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Spay Incontinence
 
Some female Dobermans develop incontinence immediately or some time after being spayed; it can also happen at the end of a season in unspayed females.  The latter is not such a problem because the dog is typically wearing sanitary pants anyway and the problem subsides after a few days.  It’s best to check for diabetes first, and in male dogs, prostrate problems, if you detect urinary difficulties.  A dog that has been housebroken and suddenly begins urinating in the house probably has a medical problem that needs to be investigated.
In spay incontinence, the dog doesn’t seem to know when she needs to urinate.  This can be frustrating and messy.  Training can help: many people train their dogs to urinate on command. If you work at this and reward properly, it can become automatic. If you maintain a routine where you take your dog out after meals and give the command, which might be, "get busy" or "go pee", it can help to induce the behavior even when the dog isn't aware of needing to go. A number of medications have been used to control the problem, some with fewer side effects than others.

 

The most obvious medication to use is a human hormone replacement called stilbestrol.  This is a pink pill with a sugar coating that can be cut into sections if your dog becomes nauseated after swallowing a whole pill.  Your vet will probably recommend a high dosage to start, and then when the problem is under control you can reduce the amount in order to use as little as possible. One of the big advantages of spaying is the reduced incidence of breast cancer; giving estrogen replacement pills reduces that advantage. It’s usually effective, but if there’s been any nerve damage the results may vary. If your Doberman develops a vaginal discharge, the dosage should be reduced.

 

Another popular remedy is ephedrine.  This is the drug that makes people “pee like a racehorse”.  Athletes have used it to enhance their energy level, so of course it can make a dog hyper.  It can even cause hallucinations when used over time.  If you have a Doberman that is nervous during thunderstorms, ephedrine will make things worse and the dog may not be happy taking this medication. Switching to a different solution is a means to avoid long-term use of this drug.

Another option is Sudafed, a brand of pseudoephedrine, which has worked well for some.

There are herbal remedies like cornsilk that have worked for some dogs, and others find that eliminating grains from the diet helps.  You may have to experiment and take precautions in the meantime.  Diapers for dogs are available, and mattress pads with a plastic lining can be found.  Even something like a plastic table covering can be placed under the washable cover of a dog bed. For males, look for a "belly band" type of diaper.

Probably the best course of action is to join a newsgroup for your breed and find out what others have tried and the dosage range for your breed and size of dog. And, of course, after you've done your research, talk to your veterinarian.
 
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