumbing). In general, we consider both neurogenic and non-neurogenic etiologies. Neurogenic etiologies involve disorders in the spinal cord or peripheral nerves innervating the urinary tract. Non-neurogenic etiologies can have an anatomical basis such as ectopic ureter or a functional basis such as urinary tract infection or over-filling of the bladder by polydipsia (increased thirst).

Any dog such as he should have a complete medical history (notably to assess the possibility of behavioral causes and determine whether polyuria (increased volume of urine) or pollakiuria (abnormally frequent urination) is present; a physical exam including abdominal palpation, rectal palpation of the prostate, neurologic exam, and examination of the genitalia and reproductive tract; a urinalysis; and a bacterial culture and sensitivity of the urine. Additional tests are selected based on results of these evaluations and may include monitoring response to treatment.

I would be putting the cart before the horse by prognosticating for you before I knew the cause of his incontinence. We need to differentiate his dripping pus and inflammatory fluid due to an infection of his prepuce (balanoposthitis) from dripping urine.

Yes, insurance should cover the cost of diagnostics and treatment to the extent of your policy limits. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

As he has had this as long as I can remember, (although I don't remember being aware of it when he was a puppy) I doubt it is a UTI although of course I am no vet! He has been on antibiotics at different times and it never stopped this.
If it was something like an ectopic ureter would surgery fix him do you think? Also is a problem like this likely to get worse with age if not treated?
He is not currently insured hence asking online first. He has cost us so much already as he has had several (unrelated) operations. He seems to be an unlucky dog. In 25yrs we have not had a dog like him and he is the first dog we decided not to insure. My husband wants to rehome him. I feel awful about it all. I am wondering if we took out new insurance it would cover this and I could fix him so that my husband would love him again. Sorry for the back story.
Ps. We are in the UK.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information. An ectopic ureter should have been apparent "from day 1" because it's a congenital (present at birth) defect. If present, yes, it can be surgically corrected in most cases. It doesn't worsen with age but does predispose to secondary infection. Unfortunately, an insurer would consider whatever ails him to be a pre-existing condition and so wouldn't cover the expense of diagnosing and treating him.

He would be a difficult dog to rehome. Ethically speaking, he should be "repaired" before rehoming. Please continue our conversation if you wish. It's late here now and I have to leave my computer but I promise to reply in the morning if need be.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for the quick reply. Your answer has confirmed what I was worried about. I think I need to speak to my vet and get an idea of what the costs might be so we can budget.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Yes, that would be prudent. I'm going to check back with you in a week for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'll speak to you soon.

Please disregard the info request.