DOGS, CATS, & herbal healing
As a clinical herbalist and animal lover, and long term "Mum" for pets, I have used herbs over the years in simple and also very complex situations. There are several books out , including those by Dr. Randy Kidd, which give more details about herb use with dogs and cats. In order to get an overview of animal herbal healing, his books, and those of Juliette de Baïracli Levy , are enlightening.
At times, within my teaching of foundational natural herbalism to students, I use an illustrative story about how either a cat or dog - of my own, or of a client - responded well to herbs. Often when some students are just learning about herb use, they come with curiosity , and a dose of ingrained skepticism, or a sense that herbal healing is the poor second cousin once removed in relation to allopathic drug care. So in bringing a story about animal herbal healing into the class, I have felt this helps most everyone see how univeral our "creature to plant" relationship is, and can be. I have observed animals suffer unnecessarily in relation to allopathic ("conventional medicine") treatments, many of which did not help heal. If I can give, on occasion, an example of a pet body system responding to herbs, I feel this helps new students mentally translate that process to human body systems.
Animals have internal body systems similar to ours. Of course they also have differences, and we cannot take herbal care of pets casually. I recommend, absolutely, consulting with a trained herbalist in these matters. We are going to have the context, training, and general oversee to give the best guidance. The weight/ size of animals, the complexity of the situation, their health history all come into play.
Relief of pain & anxiety, constipation, digestive ills, wound healing, internal structural nutritive healing- are all common ways in which I have applied herbs for pet healing. More complex situations may involve helping an animal recuperate from more serious medical issues, such as a blocked urethra, which can kill an animal. (Yet anitilithic herbs can dissolve the sediments which block, and demulcent herbs can soothe tissue while new tissue builds).
My own experience with a cat's blocked urethra was bizarre- the vet wanted to a) euthanize b) do a sex change operation for 8K. Um, No. Once I found the right vet to work with, I came to understand, through pharmacological study of their effects, the short term meds he had to be on , and some home vet tech procedures. After he was out of the woods, he never got grains again, and periodically does an herbal regimen to clear his urinary system as a precaution to any further developments. That was ten years ago. Funny how they never mentioned that the improper diet, represented by much of what is still sold, even in vet offices, pretty much contributes to this condition.
Last but not at all least, certain nutritive herbs can greatly improve the nourishment, and thus the coat, immunity, organ function, and joint health of pets. I welcome questions about this realm of herbal healing.