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Carol Cave B.V.Sc., Pomona Veterinary Surgery, 26 Pound Road, Pomona 4568.


A young desexed female Dalmatian was presented for urinary enuresis occurring four times weekly over the last three weeks. A course of four acupuncture treatments over sixteen days resulted in the resolution of the problem.


A two and a quarter years old desexed female Dalmatian was presented to the Pomona Veterinary Surgery with a history of uncontrolled passage of urine approximately four times weekly for the last three weeks. The problem was described as a small pool of urine which dribbled from the patient as she was sitting. This occurred during the day but never during the night.



The patient was bright, active and in good body condition. A urine analysis with a Combur 9 dipstick showed no changes from normal. There was no lumbosacral vertebral pain but the left sacroiliac joint was held higher than the right joint.


Clear urine was passed involuntarily without the knowledge of the patient. She had a bright appearance. No lumbar pain was present but the left sacroiliac joint was held higher than the right joint.


Hormone responsive incompetence of the urethral sphincter mechanism.

The diagnosis was based on a normal physical examination with a history of enuresis after ovariohysterectomy . There was no evidence of infection or inflammation of the bladder on a urine stick test. There did not appear to be a neurological deficit . A difference between the positioning of the sacroiliac joints was noted. This diagnosis is usually supported by response to western treatments. No imaging was performed to search for a stump granuloma present after surgery or a congenital pelvic deformity.


Kidney Yang Deficiency.


Western medical treatment was offered and refused because the owner preferred to use acupuncture to treat this condition. Treatments would normally be either oestrogen compounds or alpha adrenergic drugs or both treatments simultaneously. These treatments have the possibility of adverse reactions. Bone marrow suppression, alopecia and induction of oestrus may be seen with the oestrogen replacement therapy and the incidence of mammary cancer may be increased. When sympathomimetic drugs are used, side-effects seen might include tachycardia, tachpnoea, hyperactivity or lethargy.


The principle of therapy is to Tonify the Kidney Yang.

Dry needling for fifteen to twenty-five minutes unless otherwise specified was used with Seirin needles no. 5 [0.25 x 30 mm] and a tonifying method after De Qi was obtained.[1] Points were selected for the above principle and their anatomical position and their nature are described in Table 1 with the relevant indications for each point. [2,3] GV 20 was selected to quieten the very active patient prior to the treatment of the other points as well as for lifting Yang. The Gall Bladder Points were used to treat the noted elevation of the left sacro-iliac joint.

Day 1

Acupuncture points used were BL 40 BL 28 BL 23 GB 29 KI 3 ST 36

The owner later reported that there was no leakage of urine after day 2 until day 7

Day 6

Acupuncture points used were GV 20 KI 3 KI 6 BL 23 BL 52 BL 28 SP 6 SP 9.

Day 8

Small drops of urine were seen on the vulva on Day 7. No urine had been seen in puddles on the floor.

Points used on this day were BL 23 for fifty minutes as the needle became stuck very tightly. BL 40 BL 28 for thirty minutes and KI 3 BL 60 GB 29 ST 36.

Day 16

The owner reported that there had been no urine dribbling since the last treatment. The patient was sedated for treatment and a drop of urine was noted at the vulva during sedation. This was the last treatment.

Points used were BL 23 BL 28 GB 30 ST 36 KI 3 CV 4

Six months later, there has been no recurrence of the condition.

BL 40In the centre of the popliteal creaseBenefits the BladderMaster Point of Back and Waist

Sea and Earth Point
BL 28In a depression posterior and lateral to the lumbosacral spaceTransport Qi to the Bladder

Treat deficiency
Associated Effect Point of Bladder
BL 231.5 cun lateral to the caudal border of lumbar vertebra 2Tonifies Kidney Qi, Yang and Jing

Regulates the water passages
Associated Effect Point of Kidney
KI 3Midway between the greater trochanter and the cranial dorsal iliac spineTonifies Kidney Yin and Yang

Use in all Kidney disorders
Earth Point

Yuan Point
ST 36Lateral to the end of the tibial crest, in the belly of the cranial tibial muscle. Tonifies the Kidneys

Tonifies Qi and Blood

Dispels cold

Tonifies Yin
Sea and Earth Point

Horary Point

Sea of Nourishment Point

Master Point of the abdomen and gastrointestinal tract.

Major tonification Point
GV 20Dorsal midline of the skull, on a line between the anterior edge of the base of the ears, in the notch between the sagittal and the frontal crests. Calming Point

Urinary incontinence
Sea of Marrow Point.

Meeting Point with the Bladder meridian.
KI 6In the depression posterior and distal to the meidal malleolusNourishes the Kidney

Regulates the Lower Jiao

Urinary incontinence
Master Point of Yin Qiao Mai

Coupling Point of Ren Mai
BL 52Lateral to BL 23 on the outer bladder lineTonifies the Kidneys

Reinforces the action of BL 23
SP 63 cun above the tip of the medial malleolus, on the posterior border of the tibiaCommonly used point for urinary disorders.

Tonifies Kidney

Harmonises the Lower Jiao - regulates urination.

Urinary incontinence
Meeting Point of Spleen, Kidney and Liver meridians

Group Luo Point

Master Point of lower abdomen
SP 9On the lower border of the medial condyle of the tibia, in the depression between the posterior border of the tibia and the gastrocnemius muscle Resolves Damp Cold especially in the lower heater.

