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Objective—To evaluate a sling procedure using a polyester ribbon passed through the obturator foramen, around the urethra, and fixed outside the pelvis for the treatment of female dogs with refractory urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence (USMI).

Animals—26 female dogs with USMI that had not improved with medical management. Methods—All dogs underwent a transpelvic sling procedure, and in 13, with a radiographic diagnosis of a pelvic bladder, additional colposuspension was performed. Multichannel urethral pressure profilometry (UPP) and diuresis cystourethrometry (UCM) were performed in all dogs before and in seven dogs 2 to 14 months after surgery. Long-term results of surgery and medical therapy were determined.

Results— 13 dogs (50%), 6 of these without additional colposuspension, were continent after surgery and remained continent during a follow-up period of 12 to 36 months (mean, 19 months). Seven, three of which had colposuspension, had improved markedly. Four of these dogs became continent with additional medical therapy. Five dogs did not improve, and three of these were eventually euthanatized. In one dog, the sling was removed after 5 days because of persistent stranguria. Surgery and medical therapy together resulted in continence in 17 dogs (65%) during a follow-up period of 6 to 36 months (mean, 22 months). Postoperative dysuria or stranguria occurred in six dogs, and four of these underwent a colposuspension procedure. Two dogs developed a fistula, 2 and 3 years after surgery. Preoperatively, decreased urethral resistance was suggested by the findings of UPP and UCM in 25 dogs, and an abnormally high compliance was found in 3, detrusor instability in 2, and a low threshold pressure in 1 dog. There was no apparent correlation between these findings and the outcome of surgery. Urethral closure pressures measured after surgery were significantly increased but were still lower than the normal range in all dogs with persistent or recurrent incontinence.

Conclusions—A transpelvic sling procedure, with or without additional colposuspension, can be useful in the management of dogs with refractory urinary incontinence. The procedure is not beneficial if it does not increase urethral pressure close to, or within, the normal range.