Pet Corner

Eliminate Accidents

| July/August 2005

If we think of it at all, most of us consider the urinary system to be nothing but a waste-treatment plant. Actually, this essential system, which consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra, is an elegant network that filters and eliminates wastes from the body. But it is also much more.

The kidneys are powerful chemical factories that perform a host of vital functions, including removing waste products, toxins and drugs from the body; releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure; balancing the body’s fluids; and controlling the production of red blood cells.

Herbal medicines can be used as adjuncts to specific therapies aimed at the more intricate functions of the urinary system, and several kinks in the urinary plumbing respond especially well to herbal remedies.

Diuretic Herbal Helpers

Healthy function of the kidneys depends on an adequate flow of fluids through the kidneys’ filtering mechanisms, and a good share of the success of herbal remedies must be attributed to their diuretic activity. What’s more, almost all herbs have at least a mild, if not profound, ability to cause diuresis (increased excretion of urine).

Note: A diuretic herb may cause an animal to urinate in prodigious amounts, and the timing of the need to do so might not be the most convenient for a sleeping household. Whenever you provide your pet with a diuretic herb, make sure he/she is given plenty of time and the proper places to relieve himself or herself.

This almost universal ability of the herbs to create diuresis provides a tremendous amount of leeway for selecting the correct herbal remedy for a particular patient. Because most herbs are diuretic, we can look to other known activities of the herbs as we choose one. For example, if the animal’s urine is tinged with blood, we might opt for an herb with astringent and diuretic qualities, such as shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). Or, if the animal is known to have rheumatoid arthritis as well as kidney dysfunction, we might add sarsaparilla (Smilax officinalis) to our herbal prescription.

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