The use of corn silk for dog urinary incontinence is becoming more and more common. If your dog has urinary incontinence, you may feel reluctant in giving your dog prescription drugs that need to be given for the rest of your dog’s life and that can cause side effects. More and more dog owners are looking for more natural ways for treating their dogs health ailments, but it’s always important consulting with a vet before going this route. Urinary incontinence in dogs may be triggered by several underlying causes that need addressed. Following is some information about corn silk for dog urinary incontinence.
Urinary Incontinence in Dogs
If your dog is leaking urine, you may want to see your vet considering that urine leaks in dogs may occur secondary to several underlying conditions. For example, consider that urinary incontinence in dogs may occur when dogs are drinking excessively because of conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, cushing’s Disease or thyroid conditions. These conditions make it difficult for dogs to “hold it.”
Additionally, several other conditions such as intervertebral disc diseases, tumors in the spinal cord, or degeneration of the nerves may be underlying causes. Most of these conditions require specific treatments.
In many dogs though, urinary incontinence often arises because of a loss of tone of the urinary sphincter. This is is known as “urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence” (USMI). This is mostly a diagnosis of exclusion, which is why it’s important to see the vet so to have other important potential causes ruled out.
Typically, affected dogs are large breed dogs such as Rottweilers, Dobermans and Old English sheepdogs. Overweight dogs or dogs with docked or bobbed tails may be more predisposed. Tell-tale signs of urinary incontinence in affected dogs is leakage when the dog is relaxed as when the dog is resting or sleeping, dribbling of urine and excess licking of the dog’s private area. If your dog shows any of these signs see your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Traditional Dog Urinary Incontinence Treatment
Urinary incontinence in dogs can turn problematic if left untreated. Affected dogs may develop irritated skin from contact with urine to annoying urinary tract infections, skin infections and even ulcers due to scalding. Traditional treatment for dog urinary incontinence involves Proin (phenolpropanolamine) and estrogen/estrogen-based products.
Proin, also known as PPA, is the most commonly prescribed medication for urinary leaking in dogs. Proin side effects in dogs include lowered appetite, restlessness and higher heart rates considering that this drug is a stimulant. Dogs with underlying heart issues may need to have routine blood pressure checks every six months to a year.
Estrogen for urinary incontinence in dogs may cause bone marrow suppression, aplastic anemia and mammary cancer. However, newer drugs used nowadays contain lower levels of estrogen or contain estrogen like-products such as seen in diethylstilbestrol (DES), which lower the risks for side effects, but their effectiveness in reducing leakage is generally lower compared to Proin.
New urinary incontinence surgical procedures are now available to tackle urinary incontinence in dogs. Generally surgical intervention is considered when dogs cannot take medications due to side effects or risk factors.
Colposuspension, cystopexy, urethropexy (often performed along with cystopexy) and deferentopexy for male dogs are some surgical options; however, while success rates for urinary incontinence surgery for dogs may appear good initially, something to consider is that, in the long-term, results are sometimes not as promising.
Collagen injections into the tissue surrounding the urethra may help, but this as well isn’t a permanent fix and it can be quite costly. Recently, there has been growing interest in the use of artificial urethral sphincters, however this needs done by a specialist and it can be prohibitively costly.
“Overflow incontinence is a nuisance, but it’s also an embarrassment to the dog. They are oftentimes upset that they have made a mess and some will constantly lick themselves down there because of constant leaking. I’ve seen some pretty bad skin infections from this because urine is pretty scalding.”~Family Pet Doctor
Corn Silk for Dog Urinary Incontinence
Corn silk for dog urinary incontinence is something that should be considered after the vet has ruled out urinary incontinence arising secondary from other potential medical causes.
First of all, what exactly is corn silk for dog urinary incontinence? Corn silk consists of the several fibers found covering the husk of corn. Corn silk is appreciated for its diuretic properties. Diuretics basically help the body get rid of any excessive fluids and therefore increase the excretion of urine.
Corn silk is one main active ingredient found in Vetri-Science Laboratories’ Bladder Strength along with other helpful ingredients such as saw palmetto, olive leaf extract, pumpkin seed powder, wild yam, soy protein, and a Chinese herb known as Rehmannia glutinosa.
Corn silk powder in this preparation is claimed to support urinary tract comfort by strengthening mucosal GAG layers, (GAG is short for glycosaminoglycan). GAG layers are special layers meant to protect the bladder lining (epithelium). Corn silk contains mucilage which plays a major role in this protection.
Corn silk is also an ingredient found in several other bladder preparations such as the organic version OmegaPet Dog Kidney Support which contains also juniper berry, cleavers leaf/stem, dandelion leaf and horsetail herb and Only Natural Pet Canine Bladder Control for Dogs which contains pumpkin seed, rehmannia-cured extract, wild yam, corn silk, saw palmetto, olive leaf extract, cranberry extract, marshmallow root, and Vitamin B6.
Side Effects of Corn Silk for Dog Urinary Incontinence
While the use of corn silk for dog urinary incontinence is mostly considered safe in healthy dogs, it’s always important to discuss with your vet first before giving your dog any herbal supplements or remedies. For instance, consider that corn silk may be problematic in dogs who are allergic to corn and may therefore cause a skin rash.
Corn silk can also decrease your dog’s blood level of potassium. Corn silk should therefore never be given to dogs suffering from low potassium, low or high blood pressure, or diabetes. Corn silk should not be used in dogs taking water pills or corticosteroids as these can further lower a dog’s levels of potassium in the blood. Your vet may consider putting your dog on a potassium supplement if deemed necessary or as a precaution.
Corn silk given to dogs in large, incorrect amounts may also lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar. Consult with your vet before giving corn silk if your dog is taking diabetes medications. Corn silk also contains high levels of vitamin K which helps clot blood.
“Corn silk probably will not hurt and it may soothe the bladder, but it’s also a diuretic. So, it could cause increased urination.”~Dr. Zoe