How is inappropriate urination diagnosed?

Your vet will ask you a detailed history to determine the type of inappropriate urination that your dog is exhibiting:

  • Are they urinating a larger volume than normal, or is it short, small volumes?
  • Are they drinking more water, losing weight, not eating well or eating more than normal?
  • When or where does the inappropriate urination usually occur?

Veterinarians perform a variety of tests to evaluate a dog with incontinence in order to determine what is causing the problem. For most, vets will collect urine samples (known as a urinalysis) to check for bacteria, crystals, protein or blood. The urine will also be analyzed to ensure it is well concentrated. 

Neurological tests and examination of the tail and anal tone, spinal reflexes, and perineal sensations are also performed to check for any neurological disorders. In some cases, urethral catheterization is performed to collect urine and detect any obvious blockages or strictures. Cystoscopy is a specialised procedure that lets the veterinarian visibly identify any abnormalities within the urethra or bladder.

The list of tests for diagnosing the underlying cause of inappropriate urination are numerous. Your vet may ask you some of the following questions to help them with their diagnosis: 

  • The age of the dog and when the accidents first occurred 
  • Medical history for previous illness or surgeries 
  • Water intake pattern of the pet 
  • The frequency of urination and ease of urinating 
  • Signs of weakness, seizures or other nervous system diseases