Treating Canine Urinary Incontinence With Corn Silk
Canine Urinary Incontinence In Young Dogs
I thought that canine urinary Incontinence was a problem found only in older dogs, but last year I learned that it's quite common in young dogs as well – especially spayed females. I was quite alarmed when I found my Old English Sheepdog Miracle, only four years old, lying in a small puddle of urine while she was sleeping. Previous to this event, I had been detecting the smell of urine on her, and noticed wet spots on her fur. My husband and I took her to the vet to determine the cause of her incontinence, thinking that it was probably a urinary tract infection.
Causes of Urinary Incontinence
Our vet explained to us that canine urinary incontinence can occur from a number of reasons, including:
- Infection – A bladder or Kidney infection should be the first thing to consider. The main signs are frequent, perhaps painful urination and cloudy urine with an abnormal odor. A urine culture is taken to rule this out.
- Birth Defect – ectopic ureter, where one or both ureters bypass the bladder and connect to an abnormal location such as the urethra or vagina. A dog that has an ectopic ureter displays constant dribbling from birth. Surgical intervention is required to fix the problem.
- Blockage - Partial blockage of the ureter from a stone or a tumor can cause incontinence. If your dog's urine is cloudy or bloody or your dog is having trouble or pain while urinating it may have a blockage caused by a bladder stone, kidney stone of a tumor.
- Spay incontinence - Also called hormone-responsive incontinence or urethral spincter mechanism incompetence (USMI), this problem occurs mosty in neutered dogs, particularly spayed females. After a female dog is spayed, there are changes in the hormone levels that help to keep the spincter muscle strong. The resulting weakness causes the dog to release urine, usually while sleeping. A surprising 20% of neutered dogs are affected by this problem. It may not show up until years after the spaying.
Our vet took a urine culture, but told us that she thought Miracle had spay incontinence, and she recommended the drug Proin. She also told us that Miracle would have to be on this drug for the rest of her life. I bought the pills, but had reservations about the drug because of the side effects. Proin's active ingredient is phenylpropanolamine, a drug that increases the tone of the urethral sphincter. Side effects include restlessness and irritability. Miracle is a high energy dog to begin with, and certainly didn't need to be more wired or nervous. Other side effects include increased heart rate, hypertension, and loss of appetite. I just didn't want to give such a drug to my dog, especially since she would have to take it forever. However, it was important that her incontinence problem get corrected, because it could lead to urinary tract infections, vaginitis, and even skin ulcers caused by the scalding urine and her licking herself. I needed to find an alternative solution.
Corn Silk - A Natural Remedy
When I got home I did some research on the problem, and found that corn silk is a commonly used remedy for human and canine bladder problems. Its first use for curing urinary problems is traced back to the Incas in Central America. It is a natural diuretic that is effective at soothing inflammation and irritation in the bladder. Corn silk is high in calcium, B vitamins, vitamin K, iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, silicon and phosphorus. According to WebMD, it also contains tannins, which act as drying agents and cryptoxanthin, which acts like vitamin A.
Make a Corn Silk Tea
If capsules don't work, make a corn silk tea. Simply add 1 tablespoon of corn silk herb per 2 cups of boiling water. Give 1 teaspoon of tea for every 20 pounds of body weight twice a day.
After reading success stories by several people that had tried this on their dogs, I bought a couple of bottles of Nature's Way 400 mg corn silk capsules. The price was right at less than $4.00 for 100 capsules. I broke open the capsules and sprinkled them directly on her food – 1 capsule in the morning, and 2 at night. She didn't seem to mind the taste at all, and ate her food with her usual enthusiasm. I noticed after only two days that her dribbling was much less, and after a week she had completely stopped.
I've been keeping Miracle on this corn silk treatment for a year now, and she has had only four accidents in that time period. Miracle tends to drink lots of water right after dinner. The accidents happened when I didn't let her out to urinate after her evening meal, and she fell into a deep sleep. All in all, I consider the corn silk treatment a great success. It worked for Miracle, and hopefully it will work for your pet as well.
© 2012 Margaret Perrottet