Here are some of the informative client handouts I recommend to my patients. Click on any of the topics below to learn more about an herb, supplement or type of complementary therapy.
Aminocaproic Acid -
An anti-fibrinolytic agent that is an agent that prevents the breakdown of fibrin, a protein needed for proper blood clotting.
There is a massive body of research into the potential benefits of antioxidants in people, laboratory animals, and cell cultures. Results of clinical data show some benefit to pets with allergies and arthritis.
In pets, it is often prescribed for conditions which may respond to the use of antioxidants.
Biological Response Modifiers -
Biological response modifiers are large sugar molecules (immune polysaccharides), or sugar and protein molecules (glycoproteins) that interact with the receptors on the surface of immune system cells.
Black and Green Teas -
Green tea might be beneficial in any condition calling for the use of antioxidants.
Calcium Supplements -
Calcium supplements are also often required to be added to home-prepared diets to ensure proper calcium balance. Without adequate calcium, painful bonedeformitities may arise.
Calendula, or Pot Marigold, is very commonly used in herbal medicine as a topical anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Its soothing effect is due to an ability to scavenge free radicals (which are products of inflammation), preventing them from causing further inflammation.
The main indication for carnitine supplementation is for the pet with heart disease, specifically dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs. There is no reason to suspect that it may not prove useful in the management of other small animal cardiac disorders, given its wide use in humans.
CETYL Myristoleate -
For pets with osteoarthritis, treatment with cetyl myristoleate may relieve pain, improve mobility and increase range of motion.
Chamomile is often administered orally to dogs and used topically in both dogs and cats. It is given orally to relieve anxiety and also to relieve inflammation in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
Choline is indicated as part of the therapy for dogs and cats with seizures (epilepsy.) Choline appears to be effective in treating small animal cognitive disorders (cognitive dysfunction, "doggy and kitty Alzheimer’s").
Any pet with degenerative joint disease and arthritis may benefit from treatment with chondroitin.
Coenzyme Q-10 -
Coenzyme Q-10 has shown effectiveness in research studies conducted on dogs with heart disease and heart failure. Clinical experience suggests its effectiveness for pets with periodontal disease and as part of a cancer protocol.
Colostrum is the antibody-rich fluid produced from the mother’s mammary glands during the first day or two after birth. It contains a number of antibodies and growth factors, which young animals and humans can absorb intact for the first couple of days following birth.
Combining Alternative Medical Therapies -
If multiple therapies are given to a patient at one time, it is impossible to know which treatment caused which response.
Dimethylglycine (DMG) -
Dimethylglycine is a highly unusual supplement, in that it is extremely popular despite the fact that all of its touted effects have largely been refuted by clinical and laboratory testing. It is most widely used as a performance enhancer by athletes and in dogs and horses that are bred for racing purposes.
Any pet can be treated with Echinacea. Given the clinical importance of recurrent upper respiratory infections in dogs, cats, horses, and rabbits, these species might especially benefit from Echinacea.
Enzymes catalyze virtually every function in the body, from digestion to tissue repair, and from hormone function to energy production. Without them, these same processes would occur much too slowly to be compatible with life.
Ephedra finds use in the treatment of chronic respiratory problems, such as bronchitis, sinusitis, and most notably asthma. Ephedra is also an important constituent of some commonly used traditional Chinese herbal formulas to treat low back and joint pain.
Eyebright (euphrasia officinalis) is an herb that has mild antimicrobial (antiseptic), anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. As the name suggests, it appears to have a special effect on the eye.
Fatty Acid Supplements (Omega 3 and Omega 6) -
Fatty acid supplements can reduce shedding, promote growth of the undercoat, and reduce tendencies to inflammation.
Fish Oil Supplements -
Fish oil supplementation may be helpful for pets with inflammatory diseases including allergies, arthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, and cancers.
Flax Seed Oil -
Like fish oil, flax seed oil is used to treat chronic inflammatory disorders. Fish oil is a direct source of EPA and DHA whereas the ALA within flax seed oil must be converted into DHA and EPA.
