Who doesn't love their pets almost as if they were your own children?
The other day while I was putting potatoes in the oven my cat Abi decided to take a peak. I hadn't noticed her and started closing the door, pinching her little paw. My heart broke as she cried out and I had to chase her down to console her. Well, as much as you could console a cat.
There are many times I recognize some of the behavior in the kids that I work with at the daycare in my own pets. The way sissy (Abi) will pick on bubby (Bentley), when they climb on things and I have to tell them to get down, or even when they sass back with a bark or meow because I won't let them go outside. Yes, it's true: they're very similar to us.
But I don't always treat them the same as I would children. I consult with parents on their kids occasionally: what to do for their immune systems, what oil is good for healing a cut, how nutrition is important in preventing future illness. The list goes on, but when I'm dealing with my pets, I don't think about herbs for their help.
That's where a friend of mine inspired me to start thinking about alternative medicine for pets.
Kinsey is the owner of Cabin Woods on Etsy. She's a good friend of mine and is actually the reason my husband and I met each other, but that story is for another time.
She is obsessed with her dogs - top notch "dog mom". Forest and Juneau are treated just as if they were her own flesh and blood. It's often Kinsey and I discuss herbs, but I had no idea she was doing her own research and applying it to her pets lives. One day she came to me with a question on what herbs were good for urinary tract infections and if they were okay for animals to use. Truth be told, I had no clue about herbs for an animal's UTI, but I knew of the ones for humans. She explained that Juneau was having some complications and listed some of the methods she was using to take care of it.
That got me thinking. I had no idea what to tell her, or even what I was legally allowed to say.
Is it possible to practice on animals?
What are the ratio differences of herbs for animals and people?
Is there a world of alternative medicine for animals that I've never even heard of before?
I had to know. So I jumped on the laptop during nap time one day at work (for those who don't know I'm a daycare teacher). I searched up "animal herbalists". Then "veterinarian herbalists", then "alternative medicine for pets". I spent almost an hour just searching all the info I could get my hands on. Then I found the VBMA: Veterinary Botanical Medicine Association.
If I could attempt to draw a parallel of something similar to the VBMA I might be tempted to say the AHG (American Herbalist Guild), but I really can't. It's an association of veterinarians that practice or want to learn more about alternative medicine for animals. They have a goal to keep the practice of herbal medicine alive, just as the American Herbalist Guild does, but for animals.
The website has an option to find a veterinarian that is a member of the association either in your state or internationally. I looked under the state of Kentucky and found only one name: Karen Lanz, DVM. I saw the opportunity to get some answers for my questions. I emailed her and we ended up having an enjoyable over the phone interview.
Here's what we discussed:
Author: Tina Potter
Master Herbalist, I've graduated as an American Healthcare College Alumnus, I've become a member of American Herbalist Guild and soon to be author of survivalist series Survival Ember co-authored by professional survivalist Kenny Dietrich of Ashland, KY. I've been beyond blessed with the constant desire to learn and teach.