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Urinary retention is the medical term given to incomplete emptying (or voiding) of urine that is not associated with obstruction of the urinary tract, whereas "functional" is defined as being caused by a problem with the normal action of an organ.
Complications resulting from functional urinary retention may come from a lower urinary tract infection that ascends into the bladder; rupture of the urinary bladder or urethra; and permanent injury and atony (weakness/loss of coordination) to the detrusor muscle, the muscular layer of the urinary bladder wall, which contracts, pushes down on the contents of the bladder, and causes the urine to leave the body through the urethra.
This condition is more common in male than in female dogs.
Hypercontractility of the Urinary Bladder Detrusor Muscle (Detrusor Atony)
Functional Urinary Obstruction
You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have led to this condition. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. The urinalysis may reveal evidence of urinary tract infection or inflammation.
A neurologic examination will include a brief assessment of the lower, caudal spine. Peripheral nerve function will be apparent from the examination of anal tone, tail tone, and perineal reflexes (the muscle between the anal and urethral openings). Urethral catheterization may be required to rule out urethral obstruction. If there is no obstruction the catheter should pass easily through the urethra.
Myelography, epidurography, or computed tomography (CT scans) can be used to determine if lesions are present on the spine, indicating a neurological cause. Another imaging technique veterinarians use involves injecting a radiocontrasting agent into the dog's body to follow the course of the urine from the kidneys through the urethral tract by X-ray.
Because there are several possible causes for this condition, your veterinarian will most likely use differential diagnosis to settle on the underlying cause. This process is guided by deeper inspection of the apparent outward symptoms, ruling out each of the more common causes until the correct disorder is settled upon and can be treated appropriately.
Here are some of the possible causes that will be considered and either discounted or confirmed:
Striped in color or texture
The product of protein being metabolized; can be found in blood or urine.
A medical condition in which urination is slow or painful
The gland around the urethra that secretes the fluid to allow sperm to move about
After the kidney
Waste in the blood; may also be referred to as uremic poisoning.
The fourth in a sequence of fused vertebrae near the pelvis and the spinal cord
A tube found between the bladder and the outside of the body; used to assist in urination.
Also referred to as a UTI; a medical condition of the urinary tract and system in which the cells are damaged by microorganisms.
The process of elimination when it comes to the bowels or the bladder
A medical condition; implies that the patient is unable to completely empty their bladder
The process of inserting a tube into the urethra and into the bladder as a method of extracting urine.
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
A medical condition involving frequent urination
Blood in the urine
Too much potassium in the blood
The process of making something larger by dilating or stretching it
The condition of having urea and other nitrogenous elements in an animal's blood.
The lack of production of urine in an animal's body.
A low level of calcium in the blood
Lower levels of potassium in the blood than normal
The part of the brain stem that runs from the cerebrum to the pons
A bundle of fibers that are used in the process of sending impulses through the body
The connection or relationship between the lumbar and the sacral vertebrae
The part of the back between the pelvis and the thorax
A wave that is transmitted through nerves and nervous tissue
Term used to imply that a situation or condition is more severe than usual; also used to refer to a disease having run a short course or come on suddenly.