Our Dog’s Struggle with Incontinence

Ever since our doberman was 2-3 years old, incontinence had been a problem for her. Jenna came to us from the Doberman Rescue in our area and she was very hyper and had many skin problems from the start.

We had taken her to the vet on several occasions for what started as minor leaking and incontinence. Our original veterinarian was a traditional vet and offered the standard drug “Proin” for dog’s with incontinence issues.

While the Proin initially helped, she had other signs that started to progress as well. Her skin was flaky and her coat was coarse, thinning and she was balding in several spots. She also had thin wrinkled skin as well as a pot belly and this is where she got her nick name “jelly belly” 😮

It’s important to understand that I’m extremely cautious and particular about our dog’s diet and the quality of food that I feed them. In fact, I often coach others on diets for their dogs.  This is what made this situation even more baffling for me. When dogs lack or continue to eat a poor diet, there skin will show some of the same signs that Jenna was having; but my girl eats very premium foods and treats and supplements better than my own.

As time went on her incontinence grew worse even while taking Proin and grew to the point that she would soil her bed completely. We were letting her out at least once every two hours. So, back to the vet we went and the doctor suggested a thyroid test in which we agreed. The test for hypothyroidism came back normal (at least that’s what this vet indicated) and decided to up her Proin medication for incontinence.

Although I new that spay incontinence is common in female dobermans, I was frustrated because I felt that we were just masking her symptoms without really knowing the real cause. Since I couldn’t seem to get any other results and the vet didn’t seem to be alarmed, I decided that we would just have to deal with it.

She stayed on the Proin and we purchased some dog diapers for her and continued to let her out like we had been. Things grew worse for Jenna and she started losing weight; she was ravenous and didn’t want to play at all. For those of you that might not know, Doberman’s are at a high risk of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (a heart condition) as well as Cushings Disease and Hypothyroidism. Both Cushings Disease and Hypothyroidism may include incontinence symptoms. However, Hypothyroidism symptoms often mimic those of other diseases.

So now Jenna was on a higher dose of Proin for incontinence which was doing very little and she was still leaking continuously. I decided it was time to see a holistic veterinarian. The only reason that I hadn’t before this was the drive, but now I felt that it was absolutely necessary and I’m glad that I did.


Jenna’s Holistic Vet

Despite the fact that Jenna was already tested, the doctor ran a complete 6 panel thyroid test on Jenna and also did an Electrocardiogram (EKG) to check her heart.  Update 12/29/12:  Jenna was diagnosed with Cardio Dilated Myopathy (extremely common in dobes) and placed on supplemental heart medication.

The thyroid test came back showing that Jenna does indeed have Hypothyroidism. The point that I want to make to anyone reading this is that — traditional veterinarians typically do not run a complete 6 panel thyroid test and if they do, most are not knowledgeable of “Borderline” or “Low-Normal” Hypothyroidism. What this means is that the vet may tell you that the dog’s thyroid is normal, when in reality, it’s not.

The holistic vet placed Jenna on Soloxine which is a very common medication for Hypothyroidism. Unfortunately, Jenna showed no improvement at all. The vet then placed her on Thyrolar 1 and BINGO — Jenna’s incontinence improved and her skin and coat look 100% better. Her ravenous hunger also improved and she was like a new dog. I do have to say that Jenna is still currently on the prescription medicine Proin, but doing very well and no longer leaking while on the Proin. 😮

Is It The Thyroid – Get The Results Right The First Time

My recommendation for anyone who suspects that their dog has a thyroid issue — is to go directly through a holistic vet and avoid traditional veterinarians completely or go through Dr. Jean Dodd’s at Hemopet. She is considered the best regarding diagnosing dogs with Hypothyroidism. She is located in California, but receives samples from all over the world. Dr. Dodd’s will personally analyze your dog’s test and include her own comments. She will also talk with you over the phone for free, should you have questions regarding your dog’s thyroid panel and she’ll consult with your vet on recommended dosages too.

Don’t be intimidated about asking your vet to draw blood for a complete 6 panel thyroid test and send it to Dr. Dodd’s if you still want to use your traditional vet. Most vet’s won’t have a problem with this, since they typically draw the blood and send it to a lab anyway. They’ll just be sending it to her instead.

You will find excellent information on hypothyroidism in dogs as well as a link to print out the copies for Dr. Dodd’s. The copies must be given to your own Veterinarian so that they can include them with the blood work when they send it on to her.

You can check out my article regarding the latest treatment for canine incontinence.

Have you run into this kind of situation or a similar problem with incontinence in your dog?

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Showing 11 comments
  • Alice Grayson

    this article was helpful…i was worried about our donor Lisa as she was gaining weight and urinating while she was laying down. I pulled some blood and sent it off for a full panel thyroid….got the results back And she was wayyy hypothroid so I put her on soloxine.as well as Phenylpropanolamine. she improved somewhat but is starting to leak again. I always suspected she had heart issues but when I listen to her She sounds great…but that doesn’t neccessarily mean anything….think I’m going to take her up to clinic and xray her chest and look into a veterinary cardio workup now…just have to track down a cardiologist lol

    • yourolddog

      Hi Alice:

      I’m glad that you found the article helpful. If your girl is hypothyroid; I would definitely include some dandelion in her daily diet. Just a little. 🙂


  • Debra

    My son has a Wiemaraner that is over weight because my husband won’t stop feeding her human food. She was diagnosed with hyperthyroid disease, the meds didn’t work and he stopped buying the meds. She has in her adult yrs. always had skin problems which I believe are from allergies.

