Incontinence – stoke the blue fire serpent and add a little praying mantis
Incontinence may not be life threatening but it is sure hard to deal with. Dog diapers are expensive and messy and many dogs are just horrified when they accidentally pee in the house. As much as we love our animal friends it is difficult to always have to worry what they will leak on next.
The Chinese view of old dog incontinence is fascinating. They see the kidneys as a large black lake with a fiery blue sea serpent that raises out of the water. The fire of the serpent decreases as we age and when it gets low enough the kidneys can no longer hold the urine and it leaks out of the body.
Deficiency in the kidneys also cause many of the symptoms we view with old age, weaker bone, gray hair and poor hearing.
When I treat incontinence, I get to be the snake charmer, circling the burning moxa stick over the kidneys to raise the mighty fire serpent out of the lake water.
With this form of incontinence, the main herb I use is praying mantis egg casings (along with herbs which strengthen the kidneys). These little casings work wonders! I’ve often had clients ask, “can you please make up some more mantis for my dog? She’s been dry since she started them!” In addition I have found that clients like to tell their friends and family that their dog is on praying mantis.
How many of you have jobs where you get to work with praying mantises and mythical sea serpents?
So a little about incontinence: there are two main types of urinary incontinence, not related to disease or structural abnormalities, one in young female dogs and one in older dogs.
I’ve seen a great response with both these conditions to acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatments without the side effects of drugs.
Old dog incontinence occurs in older dogs of either sex and often develops when the muscles that keep the urine in start getting weaker with age or there is a lack of nerve function to these muscles.
Incontinence in young female dogs usually develops shortly after they are spayed. This is not a reason to avoid spaying a dog. Unspayed dogs have many more disease problems including mammary cancer and life threatening pyometra.
Chinese medicine views young dog incontinence as cold that has found its way into the body during the spay operation. Treatments are aimed at warming the kidneys and bladder and expelling the cold. I usually use a heated moxa stick over the kidneys, as with the sea serpent, to chase the cold away and warm this area.
Out, cold, out!
The moxa stick lets off infrared heat which penetrates down into the kidneys to warm and increase circulation to that area. In addition warming herbs are used. The goal with these dogs is to cure them so that they do not need long term treatments, herbs, or drugs.
I love when acupuncture can cure conditions that are not supposed to be curable!