It might surprise many dog owners but do you know that your dog can also suffer from incontinence?
Dogs that have trouble controlling their urge to urine are usually given proin. But can I wean my dog off proin if its condition is improving?
Trying to wean your dog off proin without your vet’s consent can do more harm than good. Doing so can make your dog more prone to having incontinence again. It is best to consult your vet if you ever do plan on weaning your doff off proin.
Let us take a deeper look at what proin is, the potential side effects and what you need to consider before taking your dog off its incontinence medication.
What Is Proin?
Proin is an incontinence medication for dogs and cats that helps to strengthen the urethral sphincter.
Proin also goes by other commercial names like Propalin, Uricon and Cystolamine. It is considered an off-label drug which means that is it used to treat an unapproved medical condition.
For off-label drugs, you need to follow the prescription given by the vet and not what’s stated on the bottle.
Proin works by stimulating the receptors around the urethral sphincter which in turn strengthens the muscles.
This enables your dog to have better control of its bladder function and helps treat urinary incontinence in dogs.
Having a dog that behaves like a leaky faucet can be difficult to handle for many pet owners.
Is Proin Safe For Dogs?
Proin is safe for most dogs and has been approved by the FDA as an incontinence medication.
Proin chewable tablets were first approved by the FDA in 2011. And in 2019 Proin ER was subsequently approved by the FDA as well.
ER means ‘Extended Release’ and how this differs from the original tablet is that only one single tablet is required daily instead of two.
This made medicating dogs with incontinence a whole lot easier for the dog and pet owner.
How Much Proin Should I Give My Dog?
The dosage depends on the dog’s body weight. The recommended dosage for proin chewable tablets is 2mg per kg of dog weight. It comes in 25mg, 50mg and 75 mg tablets.
For proin ER, the recommended dosage is 4mg per kg of dog weight and it’s best given together with food. It comes in 18mg, 38mg, 74mg and 145mg tablets.
Please do not mix and match these two types of proin as there’s no official study on the effectiveness or safety of such a usage.
If you happen to miss a dose, give it to your dog as soon as possible. But if it is too close to the next dose, do not feed your dog double the dosage.
Just skip the missed dosage and feed your dog as normal.
How Quickly Does Proin Work?
After the first dosage, you might see proin start to take effect 1-2 hours after. Most dogs usually need to be on proin for at least a few days before it really starts to be effective.
What Side Effects Does Proin Have On Dogs?
As with all drugs, there are side effects that come with taking proin. It is something that can’t be avoided for some dogs as every dog’s body is different and can be sensitive to certain active ingredients.
Here are some of the known side effects:
- Lack of appetite
- Increased thirst
- Increased aggressiveness
- Weight loss
- Change in skin color
In more serious cases, it could also lead to kidney failure and death.
Can Proin Cause Kidney Failures In Dogs?
Although not a common side effect of taking proin unless in severe complications, proin can cause kidney failure in dogs.
However, this would be a higher possibility if your dog has an existing kidney condition or has accidentally been overdosed on proin.
Please make sure to keep the bottle of proin under lock and key as some dogs are known to chew through an entire bottle of proin.
In the event that your dog has consumed more proin than it should, please get it to the vet immediately as proin can be harmful in very elevated dosages.
Dogs That Should Not Be Taking Proin
Proin is generally safe for most dogs in good health and fed with the right dosage.
Before allowing your dog to take proin, make sure to discuss any existing medical condition/s that your dog has.
If your dog has a known allergic reaction to Phenylpropanolamine which is the main active ingredient in proin, then you definitely do not want to start your dog on it.
Dogs with these conditions should not be taking proin as well.
- Heart problems
- On any blood pressure medication
- Chronic kidney disease
Putting your dog on proin if it has any of the above conditions can only make it worse.
Do not use proin on nursing and pregnant dogs as well as there’s no adequate testing done on this segment of dog.
How Long Can Proin Last In Dogs?
Proin has a half-life of about 5-7 hours in dogs. It tasks about 4-5 half-lives for a drug to be considered fully eliminated from the body.
Hence we are looking at a time period of about 24 hours.
Proin can remain effective in dogs for up to 8-24 hours.
Can Proin Effectively Treat Urinary Incontinence In Dogs?
A study has shown that it can safe for up to 28 days before your dog starts to experience some side effects.
During these 28 days, a study done on 123 dogs reported that proin was effective in controlling urinary incontinence in dogs.
Prior to the study, the average number of peeing incidents of the dogs in the study was 9 times a week.
This number was reduced to 3.9 times after the second week the dogs were on proin. By the end of the 28 days study, the average number of incidents was reduced to just 1.6 times.
That was a reduction of close to 82% in peeing incidents on average.
Proin is safe for most dogs if you stick to the recommended dosage given by the vet.
A larger study consisting of 157 dogs was carried out for 180 days. By the end of the study, each dog only had one peeing incident a week.
How Long Should A Dog Stay On Proin?
A dog should stay on proin for as long as it needs to. It was also observed that regardless of how long a dog has been on proin, stopping or reducing the usual proin dosage can cause the incontinence to return.
That is when your dog could start leaking fluids again on its bed or carpet.
This means that proin is only effective for as long as the dog is taking it as a canine incontinence solution.
Can I Wean My Dog Off Proin?
