The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced the approval of Incurin (estriol), the first drug in the United States ever approved for administration in treating hormone-responsive urinary incontinence in dogs.
Urinary incontinence is frequently found in middle-aged to elderly spayed female dogs. This is due to the loss of muscle strength and control in the urethra.
According to a 2007 Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association article, incontinence occurs in up to 20 percent of the spayed female dog population. Most of the time, the dog is completely unaware it is "leaking." A dog with urinary incontinence may urinate normally, and lab tests may come back normal.
Incurin (estriol) is a natural estrogen hormone. According to the FDA report, the function of the drug is to "increase the resting muscle tone of the urethra in females and can be used to treat female dogs with urinary incontinence due to estrogen depletion."
Following a placebo study of over 200 spayed dogs, those treated with the drug showed a marked improvement, with fewer incidences of "accidents." Some of the most common side effects of treatment included "loss of appetite, vomiting, excessive water drinking and swollen vulva."
Incurin is manufactured by Intervet, a New Jersey-based subsidiary of Merck Animal Health, and will be distributed to veterinarians in the coming months.
Image: johndoeforty1 / via Flickr