Veterinary Herbal Therapy By HolisticalVets

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What is veterinary herbal therapy and why should I be interested in it for my pet?

Veterinary herbal therapy is when herbs are given orally or applied topically to encourage the body to heal itself by correcting imbalances in the body that may be promoting disease.

Like all of the other treatment modalities discussed on our website, herbs used are chosen based on your pet’s needs and diagnosis. Clinical research has shown that TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) herbal therapy is extremely effective in treating many health and behavioral concerns commonly found in pets, including those affecting the gastrointestinal system, the musculoskeletal system, heart, lungs, liver, skin, kidneys, and other organs. Herbs are also used to increase the quality of life of older pets and those affected by cancer, as herbs can be used to shrink a tumor’s size when chemotherapy is not an option.

Herbal formulas used in TCVM are usually a combination of two or more herbs designed to treat a specific pattern diagnosis and these formulas can be used alone or together with other forms of medicine, regardless if holistic/TCVM and/or conventional/Western.

Picture of colorful herbs for HolisticalVets page about veterinary Herbal Therapy

Why should I consider herbal therapy when medications for health problems exist?

Herbal therapy provides us with another tool. While medications are often helpful, often times they tend to focus on minimizing symptoms and may not fix the underlying problem. In addition, with medications, there is always a risk of adverse effects, especially when used long term. On the other hand, the goal of herbal therapy is to fix the underlying problem, which in turn, should resolve the symptoms.

Is herbal therapy be available for all species like acupuncture and Tui-na are?

Herbal therapy to only available for dogs, cats, and horses; however, there is a possibility that herbal therapy may be available for other species in the future.

Is herbal therapy safe?

When performed by a veterinarian that’s specially trained in herbal therapy and the correct herbal formulations are chosen, herbal therapy can be used safely for your pet. If needed, it can also be combined with conventional/Western medicine to help your pet get the best of both worlds medically. However, it’s important to note that herbs, like anything else that’s applied topically or ingested, always has a risk of causing gastrointestinal upset, so it’s always better to see how the body responds with a small amount and then increase gradually if able.

Picture of herbs for HolisticalVets page about veterinary Herbal Therapy

Are results guaranteed with herbal therapy? If so, how soon can I expect improvement?

Often times, holistic medicine and treatments require more time and effort from everyone involved and since holistic medicine is not a quick fix, overnight resolution is uncommon. In the case of herbal therapy, results are usually seen 2-3 weeks after starting.

While conventional/Western medicine may provide faster results, holistic medicine helps set the foundation and attempts to balance out the scales in hopes of improving health and providing a better quality of life. Regardless of the type of medicine used, whether holistic or conventional, every animal is unique and may or may not respond to treatment in different ways and just like with conventional/Western measures, there are no guarantees in medicine.

Holistic medicine can be helpful for a multitude of problems that may afflict pets (and secondarily, their owners). These problems are not just limited to diseases and illnesses affecting muscles, bones, and nerves, but also those that affect behavior, the skin and other organs, the immune system, and so much more.

While some conditions may be able to be resolved completely, other times (just like in Western medicine) there are afflictions that cannot be resolved (or if they can be, only partially). Often times, especially if the condition is chronic or at or near end-stage, the goal is to simply extend the pet’s quality of life and to slow down or possibly halt the progression of the disease/illness for as long as feasibly possible.