Flower Essences -
Any pet can be treated with flower essences; the most commonly treated animals are dogs and cats.
In pets, garlic is mainly used to decrease internal and external parasites. Flea control products for dogs and cats that utilize garlic are abound on pet supply store shelves.
The most famous medical use of ginger is as an anti-emetic (prevention of nausea and vomiting). Indeed, in Chinese medicine, ginger is consumed as a stomachic, to help support digestion and normalize gastric function.
In dogs, ginkgo is most commonly recommended for the treatment of cognitive disorder (a degenerative disorder of the brain causing a form of senility), with anecdotal reports of success.
Some practitioners use Ginseng in any weakened pet, to build resistance, reduce susceptibility to illness, and promote health and longevity. One of the most recent laboratory studies demonstrated that Korean Ginseng reduces liver cell rupture and minimizes fibrosis during liver repair.
Pets with lameness, bowel, or bladder disease may benefit from treatment with glucosamine.
Glutamine is often recommended for pets with chronic bowel disorders including inflammatory bowel disease and parvoviral enteritis, since it is the preferred fuel source of damaged intestinal epithelial cells.
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) -
Pets with arthritis are often treated with GAGS. GAGS function similar to aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by decreasing the production of harmful pro-inflammatory compounds including prostaglandins that may degrade the cartilage matrix.
Bioflavonoids, as a class of biologically active chemical compounds, tend to have protective effects on specific tissues.
Home-Made Diets for Pets -
Creating a balanced diet for a pet thus seems a formidable task, but there is an easy way to do it. Simply follow diet recipes that have been formulated by animal nutritionists or that otherwise are shown to meet the basic nutritional requirements for the species.
Medicinal Mushrooms -
Medicinal mushrooms are currently most often used clinically in the treatment of cancer.
MGN-3 is the trade name for arabinoxylan that has been extracted from the bran of rice and then enzymatically treated with an extract of shiitake mushrooms. MGN-3 increases natural killer cell activity by stimulating increased levels of tumor necrosis factor and interferon.
MSM, (methylsulfonylmethane,) is a natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain killing) product. MSM has been used for several years in the treatment of arthritis in pets.
N-acetylcysteine is used in veterinary medicine for the treatment of acetaminophen toxicity in cats and dogs. Other potential applications for NAC include the treatment of degenerative myelopathy, respiratory disease, chronic renal failure and feline immune deficiency virus (FIV).
Natural Approaches To Feeding Cats and Dogs -
In general, cats are obligate carnivores, and require meat as the major part of their diet. Because of their differences, dogs and cats have specific requirements for certain essential amino acids (components of proteins) and other nutrients.
Nutraceuticals appear to be of benefit in both the treatment and prevention of disease. By using nutraceuticals, you may be able to reduce or eliminate the need for conventional medications, reducing the chances of any adverse effect.
Olive Leaf -
Olive leaf has been used successfully for treating infections in pets for many years. Pets with infections, especially ear and skin infections, often show positive responses when treated. Olive leaf extract also possesses anti-oxidant properties, which may more rapidly reduce inflammation than when antibiotics are used alone.
Orthomolecular Therapy -
Orthomolecular therapy (from ‘ortho’ meaning ‘right’) places its focus on providing optimal levels of nutrients and substances that are normally present in the body in order to either prevent the development of disease or to treat disease once it has occurred.
Perna is an effective supplement for pets with arthritis that has been used by veterinarians interested in alternative medicine for several years. The product is safe for use in both dogs and cats.
Probiotics are given orally and are recommended for patients showing symptoms of intestinal disorders. They are recommended to maintain or re-establish the normal balance of bacterial flora in the intestinal tract, and to treat overgrowth of pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria
Raw Food Diets for Dogs and Cats -
Raw food diets are available commercially, or can be prepared at home. They contain whole animal and plant tissues that have not undergone processing to denature (break down) their proteins, starches and fats.
SAMe is widely prescribed for the same purposes in animals as it is in people. That is, SAMe is used for the treatment of canine cognitive disorders, suspected depression, osteoarthritis, and hepatitis.
