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Urinary Incontinence

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Other medical problems can lead to symptoms similar to those encountered in pets with urinary incontinence. These disorders should be excluded before establishing a diagnosis of urinary incontinence.

Neurologic problems can cause urinary incontinence and can be divided into the following:

  • Problems affecting voluntary control of urination, which are upper motor neuron problems. These include cerebral, cerebellar, brainstem and spinal cord lesions.

  • Problems affecting the local nervous reflex arc that directly controls urination, which are lower motor neuron problems. These include trauma, tumor, infarcts, and nerve injuries.

    A variety of non-neurologic problems can cause urinary incontinence including:

  • Hormone-responsive incontinence, which are estrogen-responsive incontinence in female cats and testosterone-responsive in male cats

  • Urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence

  • Congenital defects, such as a misplaced ureteral opening or ectopic ureter present at birth

  • Overflow incontinence due to partial urethral obstruction

  • Muscle disorders of the bladder, as an over-active or under-active bladder muscle

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