Dear Daisy Dog
Mocha, our Labrador mix, leaks urine while she sleeps. Our veterinarian prescribed DES. What side effects should we watch for?
DES, or diethylstilbestrol, is an estrogen that tightens the urinary sphincter and prevents urine leakage in spayed female dogs.
The lowest effective dose should be given. Usually 0.1 to 1 mg weekly is efficacious and quite safe.
At higher doses, especially in older dogs, DES can block the bone marrow’s production of three essential blood components: red blood cells, which carry oxygen; white blood cells that fight infection; and platelets, important in blood clotting.
To detect bone marrow toxicity, ask your veterinarian to periodically check Mocha’s blood cell levels.
Estrogens also can cause cancer, particularly in unspayed females.
Like Mocha, I leaked urine while I slept, until I started taking phenylpropanolamine (PPA). PPA tightens the urinary sphincter like DES, but it lacks bone marrow toxicity.
If you are concerned about the side effects of DES, or if DES alone isn’t completely effective, ask your veterinarian about PPA.