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One of my beloved dogs was a standard poodle named Louie G. Louie G. came to me from Florida Poodle Rescue in 2006. Eighteen months old and used as a breeder in a puppy mill . She was beautiful, athletic, smart, terrified and had no idea what a house was.
She was the most amazing friend and companion we lived through many of life's challenges together; death, marriage, moving, loss. So as she aged of course it was up to me to take the best care of her I could. You have probably read about Walter and how he got me started on my holistic path. Louie G was there to benefit from much of what I learned.
One of her first declines was incontinence. It came on her when she was 12 years old. It came on suddenly and heavily. Literally the first time I noticed something was wrong she was walking in the house and the urine was streaming out of her. Of course my first response was to panic and second to call my vet, which was the best vet I ever had.
Canine incontinence can occur because of urinary tract infections, spinal cord injuries, hormonal imbalances or as in Louie G's case older spayed females. (Be sure to consult with your veterinarian professional to find your dogs specific cause) My options were to start her on Proin or she could wear a diaper in the house. I decided to use the Proin and it worked like a charm, almost immediately the leaking stopped, good right? After while I started to wonder what the side effects were and if I could get her off it. I really didn't want her to be on pharmaceuticals for the rest of her life. Poodles can live 16 or 17 years. The vet said I could try to cut back but that once they started on this drug dogs would typically be on it for the rest of their lives.
So what are the side effects of Proin? Vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, increased thirst, increased blood pressure, nervousness and stroke in some dogs. That was it. Now I needed to find a way or a more natural remedy to use.
I had studied Western Herbalism and asked the herbalist I knew at the time if they had any ideas and I came up empty handed. Then I started searching the internet for natural supplements. I found a company in California that made a Chinese herbal formula that looked like the perfect match.
Paw Healer makes a product called Paw Mind Over Bladder. So we got us some. Now the actions of herbal formulas can take awhile, a few weeks even, to start to work. So I had to be patient. I didn't take her off the Proin immediately. I gave the herbs and the full dose of Proin for a week. Then I cut the Proin down to 3/4 for a week, then 1/2. At this point we had break through urine so we went back up to 3/4 for a week then back to 1/2 dose of Proin and it was working. It took about six weeks of weaning her off the drugs but after that we never had a problem. She felt better, I felt better. She was able to live out the last few years of her life drug free.
I have used additional supplements from Paw Healer for a variety of other issues with great results. I will talk about them in future posts.