Herbal Medicine for animals

brown horse eating grass during cloudy sky

In addition to acupuncture, Dr. Dantzler practices Evidence Based Veterinary Western Herbal Medicine. Here is some more information about this service:

  • What is Evidence Based Medicine?
    • Evidence Based Medicine means that decisions are based on evidence and not hearsay. In addition to herbs being documented and used as the primary medicine for hundreds of years prior to modern medicine, there has been an increase in published studies on herbs as medicines with impressive results. Not all ‘folk’ medicine of the past was good, but there is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water!
  • What is Western Herbal Medicine?
    • Herbal medicine is the use of plants or plant extracts to elicit a healing response. The overarching philosophy of herbal medicine is to support and promote the body in healing itself (i.e. stimulating the innate immune response).
  • The concept of Holism and Vitality:
    • Holism is working within a framework of addressing the whole animal instead of just a diagnosis or a single organ system. This generally includes a whole-patient approach, addressing nutrition, exercise, and stress alleviation in addition to symptom alleviation.
    • Vitality (Qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine) is like the spark of life within a person or animal. Herbal medicine aims to enhance the vitality of the patient and therefore improve their overall sense of wellbeing.
  • How Veterinary Western Herbal Medicine fits within Conventional Medicine:
    • Western Veterinary Herbal Medicine is a fantastic add-on to conventional medicine and may make conventional treatments more effective or have less side effects for your animal. Adding herbs to your animal’s medical protocol can round out their care and improve their quality of life.
  • How herbs works:
    • Herbs contain many active constituents (unlike a conventional drug that usually only contains one compound) that bind to receptors in cells, causing an effect. These effects can be wide ranging from pain control to dilation of blood vessels to sedation. Most herbs do many things because they contain so many different active constituents. One simple example of how an herb works is Ginkgo, which can be very effective for Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. Extracts from the leaf causes vasodilation via the nitric oxide pathway, thereby increasing blood flow to the brain.  But not only that, this herb is an antioxidant, blood thinner and bronchodilator, all in one!
  • Potential for herb drug interactions:
    • Just because it is an herb, does not mean it is safe or cannot interact with the medications or supplements your animal is already on. If you choose to pursue incorporating herbal medicine into your animal’s care, Dr. Dantzler will take a thorough history of your animal, including what medications and supplements they are on. This will help her to formulate an individualized herbal formula for your animal that will maximize any positive herb-drug interactions (i.e. reducing drug side effects) and minimize any adverse herb-drug reactions. However, not all herb-drug interactions have been studied in-depth, so we will always adjust doses carefully and monitor closely for an interaction we were not expecting.
  • Appointments for herbal medicine consultation available virtually or in-person for Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.