cat_with_vestChinese herbs have been used for centuries. It is tailored more to the individual animal and recognizes the whole body approach to healing. Chinese herbal medications can strengthen the animal’s immune system, correct deficiencies in the body’s organs such as the kidneys, liver, lungs and heart, and eliminate pathogens from the body.

We have prescribed a Chinese Herbal Formula for your pet. It may be the only prescription or may be in addition to your pet’s regular medication to allow us to possibly lower the dosages or discontinue the medication in the future. Here is some information on what to expect, how to administer the medication and what to do with any potential side effects.

What to Expect:

Chinese herbs can take longer to work than traditional Western medications. We like to give 2-4 weeks to judge if there are any changes/response to the herbal medication. We may be looking at just subtle improvements in the first few weeks such as panting less, jumping on the cough again, or being more social indicating a possible improvement in general well-being. While they may take longer to work, our hope is that slowly over time we will get a permanent resolution of the issue and not just covering things up. To ease people and animals into the medication, I usually begin at a half dosage for 3-4 days to monitor the animal’s response to the medication. As an animal responds to the Chinese herbal formula, new underlying symptoms may be uncovered that can be discovered at the follow-up examinations. These may require adding or changing herbal formulas. This does not mean that the medication is making your pet worse, we are slowly getting to the root of the problem.

Administering the herbs:

Herbs come in dry powders (granular forms), capsules, tablets, tea pills and liquid extracts. Most are administered twice daily but occasionally in acute situations we may need to administer them three times daily. Tips for getting your pet to eat the granular formulas include mixing with canned food, meat baby food, tuna fish water, chicken broth, clam juice and honey. Tablets can be given whole or crushed and mixed with food if needed such as lunch meat or cheese. Liquid extracts can be used in cats due to low quantities needed. They are easy to digest. Many of them contain low doses of alcohol-if an alcohol-free form is desired, the extract drops can be added to freshly boiled water, allowed to sit for 5-10 minutes for the alcohol to evaporate and added to drinking water or by dropper directly to the animal.

Dosage Response:

While most of the common Chinese herbal formulas given to animals are not known to have major side effects, every animal is different, and as with any medication, an individual reaction is possible. Diarrhea or vomiting are the most likely types of reactions seen. If any reactions, I recommend that you contact me and we will stop the medication for a few days, and then consider restarting it at a lower dosage. Most issues are dosage related and can be cleared up with a lower dosage.