My puppy has urinary incontinence and is itching her vagina

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Dr. Debra

I have a 1 year old Boston terrier/pitbull mix. I got her when she was 6 weeks old. She has always had urinary problems. She has been treated for bladder infections but it does not help. Her symptoms are that she has to urinate very frequently and suddenly.There are days she has to be taken out 4 times an hour. It also seems like she has no control of it coming out, she will be going to the door and just have to squat right there in the floor and do her business. She itches her vaginal area a lot. It looks to be swollen and red. She also does this thing where she puts her paw by her vaginal area and thrusts her body onto. It seems to be very uncomfortable to her, and the frequent trips outside are starting to be a real pain.I don't have a lot of money and can not pay the vet to do countless tests. I have already spent over $1000.00 on her since January for this same problem. Please help me narrow down what could be wrong with her?

Sarah Zumbrum


Hi Sarah – thanks for your email. Sorry to hear about your problem. It is hard to tell from your email and her symptoms if the problem is a bladder infection or urinary incontinence. I'm leaning more toward some sort of urinary incontinence with a secondary infection or local irritation problem.

There are several causes for urinary incontinence. Some dogs are born with some deformities (such as Ectopic Ureters) or neurologic problems, which can cause these types of signs. The problem is that there is no easy (or inexpensive) solution. It sounds like she was treated with antibiotics, which should have cleared up any type of infection. At this point, it seems that she may need some special tests to determine the underlying problem.

Her vagina and perineum area may be irritated because she has some urine scald and is often rubbing or licking.

Read the article on urinary incontinence and see if anything fits with your dogs specific symptoms. This article talks of the underlying causes for this problem that I mentioned.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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