Incurin Can Cause Vulva Swelling in Dogs: A Known Side Effect

Incurin Can Cause Vulva Swelling in Dogs: A Known Side Effect

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Three weeks ago, Misha started taking Incurin (Estriol) for urine leakage.  Incurin is a synthetic hormone that has less side effects than DES and is usually more effective than other medications used for this female urine leakage.   With Incurin, you start your dog on the maximum dose of two pills every day for two weeks.  Then, you reduce it to one pill a day for 7 days. You reduce the amount each week (always keeping your dog on any dose for at least a week) until you find the lowest amount that is effective.

Misha finished the first two weeks and the results have been fantastic.  On Proin and DES she still dribbled. DES was given once a week.  By the sixth day, she usually had an accident.  With Incurin, she has not dribbled or peed in the house at all. It is really effective in controlling here problem.

Unfortunately, she is experiencing one of the known side effects.  On the twelfth day, I was walking behind her and noticed something was different about her back end.  She seemed jiggly in the lower part of her butt.  I realized she was swollen.  I did some research and found out that Incurin can cause swelling of the vulva at the maximum dose.

I emailed our veterinarian to confirm this and to see what we should do next.  She wanted photographs to see how bad the swelling was.  Simple, right?   You ever notice how much control dogs have over their tails even when those tails are cropped?  Misha was on to me.  Every time I came near with the camera, she folded her tail downward so I couldn’t see anything. She refused to show me her tummy for a underneath view.

I did get a couple usable photos.  I’ll spare you those.  Instead, here is my dog trying to escape the paparrazzi.

My Jack Russell Terrier trying to escape my camera
My Jack Russell Terrier trying to escape my camera

Normally, they recommend taking your dog off the medication for a week, then restarting every other day.  Because the swelling wasn’t bad, our veterinarian decided to switch Misha to a pill every other day immediately.  We’ll have to try something else if the swelling doesn’t go away.

She has been on that dose for one week. So far, no urine leakage. The vulva is still a little swollen but it isn’t as bad as that first jiggly day. Hopefully, in a week or two she will be back to normal. The research shows the swelling does not persist at lower doses.

If you’ve recently started your dog on Incurin, keep an eye out for this side effect. You may need to adjust the dosage, but be sure to talk to your veterinarian first as another issue might be at play.

Leave it to Misha to be one of the 4.3% with vulva swelling! At least she doesn’t seem to be bothered by it. If this doesn’t work we may be buying doggie diapers.

Thanks for this PAWSit Hop, Ruth!


12 thoughts on “Incurin Can Cause Vulva Swelling in Dogs: A Known Side Effect

  1. I was not familiar with this urinary problem in dogs and the side effects of the medication for treatment. Like you, I sure hope all goes well with Misha and you won’t need to buy dog diapers!

    1. Thanks Ruth! Unfortunately, any medication can have side effects. At least she isn’t in 24 hour anxiety attack mode like with Proin. The swelling isn’t bothering her, so I am willing to wait it out to see if it disappears in a week or two. She’s doing really well on this drug. It’s the most effective of the three she has tried.

  2. I knew dogs can have urine problems when older or had many litters. I did not know of any side effects.

    1. Sandy, thanks for your comments! Not only can they have problems in old age, but female dogs can have bladder problems like women of a certain age. It can be really frustrating to deal with.

  3. Is the swelling harmful to the dog? Mine is QUITE swollen with 1 Incurin tablet per day AND Proin at night, but the combination of both has seemed to work. I have not tried using the Incurin every other day. Scared. The past leakage has been so bad and had our house smelling awful!

    1. NL, Thanks for your comment! First off, I’m not a veterinarian, so I can’t speak to whether the swelling is harmful to your dog.

      What I was told was the swelling can be temporary. It may make your dog uncomfortable. So, it may be possible to move to 1 pill every other day, then if needed go back to 1 pill every day. I would discuss this with your dog’s vet.

      I do understand what you are going through. My dog’s leakage started as tiny dribbles, but within a couple months she was having accident in the house and leaving urine behind when she sat on my lap.

      We tried Proin which worked great for my previous dog, but Misha developed the anxiety issues associated with it. We tried DES, but it affected her blood cell counts. Incurin (Estriol) has been a blessing.

      I have had to adjust her dose from time to time. She was on one dose every 3 days during autumn. But, in February we had many days of rain and she began to dribble again (I don’t think she wanted to go outside and get wet). I’ve moved her back to every other day for now.

      I hope the Incurin/Proin combination will be just what your dog needs! Do check with the vet on the swelling. It may even be possible to go to 1/2 tablet a day. Good luck! I know how frustrating this is.

  4. Hi Mel, Thanks for sharing your story. I have a rat terrier who started Incurin at the end of September. She also has the unfortunate side effect of vulva swelling but it’s causing additional problems for us. She keeps licking down there, as it’s presumably uncomfortably swollen, and when she does, she has a focal facial seizure. Did Misha’s vulva swelling ever go away and if so, how long did it take? I have an e collar on her for now to restrict her access because if she can’t lick, she presumably won’t have a seizure but that’s obviously not a long term solution. I’ve asked her specialists but no one seems to know how long it takes for the swelling to go away once the dose is reduced. Thanks!

    1. Hi Allie, I’m so sorry your dog is not only experiencing the swelling, but seizures associated with licking.

      Yes, Misha’s swelling did go away eventually! I am trying to think back. I believe it took a couple of weeks before it was completely gone. She has not experience the side effect since.

      Did your doctor recommend taking her off Incurin for a week, then started back on an every other day or longer dose schedule? As I understand it, this can help overcome the swelling issue.

      I hope your dog is doing better very soon!

      1. Hi Mel, thanks so much for getting back to me! I realize every dog is different but that’s helpful to know she was back to normal within a few weeks. So we were started on 2mg once a day and with the swelling, they had us switch to every other day, and then three times a week and now once last week and once this week and they want us to continue at once a week but she’s still rather swollen and trying to lick down there so she’s been wearing an e-collar 24/7 for the last 5 days and since she hasn’t been able to lick, we haven’t noticed any seizures but that’s obviously not a long term solution and I’m worried the swelling is never going to go away even at once a week. I’d rather just take her off completely, hopefully stop the swelling and seizures, and try a different medication if we have to. But part of me is so afraid the swelling is just never going to go away 🙁

        1. Allie, I’m not a veterinarian, so you can takd what I have to say with a grain of salt. However, I agree with you. If your dog is miserable on Incurin, then maybe it’s not the right drug for your dog.

          I can give a good example of how some medications work great for some dogs and not others. My Lab was on Proin for a good 6 years before she passed away. Not once did she have an issue with it.

          When Misha started having urinary leakage issues, the Vet put her on Proin, too. She did okay. What I didn’t realize was the Proin was affecting her psychologically. It was slow. A crazy hour here, a strange day there. Then, after about 6 months, she went into a full blown panic attack which lasted for 3 days.

          What I didn’t know is that anxiety and panic are well known side effects of Proin. My first dog never hand any problem, but Misha did. I took her off and a couple days later she was back to normal…and leaking again.

          Incurin ended up being the best thing for her. Maybe the best thing for your dog will be a different medication.

          I hope you find the right solution soon. Thanks for reaching out to me!

          1. Hi Mel, Thanks for sharing your story about different medications affecting dogs differently. I’m so sorry poor Misha had to deal with the truly awful anxiety side effect from the Proin. Hopefully it didn’t cause any residual anxiety issues. My dog already has pretty severe separation panic has which spread over into general anxiety so because of that, her specialists were hesitant to try Proin and wanted to try Incurin first but we may have to try Proin instead and just hope she doesn’t have the anxiety side effect adding to her already existing anxiety.

            Thanks again for all your help!

          2. Allie, I do know how frustrating this is! I was cleaning up urine multiple times a day when Misha was at her worst.

            Getting Misha’s urine leakage under control took over a year. Proin was the first attempt. Then DES. She did okay on that but it lowered her white blood cell count which isn’t a normal side effect. And, finally Incurin.

            I hope you find the right medication. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your dog on Proin.

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