Antibiotics and Steroids- a damaging duo for your dog (Part two)

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Hi there, Lyndall Pinchen from Canine Vitality back today to share with you part two of ANTIBIOTICS AND STEROIDS – DAMAGING DUO FOR YOUR DOG. In part one we looked at the damaging impact of both antibiotics and steroids on the long term health of your dog and found that they can lead to gut damage and immune imbalances as well as general toxicity. And while we know that these drugs can truly be life saving, for the most part your dog is being exposed to these drugs way too much.

So, if we want to avoid these drugs, what are the alternatives?? I know as dog owners that the thought of not being able to rely on turning to these two drugs can be a scary thought- I mean, aren’t they the only way to control infections and inflammation??? Well, thankfully NO. Mother nature has provided us with some amazing natural medicines that are highly effective as both natural antibiotics and steroids. Today I’ll be focusing on herbs as they are my passion and I regularly use these with good success both in my own life and professionally.

ANTIBIOTICS:
I know this is a big one- the medical profession has placed such fear in our minds about needing antibiotics for even minor infections that it’s no wonder that we are scared to rely on anything else. Vets even prescribe prophylactic antibiotics ‘just in case’ an infection occurs. But did you know that when used at the correct dose and frequency that herbs can be just as effective if not MORE effective than many standard antibiotics. Why would I say more effective?? Well, that’s the beauty of herbs. Rather than just having ONE single action like an antibiotic, every single herb has MULTIPLE actions. Take for example one of my favourite antibiotic herbs GARLIC. This herb has natural antibiotic action but is also has the ability to boost the immune system and is a powerful antioxidant- all properties you really need when the body is fighting any infection. Now I can already hear you saying, but isn’t garlic toxic to dogs/?? When used in the correct dose it is absolutely SAFE for dogs. You can learn more about Garlic by clicking here for my blog post. I always add Garlic tincture into my herbal antibiotic blends and it combines well with other herbs like Echinacea and Thyme. I find that using liquid tinctures for any infection works well as it is quickly taken into the body and goes to work rapidly. However, it is important to know that giving more frequent doses is required especially for severe infections. I work on giving 1 drop per kilogram of bodyweight twice daily for maintenance doses but in infectious states, you would want to be giving this dose every 1-2 hours where possible.

What about other herbs that are natural antibiotics??

Golden seal (hydrastis canadensis) is a herb native to eastern parts of the USA and southeast Canada. It is generally known as one of the most effective antimicrobial herbs and is indeed one of my favourite herbs. It has helped me out on many occasion over the years with various infections and other issues. Golden seal contains an active ingredient known as berberine that has been shown to inhibit bacteria from sticking to cell walls, thus stopping the from becoming infected. Golden seal also helps reduce inflammation and boosts the immune response. This is really a herb that is used in short term bursts for 1-2 weeks for acute infections. As this herb is very potent, I only use small doses given three times daily. This will range from 1-3 drops for toy and small dogs up to 20-30 drops three times daily for giant breeds. Golden seal also works well as topical wash or ointment and can be used on infected cuts and sores where it can be applied three times daily. I remember many years ago when I used to treat humans, I had a lady come to me with a nasty staph sores on her leg. She has been prescribed both oral antibiotics as well as antibiotic creams but nothing has worked. I prescribed her some golden seal as part of the treatment and within 7 days the sores had significantly reduced, and after a further week, the infection had resolved. This is the power of herbs when used correctly!!

Thyme and Oregano are two other herbs I love to use as natural antibiotics. Both of these contain natural oils that are potent antibiotics and studies have shown these to be effective against a variety of microbes including salmonella, staph infections and e.coli. Generally Oregano is prescribed as an oil and the dose needs to be given in small amounts usually best given via a capsule added into your dog’s food 2-3 three times daily. Thyme tincture can be added in at a dose of 1 drop per kilogram of bodyweight every 1-2 hours.

In addition to these, there are many other herbs that can be used to fight any infection. Echinacea, Licorice root, Oregon grape, Grapefruit seed extract, Red clover and many others. I combine a number of herbs in my herbal antibiotic blend that creates a powerful natural antibiotic that can be used for a variety of infections. I always recommend giving these for 3-14 days depending on the infection but most infections will respond in this time.

When it comes to STEROID alternatives we need to remember firstly that if your dog is already taking a steroid medication, it is important not to stop this straight away. Always work with your holistic vet or practitioner. I see many dogs that come into my clinic that are already on cortisone and other steroidal medications and I never attempt to lower any dosages for at least the first 4-6 weeks. I need time for other natural alternatives to start working and then in time, I can assess how best to reduce the drugs.

However, if you dog is not taking steroids and you are looking for natural alternatives, let’s take a look at some herbs that have a natural steroid action. Remember also that in last week’s post, we talked about the body producing its own natural corticosteroids which have an anti-inflammatory action. SO by fully supporting your dog’s adrenal (stress) glands, you will be making sure that the production of this hormone is being fully supported. And diet is also highly important in reducing inflammation. An organic raw and grain free diet is the best way to keep inflammation at bay.

One of the best known herbs that has a natural steroidal action is LICORICE ROOT. It works primarily by preventing the breakdown of the adrenal gland’s own production of cortisol, thus increasing the body’s natural level of corticosteroids. This herb can deplete potassium levels when taken long term so it is always best to work with your practitioner with this herb and I like to combine Dandelion root when given this herb over a period of time as Dandelion is high in potassium and this can balance things out. In addition, if you dog is already taking steroids, this herb is contraindicated. Dose of the tincture will range from 3-20 drops twice daily in food depending on your dog’s weight.

TURMERIC is another fantastic herb that we can use to help reduce inflammation. Its active ingredient, CURCUMIN is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that can switch of many levels if inflammation in the body. Be careful how you use this though. If not given in the right form, it can be difficult for your dog to absorb. I always use practitioner forms that are guaranteed to get into your dogs system quickly and effectively. I currently have a client based in New York who’s dog is suffering from an autoimmune disease known as polyarthritis. I have been working over the last 2 months with Haze and using a high grade of Curcumin as part of my regime. And this doggie has done very well not only with the autoimmune disease itself, but overall health improvement.

There is a class of herbs known as ADAPTOGENIC herbs that work by helping the body adapt to stress and are supportive particularly of the adrenal glands and immune system. Given that many steroids are prescribed for autoimmune diseases, using adaptogenic herbs can be of great benefit due to their ability to support the production of natural corticosteroids. These herbs include the Ginseng family, Ashwaghanda, Rhodiola, Holy Basil, Bacopa and Astragalus just to name a few. These herbs can be taken over long periods of time to support the body and are useful to rebalance immune dysfunction as well as reduce inflammation by supporting the adrenal glands.

So you can see form today’s post that there are indeed other natural alternatives to these two drugs and while there may be times you do need to use them, there any many times when you can use herbs and other natural supplements to treat infections and inflammatory issues. It’s always helpful if your dog has a complex immune issue such as an autoimmune disease or recurrent infections to get the help of a qualified holistic practitioner who can help you solve this naturally. If you would like to know more about accessing some of these herbs, then please leave me a message in the comments box below. Also, if you would like me to work with you and your dog please see the links below. I hope you enjoyed this two part series on ANTIBIOTICS AND STEROIDS- A DAMAGING DUO FOR YOUR DOG. If your dog is has had experience on either or both of these drugs I would love to hear from you. Please message me below. And don’t forget to like, comment and share this post and subscribe to my channel for the latest updates. I look forward to catching up with in our next video. Bye for now.