As mentioned above, if you do intend to start weaning your dog off proin, you need to be prepared that your dog’s incontinence might come back.
The majority of dogs will be taking proin as a long-term treatment. However, there might be some dogs who can benefit from a smaller dosage once their incontinence problems are under control.
If you do decide to wean your dog off proin, make sure to do it slowly and methodically with your vet’s supervision.
Alternatives To Proin
In the event that your dog is unable to take proin due to an existing medical condition or has a bad reaction to it, all is not lost.
There are a few more alternatives to proin that you can consider treating your dog with.
Incurin is another drug that is widely used to treat incontinence in dogs for more than 16 years.
The thing with Incurin is that it can only be used on female dogs or more specifically, spayed female dogs.
It has not been tested on male dogs, intact female dogs, dogs younger than 1-year-old, or pregnant or nursing dogs.
Based on a 42 month long test involving 324 pet dogs, 93% of these dogs reported an improvement in their incontinence issues after 6 weeks.
All dogs started on a dosage of 2mg (2 x 1mg tablet) daily and more than half had their dosages reduced when their urine leaking incidents decreased.
Reported side effects of Incurin are nausea, loss of appetite, swollen vulva and excessive thirst.
Diethylstilbestrol or DES is another drug that is used to treat incontinence in dogs.
Similar to Incurin, it should only be used on spayed female dogs. It mimics the effects of estrogen in female dogs.
Do note that this incontinence medication is an off-label drug and isn’t approved by the FDA.
It isn’t commercially available in the USA but can still be bought from compounding pharmacies.
As with all off-label drugs, pet parents need to give the dosage as instructed by the vet and not what’s on the label.
The common known side effects that come with taking DES are:
- Vaginal discharge
- Lack of appetite
- Increase in thirst and urination
Over-dosing your dog with Diethylstilbestrol can lead to bone marrow suppression. This is a serious condition that can cause your dog to become anemic.
- Bruising easily
- Bleeds easily
- Pale gums
If your dog is showing these symptoms, it requires immediate medical attention or it can end up being fatal to your dog.
What Causes Incontinence In Dogs?
Incontinence in dogs is basically the involuntary passing of urine or urine leakage.
This isn’t quite the same when you laugh or fart too hard when holding a full bladder and a little pee comes out.
Incontinence in dogs is usually caused by a medical condition and your dog isn’t aware of the urine leakage.
This condition is more common in older and female dogs.
Besides the age and sex of the dog, some dog breeds are more predisposed to getting incontinence. These breeds are:
- Border collie
- Irish setter
If you have one of the above dog breeds, try to be more vigilant for wet spots around the house.
Here are some common health problems that can cause incontinence in dogs:
- Weak bladder muscles
- Hormonal problems
- Urinary tract infections
- Neurological disorders
There are some puppies that can also get incontinence at a young age. This is due to being born with a birth defect called Ectopic Ureter.
Urine is transported from the kidneys to the bladder via the uterus. If the uterus is connected to an abnormal position instead of the bladder, the puppy might start to drip urine.
How Is Incontinence Diagnosed In Dogs?
There are a couple of health issues in dogs that can resemble incontinence. This is why a series of tests need to be done at the vet to ensure that the diagnosis is correct.
Some of the methods used will be a dye study of the dog’s bladder, urine and blood sample.
The urine sample allows the vet to know if the dog’s incontinence is caused by a bacterial infection.
A thorough test can single out issues like chronic kidney failure which can also cause your dog to pee more.
If a more detailed examination is required, x-rays and ultrasounds can help zero in on the urinary tract.
Maintaining Urinary Tract Health In Dogs
Keeping your dog’s urinary system is important as it gets older. Besides lowering the risk of incontinence, it can also help prevent kidney and bladder infections.
Here are some ways that can improve your dog’s urinary tract health.
Feed A Good Diet
The number one tip is to start feeding your dog a good diet. Dogs thrive on diets that are as natural as possible for them.
This would make the raw meat diet the best option followed by wet food (canned food).
Dry food is just a bad option for dogs and cats. As the name suggests, dry food is really dry for dogs which means that they don’t get much moisture in their dog food.
Kibbles also contain many ingredients that are not healthy for a dog’s body.
There are many women that take cranberry supplements as it helps lower the risk of urinary tract infections. Dogs too can derive the same benefits as humans.
If your dog is prone to such infections, starting your dog on a pet-friendly cranberry supplement might be worth considering.
More Toilet Breaks
The more often that your dog can empty its bladder, the less chance it will have of having a urine leakage incident.
A dog can hold its pee for 12 hours if there’s a need to. But doing this on a regular basis is bad for your dog’s urinary tract health.
This can lead to UTI, urinary cancer and incontinence.
Allowing your dog an opportunity to empty its bladder a few times a day is good. You don’t have to take your dog outside to do so.
There are pee trays that allow your dog to pee indoors.
To all pet owners out there, incontinence in dogs is not a death sentence. I’ve heard horror stories of dogs being put down just because of this.
Your dog can still lead a good quality of life with the proper medication and lifestyle changes.
Make sure to have a word with your vet to see what are the best treatment options for your ‘leaky’ canine companion.
If your dog is currently on proin for its incontinence, it is best to consult your vet before deciding to wean your dog off proin.
Doing so prematurely might make your dog’s condition worse.
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