Spaying-related urinary incontinence and oestrogen therapy in the bitch

Risk factors affecting spay-related incontinence, its prevalence in bitches, and effectiveness of treatment with oestrogen therapy

source: Veronesi MC, Rota A, Battocchio M, Faustini M, and Mollo A.
Acta Veterinaria Hungarica vol 57 no 1, March 2009
starts p171, 12 pages long

Spaying has been linked to urinary incontinence in bitches, but not enough is known about why this can happen. Studying a large sample of spayed bitches can help clarify the issues. The sample in this study comprised 750 bitches which had undergone either ovariectomy or ovariohysterectomy, of which 5% were affected by urinary incontinence. Incontinence did not appear to be linked to the type of surgery, though other factors were found to be important. Larger bitches were more likely to be affected, and this was true whether they were mongrels or pedigree dogs. Affected bitches also tended to weigh more than 20 kg when they were operated on. There also appears to be a link between tail docking and spay-related incontinence. Bitches that were older when they were operated on appeared to show signs of spay-related incontince earlier than those operated on at a younger age. Oestrogen therapy can help affected bitches, and does not appear to have harmful side effects, though owners and vets need to co-operate for it to be effective.