Veterinary Herbology

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Fundog
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Veterinary Herbology

Post by Fundog » Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:10 pm

Does anyone here dabble in herbology, particularly in the care of their dogs? I started studying herbology for several reasons, which I won't go into this initial post, but it is no secret that many pharmaceutical pain treatments marketed for dogs are a bit on the "iffy" side. Meaning, you pretty much have to make a choice between pain relief and kidney/liver failure or other side effects, and decide what will give the dog a better quality of life. Anyway, I digress... I am blessed to have a veterinarian who is also a certified herbalist, not only for his four legged patients, but for humans as well. :D I've been studying and researching all I can, and have even planted a medicinal herb garden, at first for my Annie, and secondly for me. There are some culinary herbs in there too. :wink:

Over the summer I discovered a very common "weed" that turns out to have strong medicinal properties! Before I realized this "weed" was in fact good and not just ugly and prickly, my poor Annie's (12 years old, arthritic, hip dysplasia) back legs were spasming so badly she could no longer squat to pee, and it got all over her leg fur. Oh how she reeked! Anyway, I found out that wild prickly lettuce (Latuca Serriola, aka Opium Lettuce) has antispasmodic and pain relieving properties. I started giving Annie some tea made from this, and within two doses she could squat again! She doesn't reek anymore, and I don't have to keep washing her bum and legs. :D Now, I just hope I harvested enough to get her through the winter.

I've also been reading a lot of books on the subject, including one written by a holistic veterinarian. It is called, "Dr. Kidd's Guide to Herbal Dog Care," by Randy Kidd, DVM. My veterinarian also wrote a book, "The Homegrown Herbalist," by Patrick Jones, DVM. He has a website too, by the same name.
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Fundog
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Re: Veterinary Herbology

Post by Fundog » Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:17 pm

I also just want to say.... don't go just giving your dogs herbs willy nilly without some research first! And the wild prickly lettuce that I mentioned is very strong. If you don't prepare and dose it correctly, you can actually poison your dog. Be cautious, do your research, consult with an experienced herbalist and your veterinarian, (you know the drill).
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JudyN
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Re: Veterinary Herbology

Post by JudyN » Sun Oct 18, 2015 1:47 am

I did try zoopharmacology with Jasper once. I spent a small fortune on assorted oils and herbs and Jasper had guzzled a few bottles of assorted oils before the practitioner admitted that he wasn't self-medicating with comfrey and marigold oils, he wouldn't limit his intake to what his body needed, and he was just a greedy guts who loves anything oily :lol:
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Nettle
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Re: Veterinary Herbology

Post by Nettle » Sun Oct 18, 2015 3:49 am

My vet practice now has someone who specialises in veterinary herbology. I have 'first-aid' knowledge which is just enough to make sure I know I don't know enough!

I don't know how you preserve your herbs, Fundog, but freezing is a good option if you don't have space for drying or preserving in oil.
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Re: Veterinary Herbology

Post by JudyN » Sun Oct 18, 2015 3:59 am

Could you suggest a list of herbs to grow that dogs might want to use to self-medicate?
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Nettle
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Re: Veterinary Herbology

Post by Nettle » Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:47 am

All UK plants:

Couch grass - oddly enough :lol: also called Dog grass!
Chickweed
Cleavers
Wheat and oats, but don't allow them to mature - the green shoots are what dogs need.
Peas
Chives
Berries - strawberries, raspberries, blackberries etc.
Apples
Pears

Lots more, but that's a start. I've known dogs self-medicate on hawthorn berries, and also dandelion and milk thistle.
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JudyN
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Re: Veterinary Herbology

Post by JudyN » Sun Oct 18, 2015 8:40 am

Yay, we already have couch grass, chickweed, chives, wild strawberries and apples - and plenty of dandelion, and a hawthorn :D There's quite a lot of variety in the wildflower meadow too, where he often grazes.
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Fundog
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Re: Veterinary Herbology

Post by Fundog » Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:36 am

I tie my herbs into small bundles, then tie the bundles onto clothes hangers, then hang on various hooks and nails for a few days. The small bits that can't be tied I put onto paper plates, covered with a paper towel, and set on the washing machine (it's a front loading machine).

I also put some into brown paper sacks or cardboard boxes, and fluff the matter a couple times a day to help it dry evenly. Yep, during the summer, I pretty much had bags, boxes, plates, and hangers all over the house constantly. I even stuffed some paper plates onto my book cases! :lol:

When making an oil infusion, it is important to use herbs that are throroughly dry, to prevent the growth of mold.

Annie has been known to munch the leaves of what I learned to be Burdock. Burdock has anti-inflammatory properties, is a detoxifier, and is loaded with anti-oxidants.
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Shalista
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Re: Veterinary Herbology

Post by Shalista » Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:35 pm

I know a small amount about using herbs to treat humans but was always to scared to use anything besides the most basic of remedies.

How do you know dosage levels for dogs? You mentioned kidney failure at the start and in high enough doses even some herbs can cause that.
Baxter (AKA Bax, Chuckles, Chuckster) Rat Terrier, born 01/16/13

Fundog
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Re: Veterinary Herbology

Post by Fundog » Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:09 am

That's where the books and manuals, the internet, and the knowledge of other experienced herbalists come in handy Shallista. Herbalism has been learned through generations by trial, error, and observation. As a general rule, herbal dosages are based on an adult human weighing 150 lbs. Giant breed dogs get the same amount, large, 3/4, medium dogs and children 1/2, small dogs and human infants 1/4.

In the case of the Wild Prickly Lettuce Tea that I give to Annie, I give her the smallest amount needed to allow her to squat to eliminate, and no more. That's the amount of a small World War 2 era Japanese teacup, twice a day. An overdose of this kind of medicine (and it would have to be a large quantity-- my manuals say no more than "3 cups" a day for a human is the recommended dose) could cause death by slowing the heart too much. And one day a week we give all herbal remedies a rest. This makes them more effective.
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

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