Not all dog owners are comfortable using the sometimes controversial medications and treatments recommended by traditional vets for various types of worms and intestinal parasites. Some of these treatments can cause health risks to young puppies or dogs that are sensitive or even allergic to a specific worming medication. There are also breeds that are known have extremely serious reactions to specific worming medications. An example of this is the Rough Collie, a breed that can have serious and even fatal reactions to wormers that contain Ivermectin, Avermectin or Abamectin, which are all from the same chemical group of wormers. In addition to Rough Collies other breeds including Border Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds and Bearded Collies also have a significant risk of a reaction to the medication. Some sight hound breeds are also considered to be low risk for the same reaction.
Alternative, natural or holistic treatments for various types of parasites are on the market, however your vet may not be able to make specific recommendations for these types of treatments. In the United States, Canada, Europe and the United Kingdom there are vets that specialize in holistic and homeopathic treatments for dogs and other domesticated animals. If you are interested in finding a vet that has this specialization in natural treatments and treating the whole dog, contact the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, often referred to as the AHVMA. Other countries may also have their own listings and resources, talk to a veterinarian or do some internet research to find out what services are available.
Natural Heartworm Treatments and Prevention
There are several different companies that market holistic and natural treatments either to prevent heartworm or to treat existing conditions. Since natural cures tend to kill existing worms more slowly, there is reported to be less risk in the complications with blockages caused by large numbers of worms breaking off and floating through the lungs and blood vessels. These treatments are typically in capsule form and include natural anthelmintics such as garlic and capsicum as well as ginger root and spearmint. These herbs change the chemical composition of the blood and digestive system to make it inhospitable for the heartworms to grow, develop and reproduce.
These treatments may contain a variety of natural compounds including small amounts of black walnut, circulation enhancing herbs and natural immune boosters. In addition essential oils such as Tea Tree Oil and Lavender can be mixed with water and used as a spray to repel mosquitoes that are the source of the worm larvae entering the dog's system.
Heartworm prevention using natural treatments, herbal compounds and supplements is not like the medicated treatments where you simply use the product in liquid or pill form once a month, this is an ongoing supplement to the food or coat to prevent the worms from developing. Of course the natural herbs also provide additional benefits such as improving digestion, boosting immunity and aiding in skin and coat maintenance. While it may be a bit more work it is definitely helpful to your dog for more than just the primary treatment of heartworms.
Natural Worm Treatments and Prevention
As mentioned above some prescription wormers can be fatal to dogs, but many other dogs will have mild to moderate reactions from the wormers. Owners that want to avoid any possible issues with these harsh types of wormers may want to consider using a natural, holistic alternative treatment. These treatments, like the heartworm herbal treatments, need to be used on an ongoing basis, not just once or twice a year like the medical options. This is because the herbal treatments work to continually make the digestive system inhospitable or unsuitable for worms to live, breed and grow, while it also promotes digestive system health and immunity for the dog. Most of these products work to support the natural immunity and digestive enzymes that are present in the dog's body, thereby helping the dog to keep their own system clean and free from worms and other internal parasites.
Typical natural worming treatments will include a well-researched herb known, strangely enough, as wormwood. This component works to aid the digestive system and cleanse the blood and internal organs, helping overall health as well as digestion. Cloves are another common ingredient in natural worming products and act as both a detoxifying compound as well as slightly changing the digestive tract chemistry to make it work better and be less desirable for parasites.
Kelp may be found in some natural worming remedies, as well as Neem. Both of these naturally occurring botanicals act to repel parasites and worms and enhance the digestive functioning of the dog.
Often herbal treatments for humans to aid in digestion, blood circulation and detoxification of the entire body contain these same elements and natural ingredients. They are, however, found in different ratios and mixtures, so only use herbal treatments for dogs on dogs, don't use human formulations on your pet.
Possible Side Effects and Reactions To Natural Treatments
Side effects and reactions to any type of herbal treatment are relatively uncommon, however they can occur. Just like people can be allergic to different herbs and herbal combinations, so can dogs. It is important to carefully monitor your dog whenever starting out on any type of medication or treatment, herbal or prescription.
Dog owners should watch for changes in the energy level of the dog, the coat condition, as well as the functioning of the bladder and bowels. Any changes that last more than a day or two, especially if there is diarrhea or any type of bloody discharge should immediately be checked out by your vet, either a traditional vet or a holistic vet. Avoid feeding the herbal supplement until your vet has examined the dog and determined if the problem is related to the supplement or herbal treatment or is something else.
Overall, dog owners that use herbal treatments strongly support the use of these products. If you do decide to try a herbal worming treatment, be sure to buy only from a reputable seller and perhaps consult with a holistic vet as to what brands or companies they would recommend.