FORMS BASIS OF ALL WE DO
saying "We are what we eat" rings true and applies to animals
as well as people. A proper diet, combined with necessary nutritional
supplements, forms the basis of any holistic therapy. In many cases, diet
plus supplements will be all the treatment or prevention that is required.
practitioners usually manage animal disease by addressing diet first;
reflecting the idea that diet is the cornerstone of health. Nutritional
approaches will always include manipulating the basic diet, sometimes
by advocating a home prepared diet to ensure that phytonutrients and other,
unidentified essential dietary factors are provided to the degree possible.
Once frank food intolerances or relative deficiencies are corrected with
basic diet, nutritional supplementation may include vitamins, minerals,
nutraceuticals, as well as herbal or animal "pharmafoods".
nutraceutical is defined as any non-toxic food component that has scientifically
proven health benefits, including disease treatment or prevention. Even
adhering to guidelines provided by the Dietary Supplement and Health Education
Act (DSHEA), however, definitions of nutraceuticals and dietary supplements
are broad enough to include many herbal and animal components not necessarily
considered normal pet food components.
supplements may be used for very specific purposes or for the broader
purpose of "tonification", a concept not fully utilized in conventional
medicine. Dietary components recommended for tonification purposes may
range from simple diet changes to concentrated "green foods"
to tonifying herbs. Examples described below are based on both my clinical
experience and a number of experimental and clinical studies.
Vera is highly effective for burn treatment, and it speeds wound healing
and cell growth. It is also an effective anti-inflammatory and purgative
agent. It is helpful in wound management, constipation and bowel disease
associated with inflammation. It has tonifying effects similar to the
Chinese herbal combination called Rehmania 6.
proven to be useful for cardiac disease, Coenzyme Q-10 may also boost
the immune system and boost phagocytic properties of the white blood cells.
It is useful in periodontal disease and may benefit diabetics which are
always deficient in Coenzyme
Q-10. Give 50 mg a day for a small dog or cat, 100 mg daily for a medium
dog, 200 mg for a large, and 300 mg for a giant dog.
commonly used for various bowel disorders, digestive enzymes are useful
for several conditions including allergies, cancer, borborygmus, voluminous
feces and decreased gastric emptying. Digestive enzymes are commonly indicated
to detoxify the pet's system. Plant enzymes are preferred, as they are
bioactive in a wide range of pH conditions. Pancreatin and papaya enzymes
are excellent supplements and are readily available. Give one or two tablets
daily, according to weight.
are a number of uses for garlic including diabetes (Garlic increases the
half-life of insulin and improves circulation, cardiovascular disease
(circulatory improvement, decreased platelet aggregation), immune support
and cancer prevention. Give one tablet daily for the smaller dog, two
to three twice daily for the larger dog.
More and more people are becoming familiar with the use of glucosamine and similar compounds for relieving the pain and inflammation seen with various arthritis conditions. Glucosamine is a compound that I think must be included in any treatment of arthritis, hip dysplasia, or any other crippling disorder because of its invaluable influence in healing these disorders.
sulfate is safe for dogs, safe for cats and safe for humans. It is no
problem to give to a pet because it can easily be added to their food
and it's tasteless. By adding glucosamine sulfate directly into the diet,
you can be certain that you are giving the cells of the joint the material
they need to create healthy cartilage. Other inflammatory disorders for
which glucosamine might be indicated include inflammatory bowel disease,
spinal disk disease, chronic colitis and food allergies.
root of the Western and Chinese herb, Licorice, is indicated for ulcers,
stomatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. It helps digestion and stimulates
the qi of the body. Avoid it if your animal is hypertensive.
Thistle is a popular remedy for liver disease. This herb helps to restore
liver and gall bladder function. It is particularly helpful after bouts
of lipidosis, hepatitis and toxins accumulated through fever. Milk Thistle
also strengthens the blood cell wall, so is recommended for ulcers and
healing tissues in the body in general. Milk thistle can therefore be
used as both an infection fighter and a tonifying herb. Mix 10 drops tincture
to 1 ounce distilled water, using 1 to 3 droppers twice daily, depending
upon the size of the animal.
Chinese herb, Astragalus, has become reknowned in the West for helping
to treat cancer. Astragalus contains flavones, which help circulation
and blood production. Because it enhances circulation, it helps prevent
stagnation which can cause tumors to form. Astragalus also contains polysaccharides
which helps to inhibit tumor formation. It has been shown to increase
strength, stamina, and digestion after chemotherapy and radiation treatment,
and to increase survival rates in cancer patients after these treatments.
It is a qi tonic. It is good for food absorption, normalizing urination
and blood production.
It is accepted that saw palmetto inhibits conversion of testosterone and decreases absorption of dihydrotestosterone into cells, making it extremely useful in treating benign prostratic hypertrophy in people. Some veterinarians are having luck with this herb for similar problems in dogs with this disorder.
green foods such as algae, spirulina, wheat grass sprouts and barley grass
are among the nutrient-rich foods that contain antioxidants, essential
amino acids, vitamins and minerals. These supplements can be used as general
healthful supplements for all dogs and cats, as well as for consideration
in skin problems (including allergies) and arthritis. There are no side
effects, and barley grass is very effective in treating many "gassy"
dogs. Additional uses for these products include periodontal disease,
cases which require vitamin/mineral/antioxidant supplementation, geriatric
patients and those requiring additional antioxidant support such as radiation
Some herbs are best given on an empty stomach or between meals, although all the herbs and nutraceuticals listed above can be given with food. It is sometimes best to mix the herbs with a small amount of food and feed it to your dog or cat with a fifteen-minute break before giving him the rest of his meal. This way the herbs don't get lost in the shuffle and diluted by a lot of food. However, when this is impossible, the herbs can be given with the entire meal.
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