Veterinarian Reviewed on September 11, 2011 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
As much as we all shudder at the thought of parasites infesting our pets it is a common condition. Pets pick them up either in-utero, through eating infested rodents, or through nursing. They can also pick up parasite eggs in the environment by eating grass or through drinking contaminated water. The most common therapy to rid pets of intestinal parasites includes using parasite killing substances such as ivermectin and metronidazole; proper hygiene by cleaning the environment; and controlling fleas.
In treating parasites in a holistic manner, the therapy attempts to address the overall immune factor of the patient since immune-compromised individuals are at a higher risk for infestation. Enhancing natural host defenses may be helpful in some cases but in most cases it is simply desirable to treat the parasite infection and allow the body to repair and heal. Proper hygiene, proper diet and environmental cleanliness all contribute to enhancing host immune defenses. Many intestinal parasites are ‘zoonotic’ in nature meaning they can be transmitted to people so it is especially important to practice good hygiene with our pets. Good hygiene involves routinely cleaning up after pets and properly disposing of their wastes.
Supplements and Herbs
Colostrum has been shown to improve intestinal health. It can help balance the intestinal flora and help with the digestive process. It also helps improve the overall immune status of the intestinal tract. Probiotics help improve and aid in the digestive process by secreting their own enzymes.
Some herbs used in parasitic therapy include ‘Betel nut’ which has been shown to expel roundworms in some studies. ‘Melia root’ has been shown to paralyze some intestinal parasites and the paralyzed parasite is removed from the intestine through natural intestinal contractions. In addition, ‘Omphalia’ has been shown to clear tapeworms and roundworm infestations.
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