    She is 7 yrs old now, has black patches and I believe tags. Her stools are mostly runny and has had blood in her stool before. Could this be yeast in her intestines causing all her problems? I read the patches can also be cancerous.

    Please help I am at my wits end, Thanks.

    • admin

      Hi Debra:
      I’m sorry to hear about your dog. How long was your dog on medication and why did your husband say that it wasn’t working? When your dog is diagnosed with either Hypo-thyroidism or Hyper-thyroidism – your dog MUST, MUST, MUST be on medication. The thyroid controls so much within the body. If you’re not giving your dog the proper meds, diet and supplements, then she is NOT going to get any better, but progressively worse.

      The black patches could be due to yeast, but the yeast is most likely due to thyroid issues and not being medicated. I highly recommend that you place your dog on the proper meds for her thyroid problem, then start working on her diet by feeding a good quality food such as Grandma Lucy’s which is very close to home made but you simply add warm water, and add a can of Wellness Ninety Five Percent to it daily. You must include fatty acids such as a high grade fish oil or cold pressed flax seed oil daily. You must also start her on a very good probiotic and keep her on it for life.

      If your dog does indeed have a yeast infection (and she might) then you need to clear that up and continue with the diet, supplement and prescription meds that I mentioned above. What are her ears and paws like (between the toes) and does she have anal gland problems (scooting, licking, etc.)?

      I highly recommend that you take your girl to a holistic vet in your area and talk with them about the fact that she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. This is not to be taken lightly and you should never withhold meds when your dog has a thyroid problem. There is a combination of many factors contributing to her skin issues and the first one is her thyroid; second is no meds; third is poor diet and 4th is lack of much needed supplements.

      Janie 😮

  • Faith Roach

    Another option for incontinence is a decongestant called ENTEX LA. I too, had a female doberman who experienced extreme incontinence and was originally prescribed Stilbesterol which worked wonders. Stopped it completely but due to a move we had to change vets and our new vet wanted to take her off the Stilbesterol and put her on ENTEX LA and this also worked like a miracle. This same vet also did not believe in yearly vaccinations as she said the animals usually still have immunity. She would check every year with a simple blood test to see whether they needed a vaccination booster or not. I was always able to purches ENTEX LA at the pharmacy counter at Wal-Mart.

    • admin

      Hi Faith:
      Thanks alot for sharing your comment. I never heard of it. Do you have any idea why the vet chose to put your dobe on ENTEX LA vs PROIN which is the standard drug of choice for dogs with incontinence? Just curious if she felt it was safer, etc.?

      I love when people share comments like this, because it truly can help someone else in need. Thanks again Faith. 😮 ~Janie – Admin.

  • admin

    Hi Eve:
    I was feeding Jenna raw at one point, but my holistic vet wanted her on a freeze dried formula, but I think it’s because she had other issues such as heart and kidney (failure). So her immune system was already weakened. She has improved a great deal though.

    Thyroid issues are such a huge problem in the way that traditional veterinarians read the results. Dog owners go home thinking the dog doesn’t have a thyroid issue – when he does. The thyroid regulates every cell in the body and when it’s off, the body can’t correct itself. So until a vet corrects the thyroid problem, the dog will still have problems no matter the quality or formula of the food.

    I’m with you Eve, I prefer holistic for both myself and my dogs whenever possible. This isn’t to say that conventional medicine doesn’t have a place, it does. However, I prefer the natural-holistic approach first and any chemicals (medicines) as a last resort.

    I’m really glad to hear that you have an understanding vet. Not long ago, my dog’s vet was a conventional vet and she was the most understanding and dog loving vet I ever knew. Just my luck, she decided to become a nun…… This was devastating for me – I trusted her as a doctor and as a friend.

  • Dillons Mom

    Most vets say a thyroid reading anywhere from 2-4 is normal. Those of us who know, say 2 is very low! Dillon’s was extremely low when he came to me and he was on kibble probably equal to Old Roy or something like that. I was feeding Evo then but as he gained weight, consistently and had dirty ears, etc. T test time – he ballooned up to 92 lbs — YIKES! For a dog that’s 27″ at withers, on t med and reduced intake for about 2 or so months. He’s been ranging around 72 lbs since he was 2 or so. He was 16 months when adopted to me. Now Dillon is five.

  • Dillons Mom

    Janie, my older female Diva also had this problem……..what helped back then was getting her on Evo………….then when I switched to “raw’ no leaking problems even up to the day she went to the rainbow bridge. She was on the P A P pill, it did help but switching to Evo was the big solution…and other then Soloxine..which all 3 of my dobes haven’t had any issues with…fortuntely! I was able to get her off the P A P pill……with raw……….I don’t like meds, much prefer holistic…………..stopped having her vaxxed once she turned 10……..I have a wonderful understanding vet….whom I won’t name as I won’t get him in trouble.

    Dillon only gets 3 year rabies….and I’ll be soo please if and when Dr Rima finaly gets it thru the FDA’s heads that rabies shots are good for 7 or more years………we sadly vax kids animals waaay too much. Just my private feelings.


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