Opens and moves the water passages

Urinary incontinence or retention
Water Point

Sea Point
BL 60In the depression between the lateral malleolus and the tendocalcaneus level with the tip of the lateral malleolusAffects the entire Bladder channelJing point

Fire point
GB 30Midway between the greater trochanter and the tuber ischiiBenefits the hip joint and the limb 
CV 43 cun caudal to the umbilicus in the midline Tonifies Kidney Yin and Yang Tonifies Kidney JingMajor tonification point for the body.

Alarm Point of Small Intestine

Meeting Point of Kidney, Liver and Spleen.


Normal micturition requires synchronized contraction of the urethral smooth muscle and relaxation of the urethral skeletal muscle. Urethral smooth muscle is supplied by pelvic (parasympathetic) and hypogastric (sympathetic) nerves; pelvic and hypogastric nerves form the pelvic plexus. The pudendal nerve innervates the urethral skeletal muscle. Lesions involving the pelvic nerves, sacral cord segments, or pathways to and from the brainstem will abolish the micturition reflex. Consequently, the bladder will distend with urine and eventually overflow. Lesions of the sacral segments will also result in loss of innervation to the skeletal muscle of the urethra. As a result of minimal urethral resistance, manual expression of the bladder is easy in such cases. Thus, animals with sacral cord lesions may suffer from continual overflow incontinence. The anal sphincter may be flaccid and dilated, resulting in fecal incontinence. Since the external anal sphincter is innervated by the pudendal nerve, which also originates in the sacral segments, the perineal (anal) reflex provides a good assessment of sacral spinal cord function. [5]

A decrease in oestrogen after spaying causes a decrease in urethral closure pressure. Urethral epithelium also atrophies which has a negative effect on urethral closure. Storage of urine in the bladder is adversely affected and there is a decrease in response of the urethra to adrenergic stimulation.

Sphincter mechanism incompetence occurs more commonly in medium to large breeds. [6]

The diagnosis of urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence due to oestrogen deficiency was made in the absence of lumbosacral neurological disease. This diagnosis if often confirmed only by response to western therapy. In this patient, there may also have been a musculo-skeletal problem in the left sacroiliac joint and its contribution to the disease cannot be measured.

The owner of this patient elected to use acupuncture therapy thus avoiding the risk of known side-effects to Western treatments.

From a Traditonal Chinese viewpoint, the kidneys govern water metabolism and provide Qi for the Bladder to store and transform urine. If the transformation function of the Bladder is impaired, urinary enuresis may result.[1] This patient is Yang in her normal appearance but Deficient in her control of micturition. When Kidney Yang is deficient, urinary incontinence may be the only clinical sign in young animals. [7]

Hysterectomy is a cause of stagnation of Qi in the lower heater. [7] The Conception Vessel or Ren Mai ascends along the ventral surface of the body after originating in the uterus. This vessel is one of the Eight Extra Meridians. It regulates and nourishes the uterus and moves stagnant Qi in the in the Lower Heater. The Conception Vessel also regulates fluids. The Alarm Point of Bladder, CV 3 is located 4 cun caudal to the umbilicus. CV 4, a major tonification point for the body and particularly for Kidney Yin , Yang and Jing, is found 3 cun caudal to the umbilicus. Yuan Qi which is the catalyst for all functions is stored at Dan Tien or CV4. Two cun caudal to the navel is CV 5, the alarm point for Triple Heater, which tonifies Kidney Yang and Yuan Qi and regulates the uterus. CV 6, also part of Dan Tien, is 1.5 cun caudal to the umbilicus and another major tonification point. All of these points are important for urogenital function. [2]

In a midline incision for ovariohysterectomy, all or most of these points would be surgically cut. This interruption to the normal flow of qi, responsible for many important functions and particularly to the function of micturition, causes stagnation of qi in the lower heater.

Thus, it appears that ovariohysterectomy is the common aetiological factor.

Tonifying the Kidneys provides Qi for the Bladder to correctly perform its function of urinary storage and excretion. More emphasis might have been placed on restoring function to CV and treating any laparotomy scar.

However, the four acupuncture treatments which were given over sixteen days resulted in prompt clinical success. At times, a drop of urine on the vulva was noted but within one day of the first treatment, the obvious urinary incontinence had ceased.

Print Version


  1. Wurth U.: Anatomical Terms and Measurements, Needle Techniques and Pulses, IVAS Notes [1st session], pp 67-71, 2004.
  2. Wurth U.& Muller C.: Meridians, IVAS Notes [1st session], pp102,105,106,153,156,157,160,164, 176,177, 2004.
  3. Van Den Bosch E & Guray J: Acupuncture Points and Meridians in the Horse, P34,1999.
  4. Wurth U.: Zang Fu Organs, IVAS Notes [1st session], pp90-91, 2004.
  5. Braund K.G. (Ed.): Clinical Neurology in Small Animals - Localization, Diagnosis and Treatment, International Veterinary Information Service, Ithaca NY (www.ivis.org), 2003; B0202.0203
  6. Intervet: Incurin, The clever treatment for canine incontinence.
  7. Wurth U.:Urinary Tract Conditions, IVAS Notes [3rd session], pp42-42, 2004.
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Pomona Veterinary Surgery
Carol C. Cave, B.V.Sc.
26 Pound Road,
M.S. 626,
Pomona Q 4568.
ABN 14 994 820 640
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