Monday, July 2, 2007

Toward a More Natural View of Health Care in Pets

(Contributed by Jessica Levy, DVM)

What would we do if we didn’t have all these chemicals available? What if we had to rely on more natural sources for simple problems?

Recently our farrier, Fred, reintroduced an old idea that I had practically forgotten about under the onslaught of chemicals in our environment. He l

He learned from a client that instead of toxic fly sprays, if you just spray the horses with a half and half mixture of water and vinegar, flies are eliminated.

I should have thought of this.

When I lived in Israel, if our dog got fleas, we gave her a vinegar bath. Voila! No fleas!

When my sister got lice from babysitting young children, she’d brew up a pot of rosemary tea and wash her hair with it. Voila! No lice!

When I lived in Maryland, before going hiking or camping, we’d take a bunch of B-vitamin pills. Voila! No mosquitoes!

In 1998 I was at a large Arabian racehorse stable in Ocala, Florida, in June. It was hot, but there were no flies. The groomers were adding vinegar to the horses’ grain.

For years I’ve been adding apple cider vinegar to my horses’ water trough, because it cuts down the algae growth.

In some ways these simple practices seem almost harder to think of, because we have chemicals available easily at hand, and also we wonder, “Will this really work? It seems simple. Too simple, perhaps.”

I’m sure we’d be a lot more inventive, and successfully so, if we didn’t have carte blanche to grab the nearest toxic preparation and just use that. And it can be hard to tell which claims are true and which are not. How do we know what really works?

It has always been my policy to try stuff on my own pets before recommending natural products to other people. Unfortunately, what works well for one animal may not work for another, for no reason that we can see. Every member of Central Bird & Animal Hospital is striving to achieve perfect health for our pets, and this common goal is what drives us to test products and supplements at home. This way we can be sure that we are offering our patients proven, reliable options for natural health care.

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