herbal medicine treatment for animals

Two ways treating various illnesses: one way - is the suppression of pathological symptoms of the disease with medication, another approach is stimulating the natural defense reactions of the organism by herbal therapy.

There are different ways you can approach treating various illnesses. One way - is the suppression of pathological symptoms of the disease with medication. Unlimited possibilities of organic chemistry in the preparation of pure chemical compounds of known structure and predetermined pharmacological properties, their high efficiency and the possibility of precise dosing, their narrow focus of the action - these are the arguments in favor of such an approach.

However often the drugs that are used are inherently foreign to the organism and cause side effects, which in some cases may even negate the positive effects of the drug. In other cases these side effects can lead to functional disorder of other vital organs. Especially often these effects can be seen in antiviral, anticancer drugs, and those drugs that treat diseases of the kidneys and the skin.

Another approach to treating illnesses is by stimulating the natural defense reactions of the organism. Herbal therapy and practices of traditional medicine often help reaching the above mentioned approach. When using herbal means to treat diseases the physiological process carries substances that are relevant to the organism and are biologically necessary to restore healthy state. Whilst at it the active compounds of plants do not cause any reactions of the protective order and increase the body's immune properties. So far, it is impossible to give an exhaustive scientific explanation for a wide range of medicinal properties of some plants and products that can be made from them. Sadly the chemical composition of many medicinal plants is still very poorly studied. However, we can say with certainty that it is optimal to maximize the use of natural forms of herbal origin rather than separate ingredients that are active against certain symptoms. It has been determined that healthy substances in a plant are in the inactive state, but they also contain a complex of "activators" for these substances. The activators usually act in a chain-like pattern i.e. first substances activates a second one, after that the second active substance activates the third one and so on until the main active substances won't be activated. At the same time individual particular qualities affect the action of the activator system for example such qualities like the general condition, and the type and severity of the disease. There are extreme cases, when the plant contains such ingredients, which, depending on the characteristics of the individual patient are quite different and may even cause the opposite reaction.

On the other hand each plant contains not only active but other indifferent substances.  These indifferent substances are also known as bulk agents or accessory agents and they often interfere with the effects of herbal medicine, hampering or delaying the perception of the active substances by the body. This is a distinctive feature of medicines that are of plant origin. It is only when the correct extraction and preparation of the final form are adhered an actually therapeutic complex can be obtained. This way phyto-therapy works aiming to restore the whole balance of the body's systems in various directions as opposed to a chemically pure substance which is monodirectional. That is why many herbal remedies are known as normalizing overall conditions and leading to a harmonization of health.

Such a diversity of effects of medicinal herbal remedies turns herbal medicine into an indispensable component of a comprehensive treatment of most diseases associated with damage to multiple systems of the body, and that require long-term treatment. And in the case of animals, herbal medicine is almost the only safe approach to maintaining the quality of their lives and health at a high level.

Perhaps most reading these statements will have a feeling that the author is highly exaggerating. But the following fact can help resolve the reader's doubt. The main mass of chemical products that are assigned for treating dogs or cats by veterinarians - antibiotics, anti-inflammatory agents, hormones, allergy medications and an overwhelming number of others, have been developed and approved for use only for people. Have you ever seen anything like an aspirin for dogs in the drug-store? Probably not. However there are plenty of people who gave aspirin (as well as many others from human pharmacies) to their pets. This is where the main danger of such treatment lies. The point is that the metabolism of humans and animals is very different. Of course, the direction of the major physiological reactions often coincide, but in this case there is an absolutely different speed of absorption and excretion of drugs, and this means that the dosage of the drug is very difficult to estimate correctly. The doctor acts at his own risk, as there are no official recommendations for the use of human medicines for animals. If the same drug can cause different side effects even for two different people what can we say for example when giving the same drug to different breeds of dogs say a Great Dane and Pekinese Dog or what more a cat.

Drugs that give a positive effect in the treatment of dogs can be fatal and lead to death in the treatment of cats. For example, applying Phytolysinum for treating kidney disease. The composition of this drug (of plant origin) includes glycerin, which even in very small amounts is deadly to cats. Cats do not tolerate the essential oils for oral administration; however, there are cases when drugs containing these oils were assigned for the treatment of urolithiasis. Taking into aspect the great variety of medicinal products in drug stores and the poor knowledge of an average person in the medicine field and how these drugs effect pets it's no wonder that the pets become victims of animal clinics for life.

However, this situation in today's veterinary practice has developed, of course, not because of malicious intention of doctors or drug manufacturers. Simply the process of studying the effect of a drug on the body is a very long and expensive challenge. Therefore, there was a practice of issuing out recommendations "by eye". If some kind of errors occur and the condition of the animal deteriorates, it is very difficult to determine exactly the reason why it happened. Whether it was because the medicine intended for the people showed a side effect, which is not typical for people, or the doctor made a mistake in the dosage. But anyways you cannot blame the doctor as in critical and severe cases of the disease he has to take responsibility "under vital indications".

