No matter how proactive we try to be about it, there's no avoiding the pesticides that are lurking everywhere, in our air, our water, our lawns and our trees. Laboratory studies show that pesticides can cause health problems, including birth defects, nerve damage, cancer and others. Some pesticides also have unique neurotoxic health effects on growing puppies and children.
Whose dog doesn't love to squat by a tree, roll around in the grass or drink water out of a spigot at a dog park? The solution obviously isn't leaving your dog inside all day or barring him or her from dog parks, so what is the solution? Since we at Snoutly like to do things Mother Nature's way, enter milk thistle.
Milk thistle is an herbal remedy that has been around for 2000 years in the treatment of various health issues, including liver damage. The Latin name for milk thistle is Silybum marianum. The active ingredient of milk thistle is a flavinoid called silymarin that is found in the seeds.
Science tells us that milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants protect us from chemicals in our bodies called free radicals. Exposure to environmental toxins can increase free radicals in the body, which can do a lot of damage to our cells. This is called oxidation and can eventually lead to cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. Milk thistle protects the liver against harmful oxidation.
Secondly, many over the counter drugs and prescription medications can hurt the liver if taken in large enough doses or for long periods of time. Researchers have found that milk thistle can actually prevent or reduce medication induced liver damage. If you have been giving your pet flea and tick medication, heart worm medication or others, and are concerned about the aftermath of chemicals residing in the body, milk thistle can help flush those out.
Liver disease is more common in pets than you might expect. Certain breeds of dogs (such as Labrador Retrievers, Dalmatians and Great Danes) are more susceptible to liver disease due to a genetic difficulty excreting copper. Some signs of liver damage or disease include a loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice, dark urine, pale gums or a sudden unexplained weight loss.
Milk thistle is an herb and does not require a prescription. Ask your vet about the health and detoxification benefits of milk thistle for your pets.
- Contributing Editor M.G.