Small companion animals such as cats and dogs as well as exotic animals may be treated safely and effectively with the correct herbal medications. Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine is a 3,600 year old Traditional Chinese Medical art and science of using either single herbs or, more commonly, well-researched herbal formulas to act as both nutrients and drugs in the patient’s body. All of the animals on the earth have co-evolved with plants and thus have gastrointestinal and detoxification systems more safely amenable to herbal treatment than most drugs. There are exceptions and part of the training for a competent herbal practitioner is to know which herbs are may be a problem in some species or when given concurrently with certain western medical drugs.
The herbal medicines may be given in pill, tablet, capsule, granular or raw form. The pills, tablets and capsules are best for those animals who will comply with taking them orally. The granular herbs and raw herbs may be added to some patient’s foods who have good appetites and are not finicky. Raw herbs may also be cooked together with some home-prepared food in soup or stew form for debilitated animals.
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine practitioners use herbal medicine for a large variety of medical problems and diseases including behavioral disorders such as fear, anxiety, depression and anger. Many of these behavioral problems may successfully be treated with a combination of husbandry and environmental changes coupled with the short-term use of an appropriate herbal formula. Just as we know that there is no one diet to fit all animals, the appropriate herbal formula for your animal’s behavioral problems may be discovered by astute examination of the patient by a TCVM exam.
Cardiovascular problems such as cardiac arrhythmias and weakness leading to heart failure or obstructive pulmonary disease may be treated with precise herbal formulas alone or in combination with Western medications. And unlike modern medications, some herbal formulas seem to work by nurturing a weak heart rather than merely forcing an already compromised organ to merely work harder until death. Commonly related to cardiovascular problems, pulmonary weakness that may lead to exercise intolerance, chronic coughing, frequent upper respiratory tract infections or chronic nasal discharge may be successfully treated with herbs for clearing pathogens or tonifying deficiencies.
Ocular disorders such as difficult to heal corneal ulcers, chronic conjunctivitis, and retinal pathologies may be helped with the appropriate herbal treatment. Many forms of dental pain, redness, swelling and inflammation may have symptoms greater reduced or relieved by some herbal formulas. Some forms of chronic ear problems such as external auditory canal and middle ear inflammation may be both oral herbal medicines that treat the root cause of the problem as well as topically-applied herbal medications.
Herbal medicines may be used in the place of antibiotics (disruptive to healthy gut bacteria) and benefit a large variety of gastrointestinal disorders including inappetance, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation, and bloating. Hepatic disease of both infectious and endogenous origin may be soothed and hepatic regeneration encouraged with a judiciously chosen herbal formula. Various forms of renal disease including kidney failure and urinary problems such as inflammation, infection, and urinary leakage may be successfully alleviated and live extension given by herbal medications that normalize and regenerate kidney tissues or the organs themselves.
Most orthopedic problems including degenerative joint disease, strain/sprain, inflammation, and weakness are amenable to significant benefit from an appropriate herbal formula. Neurological disorders including paresis, paralysis, and vestibular disease may be resolved more quickly and not reoccur when treated properly with the correct herbal formula.
Most companion animals readily accept acupuncture herbal medical therapy. Sometimes we must experiment to find the form in which the herbal formula is most readily accepted. Some herbal formulas are used for a short time to clear excess conditions while others are used for long periods of time in order to tonify chronic deficiency problems. As with any form of medical intervention, herbs should only be used after a competent veterinary practitioner has made an accurate diagnosis for your companion animal.