One gets into a certain vicious circle - treatment is necessary, but it the treatment can not only not cure the disease but can harm the animal or even kill it. The only solution is to use herbal remedies and phyto-products as an independent therapy (in cases when dealing with prophylactic problems or chronic disease), and include them into the general complex treatments to eliminate any possible side effects caused by the use of chemotherapeutic agents. These phyto-products can be commercial herbal remedies or decoctions, infusions, or teas prepared by the owner of the animal from medicinal plants in accordance with the recommendations on the package. However in this case there is no guarantee that self-made infusion or decoction will be very effective and safe, as recommendations for its preparation that are marked on the package are intended for human consumption and not for that of a cat or dog. And it is solely up to you to decide the question will you be the one experimenting on the health of your pet testing out how much plants are needed, how it should be prepared and how much of it is needed to be applied. And especially you do not need to trust the advice in popular newspapers or magazines for owners of cats and dogs like the one below: «… for the treatment of kidney disease of all forms you just need to brew cranberry leafs and let it heal ». Typically these "advices" do not mention the amount of substance use, how it should be prepared, and how often applied. Particularly this recommended cranberry leafs treatment can be at best only safe for dogs, and even then not for all breeds. For instance, for Dalmatians you could end up stimulating urolithiasis. For cats the same decoction of cranberry leaves can provoke kidney damage.

Another danger can lie in wait for our pets and that is if the owner decides to gather herbs for their treatment by himself. Anyone who decides to go gather plants in the field ought to know exactly how the medicinal plants they are trying to find look. Almost everyone knows the medicinal properties of St. John's wort herb. But few people know that there are two types of this plant - Hypericum perforatum and Hypericum quadrangulum. Of the two types Hypericum quadrangulum is most often found in the Moscow region. Hence people mostly gather this type of St John's wort herb although it is 10 times less effective as a treatment then the Hypericum perforatum. Incorrectly gathered plants can be not only useless but very harmful. Let's take for an example the celandine plant. The healing power of this plant lies in its leafy flowering tops, harvested during the flowering period. If celandine is gathered of the ground together with its roots, and afterward dried with that root too, then when preparing the decoctions and infusions, it is very easy to make a poison rather than a cure because at the root of celandine contains highly toxic compounds.

The same can be said regarding the recommendations to add freshly chopped grass to dog food. Of course the organism will have a chance to absorb some of the nutrients from the juice of the cut grass/ However if the dog will not eat the food mixed with chopped grass within the next 1-2 hours, the active plant components will become subjected to oxidation and their nitrate content will increase sufficiently which will result in a harmful experience for the dog's organism.

Thus the usage of ready-to-use phyto-products for pets health treatment is the most correct and safe way. However, using a commercial product you still need to follow certain rules as well. First of all it is imperative to pay attention to whether there is a label on the package that reads "For the animals." This is the only guarantee  that the product had went through a series of preclinical and clinical studies and is approved for use on dogs or cats. It is better to purchase phyto-medication designed for a particular animal species rather than that with a long list for example two pills for dogs, one pill for cats, 6 pills for piglets ... and so on. The difference between a dogs metabolism and a cats is as the same as, for example, between a snakes and human metabolism. Hence the composition of drugs should also take this into account. Even if it is possible to use the same qualitative composition of herbs, in quantitative terms, it must differ.

Phyto-products for animals should preferably be made based on plant extracts and not contain finely ground plant parts. Dogs and cats are predatory animals and their digestive tract lacks the necessary enzymes that are needed to extract the desired substances and conduct the process of activation from the dry plant mixture. The herbal medicines for cats, especially those designed for the regulation of the water-salt metabolism (kidney disease, kidney stones and UCSC) should not contain table salt (sodium chloride). Sometimes this is done aiming to increase thirst and water consumption. However, the water and salt exchange is under the regulation of complex system of diuretic hormones and the use of the salt can not only break it, but also lead to hormone deficiency. Furthermore restoring the hormonal balance is very difficult.

Is not worth relying on herbal medicine in the following cases:

  • Firstly in cases of acute condition of the disease. In these cases, it is necessary to to apply potent medications that can quickly stop the development process. Only after that it is recommended take a regenerative course using herbal medicine for a period not less than one month.
  • Secondly, Во-вторых, if the application of phyto-products does not produce positive results, it is necessary to switch to medicines, continuing to give phyto-products as auxiliary treatments. Otherwise, you can lose time: the disease can go too far.
  • Thirdly, heart diseases, even at early stages of their development, are not relevant to diseases that can be treated using herbal medicines.

In conclusion it is clear that applying methods of herbal medicine treatment should be done with utmost responsibility. The payback for the underestimation of these products, at best, would be a disappointment. But it should be known that we can even make potentially big harm to our beloved pets. Therefore the main advice can be the following: only those phyto-products should be used that are manufactured by a company specializing in the production of drugs for animals that have passed clinical tests and the package of which are labeled "For Animals" , including the address and phone number of the manufacturer. If you are not familiar with this drug manufacturer, you can call the above number and ask to advise you about the application of this or that product. Furthermore, there must be mandatory supporting information about the purpose, dosage and course duration of applying the product.

In compliance with all of these recommendations phyto-medications will become your reliable assistants and guarantors of the health of your pets.