Printer Friendly

Herbal medicine for pets.

Since prehistoric times, native healers have learned some herbal medicine by observing wild animals to see which herbs they would seek. When an animal is sick or injured, it fasts and seeks out herbs (we call them weeds) to heal themselves. Now that we have domesticated animals, they depend on us to deliver these same herbs to them.

When possible, you should give herbs that are gathered fresh. Wildcrafting is not as safe today as it once was. Chemical pesticides and herbicides may contaminate wild herbs. Also some species of plants are endangered and should not be harvested in the wild. Herbs can be gardened or bought dried in health food stores. Most herbs lose their full medicinal properties after about one year, especially the aromatic ones. Herbs should be gathered when in full leaf or in full flower, depending on the part used. The best gathering time is midday. Do not gather herbs when leaves are turning yellow or flowers are fading, or when they are wet from rain or dew. Damp herbs don't dry well and will mold.

Herbs can be dried by tying them in bunches and hanging them on strings in a well ventilated place. When dry, they can be placed in brown paper bags with the neck twisted and firm/y tied with elastic to exclude air and insects.

Herbs can also be bought in health food stores. There are liquid tinctures, capsules, and powdered herbs. Though the tinctures may be more potent, the powders are sometimes easier to give to pets. Powdered herbs are easily disguised in food. Capsules can be opened and sprinkled on food. Tablets can be crushed with mortar and pestle. Cats enjoy meaty and salty flavors like fish, shrimp, and liver to disguise their herbs. Dogs like a great variety of flavors to disguise their herbs, such as meat, liver, honey, molasses, applesauce, cheese, and peanut butter.

If you can't disguise the herbs, you can give them manually. Grasp the upper jaw with one hand and insert your thumb and forefinger behind the canine teeth. Pour liquids in the mouth with the head tilted back. The liquid will run back to the throat and be swallowed. To give pills, follow the same instructions, but hold the pill between your thumb and first finger. Use the other fingers to press down the lower jaw. Put the pill as far to the back as you can, then induce a swallow by rubbing the throat and blowing on the nose.

One of the most used herbal remediesis a first aid treatment for diarrhea. One teaspoon full of Slippery Elm Powder is mixed with one cup of distilled water. The mixture is brought to a boil while stirring. It is simmered for two to three minutes and then taken off the heat. For dogs, one tablespoon of honey is stirred in and the mixture is cooled. Cats and small dogs (up to twenty pounds) receive half to one teaspoon. Medium dogs (twenty to forty pounds) get two teaspoons to two tablespoons. Large dogs (over forty pounds) should get three to four tablespoons. This remedy is given four times a day. The mixture can be covered and kept at room temperature for up to two days.

Cats are very vulnerable to abscess formation. Puncture wounds tend to build up infection and close over. Heal them using a Purple Coneflower (Echinacea Angustifolia) infusion. One cup distilled water is boiled and poured over one teaspoon dry or one tablespoon fresh Echinacea. The mixture is covered and steeped for fifteen minutes. The liquid is extracted by straining through cheesecloth. This infusion is given three times a day by mouth. Cats and small dogs get half a teaspoon. Medium dogs get one teaspoon and large dogs get one tablespoon. As an alternative, the tincture is available in health food stores. Dilute three drops in one tablespoon of distilled water and give the same doses as the infusion. Abscesses also need external treatment to open and induce drainage. Soak a cloth in the warm Echinacea infusion or tincture and apply it to the abscess. Put a dry towel over the compress to keep in the heat. After five minutes, refresh the compress by dipping the cloth back in the warm solution, wringing it our and reapplying. Treat for fifteen minutes twice a day for up to two weeks. For wounds that are slow to heal and beginning to festeran infusion of Marigold (Calendula Officianalis) can be made using the same process.

Anal Glands sometimes become impacted in dogs. They will scratch the anal region or scoot on the floor when this happens. A warm infusion of either Marigold flower (Calendula Officianalis) or Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense) will stimulate the glands and soften their contents. Right after the compress, gently press the glands to stimulate them to empty.

Pets often develop smelly, watery ear discharges. Mix one teaspoon Calendula tincture with half a teaspoon sea salt and one cup distilled water. Flush and massage the ear canal twice a day.

These are gentle, natural herbals to use for first aid. Any condition that does not resolve in a few days should receive professional help. A physical exam and further diagnostic workup may be needed. Keep in mind that some pets (cats, especially) shut down emotionally when they are medicated constantly. Western herbal medicine is very versatile and can be used to treat most diseases naturally and without the side effects of pharmaceutical medicine. In addition, Traditional Chinese Medicine includes a powerful pharmacy of Herbal medicines. Chinese Herbals are stronger in effect than Western Herbals and must be accurately prescribed based on the pattern of imbalance in the patient. Because of this, they are available by prescription only.

Recommended reading:

Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Richard and Susan Pitcairn

The New Natural Cat by Anitra Frazier

Cats Naturally by Juliette de Bairacli Levy

The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable by Juliette de Bairacli Levy

Jeanne Fowler is a holistic small animal veterinarian certified in Veterinary Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation. She is also a trained homeopath and tui-na practitioner. She has practiced at All About Pets in Travelers Rest, SC for 26 years. All herbal remedies are from Dr. Richard Pitcairn, a well known classical veterinary homeopath and founder of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Natural Arts
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:herbal healing
Author:Fowler, Jeanne R.
Publication:New Life Journal
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Previous Article:The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.
Next Article:New Life directory.

Related Articles
Body, heal thyself.
Herbs to the rescue: 10 plant remedies you can't do without.
Herbs May Not Be What You Think.
Herbal remedies have risks.
Haworth Press.
Herbal support for the menstrual cycle.
Letter from the editor.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters