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Milk Thistle for Pets

Veterinarian Approved on March 25, 2012 by Dr. Janice Huntingford

Milk Thistle is a well known “liver herb” for people and pets. The active ingredient is “silymarin” which is actively a combination of other active compounds. Milk Thistle is used to treat liver disease, kidney disease, mushroom and other toxicities, and lead poisoning. Holistic veterinarians have used it for years to treat liver diseases of all sorts in dogs and cats. It has an excellent safety record and no known adverse drug interactions, although taking too much of the herb at a time can sometimes cause an upset stomach, gas, or mild diarrhea.

Liver disease in dogs and cats comes in many forms and milk thistle is helpful for all of these. Here is a list of some of the conditions I have used Milk Thistle to treat:

Leptospirosis

Cholestasis

Fatty liver in cats

Portosystemic shunts

Pancreatitis

Skin problems associated with Liver Disease

Tylenol toxicities

Liver Cancer

Chemotherapy support

Support for Pets with seizures taking Phenobarbitol

So how does this herb work? Well the herb strengthens the liver cell. promotes detoxification and stimulates the production of new liver cells. Milk Thistle is the perfect herb for detoxification for any toxin whether it is from an infection like parvovirus or something your pet has consumed. As an antioxidant it is more effective than Vitamin E. It is very safe. That said you should not give Milk Thistle as a daily supplement to healthy pets. It should be prescribed by your holistic veterinarian and it is not recommended for pregnant animals.

Pet wellbeing has a great Milk Thistle that is glycerine based.

Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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Milk Thistle is a potent herbal supplement for long-term use that supports a wide variety of dog liver issues, and is also helpful for digestive disorders.

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