If you have a dog or cat as a family member, then chances are you are familiar with corticosteroid drugs. This class of drugs were historically used to relieve life-threatening inflammation such as that which may occur with serious brain or spinal cord injuries.
However, in modern veterinary medicine the use of steroid drugs in a practice has become the “cure all”. They are used when your pet has discomfort, itches, sneezes, has diarrhea or even a skin rash. Steroids have become so over-used they are considered to be the most over-prescribed pharmaceutical by many including well known holistic practitioners.
Can steroids work? Sure they can. If your dog is itching, providing a steroid like prednisone, cortisone or hydrocortisone can suppress the immune system enough to reduce the immune response and the release of inflammatory chemicals. However, what many pet parents don’t understand is that the use of a steroid drug for longer than 10 days or so can produce side-effects that can leave your animal with chronic, and often more severe, health issues down the road. This is largely due to injury to the adrenal glands themselves because a steroid drug replaces the activity of the adrenal glands causing them to atrophy. This can be very problematic for all animals because adrenal hormones help the body control blood sugar, burn protein and fat, react to stressors like a major illness or injury, and regulate blood pressure.
If you’re concerned that your animal’s adrenal glands have atrophied to some degree due to the use of a steroid drug some glandular therapy can be implemented to support them. Our Adrenal Tonic can be very helpful along with the Adrenal Glandular. Use for at least three to four months. Pets who are on steroids long term can be kept on a lifelong regimen (use a five days on/two days off schedule) if you so desire. These two adrenal supplements will help to promote normal function of the adrenal glands that is so important to the long term health of your dog or cat.
Autoimmune conditions in animals occur when a dog or cat’s immune system produce antibodies (called autoantibodies when they cause autoimmune disease) that attack the body’s own tissue. Autoreactive (act against their own tissue) white blood cells can cause chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and in other cases severe tissue damage that can result in a life-threatening condition as occurs when the body attacks its own red blood cells in immune mediated hemolytic anemia.
Milk thistle for dogs and cats uses, dosages, safety and alternatives are found in our herbal monograph. Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), sometimes also called St. Mary’s thistle, is a popular herb for liver complaints in pets.
Fish oil is often recommended for dogs and cats for the omega 3 fatty acids it contains. Omega 3 fatty acids possess anti-inflammatory properties that can be useful for inflammatory conditions like allergies, arthritis and heart disease. However, there is more to this story than just ‘fish oil = healthy, anti-inflammatory qualities’, and our discussion on this topic will help to educate you and support our evolving, less than enthusiastic position on fish oil for general use as a supplement.
We are whole food proponents and have been for quite some time... but weren’t always. For a period of time, like most people, our supplement regimen consisted of a popular multivitamin supplement along with a variety of additional supplements that were “in the news”. I was quite happy with that regimen until I started to educate myself and realize that those educational articles in the monthly “health” magazine were not truly educational articles written for my benefit, but instead primarily advertisements.