Selecting Supplements for Your Pet -
Just because a product is natural, doesn’t mean that it is safe. All medicines and medicinal plants are potentially toxic if used inappropriately or given to excess. The best source of information for the safety of supplements in domestic animals is your veterinarian.
Slippery Elm -
The lubricating qualities make it desirable to try for pets, especially cats, with constipation. The lubricating qualities may also help soothe the upper respiratory passages of pets with bronchitis symptoms such as excessive coughing.
Soy Proteins / Isoflavones -
Soy proteins have been speculated to potentially aid the treatment of estrogen-sensitive conditions in small animals, including benign prostatic hypertrophy (benign enlargement of the prostate gland) and hormonally responsive urinary incontinence.
St. John's Wort -
While St. John’s Wort is typically thought of as promoting human mental health, research indicates that the herb is also anxiolytic (reduces anxiety) in some animal species.
Supplements for Puppies and Kittens -
Puppies and kittens are growing and developing rapidly. They have higher caloric requirements than adults, and require increased levels of fats and proteins in their diet in order to grow and develop both structurally and physiologically. Optimal nutrition is critical in the development of a healthy immune system.
Supplements for the Older Pet -
Supplements are used to help counter the aging process. Effective use of supplements requires the consideration of patient factors such as the organ system that needs support, and product factors such as dosage, safety, efficacy and balance.
Tea Tree Oil -
Historically, tea tree oil has been used externally to relieve muscle, joint and tooth pain; and to repel fleas and other external parasites, including sarcoptic mange.
Tellington Touch (TTouch) Therapy -
TTouch was originally developed to address equine behavior and training problems, but has been applied to many other species, including dogs, cats, and humans. It has also been explored for use in zoo animals.
Veterinary Acupuncture -
Acupuncture can be used on all species of animals, and has documented efficacy on a wide range of species, including elephants, cattle, horses, dogs, cats, monkeys, and rabbits.
Veterinary Chiropractic Care -
Chiropractic manipulation is frequently performed on horses, dogs, and cats, but can theoretically be performed on any vertebrate species.
Veterinary Herbal Therapy -
Animal treatments are frequently inspired by human herbal medicine, but veterinary expertise is required to select the appropriate formula and to address differences in metabolism between animals and humans, and between the various animal species.
Veterinary Homeopathy -
Homeopathy is routinely practiced in dogs, cats, horses, ruminants, and birds. Its use in other exotic species is growing.
Veterinary Magnetic Therapy -
The use of magnets as a medical treatment was documented in China in 2000BC, and references to its use can be found in the early cultures of India, Egypt and Greece.
Veterinary Massage Therapy -
While the desire to touch animals is probably one of the first things we are aware of from the time we are newborn, massage therapy itself has been relatively recently adopted as a therapeutic modality by veterinary medicine, and borrows heavily from techniques used in human massage therapy. A few of the more common techniques include trigger-point massage, craniosacral therapy, acupressure, friction massage, and passive range of motion therapy.
Veterinary Physiotherapy -
Although various forms of physical therapy have undoubtedly been used for centuries on animals, the foundation for its use as an applied science is very recent. The American Association of Equine Practitioners established a set of guidelines for the practice of physical therapy on horses in 1993.
Veterinary Use of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) -
TCM has been used in Eastern cultures to treat humans for thousands of years, and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) has used the same concepts and methods of diagnosis and treatment to treat animals for a similar period of time.
Weight Loss Supplements -
An epidemic of obesity in both humans and companion animals has spawned a large trade in weight loss supplements. Some, such as those which contain ephedrine, have been eliminated from the market in the United States and Canada due to potential adverse cardiac effects. Some of the higher profile supplements remaining on the market include chitosan, pyruvate and linoleic acid.
White Willow Bark -
White willow bark might be recommended as a pain-reliever and anti-inflammatory agent for pets with various disorders, especially arthritis.
Whole Food Supplements (or Glandular Therapy for Pets) -
Research suggests that glandular therapy and whole tissue supplementation have the potential to be successful forms of therapy for immune-mediated diseases or degenerative conditions.