Have you found your female dog leaking urine and not even aware it is happening? It is a condition sometimes found in spayed older female dogs who have a low estrogen level in the body. To diagnose we would first have to rule out a bladder or kidney infection. Once diagnosed your dog may be put on a medication called Diethylstilbestrol. It is a synthetic estrogen used to treat estrogen responsive incontinence. This medication is taken orally and is well absorbed in the gastrointestinal system. It is then slowly metabolized by the liver and excreted in the urine and feces. There is another medication the doctors may reach for called phenylpropanolamine which is given twice daily. For this blog, I will be focusing on diethylstilbestrol.
Diethylstilbestrol MUST be given at the lowest possible dose. It is often prescribed as once daily for five days then once weekly for life. If this dosage does not curb the incontinence, it may be adjusted or increased only under the direction of your pet’s veterinarian.
High doses of estrogens are considered toxic to dogs and cats. If given too frequently it can very quickly and cause problems in the bone marrow. It leads to issues with the blood cells – red blood cells that carry oxygen, white blood cells that fight infection, and platelets that the body needs for clotting. These abnormalities can happen within two weeks if the drug is given more frequently than prescribed.
Stilbestrol may enhance the effects of glucocorticoids. If your pet is on any steroids, the dose may need to be adjusted.
This medication should be stored at room temperature in a tightly sealed container. Make sure to keep it in a safe place away from any pets or children who may accidentally ingest it.
We need to perform a full physical exam annually when your pet is taking this medication. Every six months we will need to acquire a blood sample from your dog or cat to run a complete blood count and monitor the liver and kidney function.
Increased levels of estrogen can cause a female dog to get a swollen vulva or discharge from that area. We would watch for lethargy, any abnormal bleeding, diarrhea, vomiting, drinking excessively or urinating excessively when on this medication.
Written by: Darlene Cannon, RVT