Herbal Preparations at The Metta Pet Clinic
What is involved
Herbal preparations are not as straightforward as conventional medicines. Once we have had the initial consultation together, time is spent considering the condition(s) we are aiming to support, working out what herbs may be beneficial, cross checking drug interactions and potential side effects. This is carried out after the in person appointment. This is followed by preparing the formula, creating a treatment sheet for you and sending information to you and your vet. Due to the amount of time this takes I have a dedicated herb day in my rota so prescriptions can be made and posted out on this day. Depending on when your appointment is it may be 14 days before your pet’s treatment arrives.
As things change for your pet, it is likely I will need to adjust the herbs within the prescription. I recommend a first revisit 4 weeks after the initial consultation to check the formula is making a difference and allow me to fine tune as necessary. After that it very much depends on the individual patients and how long the condition has been present as to the frequency of revisits.
Herbal medicine is a complimentary therapy, it is something that can be used alongside and not instead of conventional medicine. It is used to optimise your pet’s ongoing treatment and promote overall health and balance. It does not work as quickly as conventional treatment but using it as an adjunct is considered a well rounded approach to medicine.
Owner compliance is essential. Some of the herbs need to be given twice or three times a day so if this is not something you will be able to do a different approach may be needed.
The effects can take several weeks to be seen and sometimes the formulae will need to be adjusted to find the best fit for your pet.
This is very variable as the herbs are different prices, the volumes needed vary depending on dose and your pet’s weight. As mentioned above, formulating and all that is involved in the process is quite time hungry so there is a herbal prescription fee to help cover this time.
I would really encourage you to return your clean, empty bottles with their lids and the packaging they are posted in as not only is this kinder to the planet, there is also a discount for those who do!
With an average formulation you can expect to spend £1 per day on herbs, less for smaller animals, more for larger ones or those who have multiple conditions that require support. If you prefer to pick up the prescription to save on postage, chat to me and usually we can work out a plan.
The source of herbs is critical. There are few labelling laws regarding herbs in the UK so there are lots of products that are on the market which contain few or poor quality herbs.
The Metta Pet Clinic uses practitioner grade preparations to ensure the quality and repeatability of the product. The products comply with GMP standards and although herbal medicines are not required to have a GMP inspection, companies that do choose to be inspected are the ones I use.
Practitioner grade herbs are more expensive than high street/on line herbs because you are paying for a high quality, non contaminated, quality controlled product.
Sustainability and caring for the planet are important considerations at Metta. Harvesting herbs must be done in a sustainable way both for the plants as well as the communities who are farming and harvesting them. If the source is not ethical then an alternative herb will be sought.
Most commonly herbs will be given as a tincture which are alcohol preserved extracts. This means that tinctures can be easily mixed with each other allowing for complex formulations specific to your pet to be administered. The amount of alcohol given is of little concern medically as long as you are not giving more than the prescribed dose. Make sure you study you pet’s treatment sheet which has tips on how to start giving the herbs. The most important point is to start slowly so they get used to the taste. The conditions we are trying to help have likely been present for a while so easing into the dosing regimen over a week or two is fine.
Most herbs require the correct part of the plant to be used, at the correct dosage, for the correct length of time to have the desired effects.
Most herbal remedies are safe when used as directed under the supervision of a knowledgeable clinician but as with all things, there is potential for adverse reactions, toxicity and interactions with conventional drugs.
Critical drugs should be taken at different times of day from herbs to reduce interactions.
Regular check ups and blood tests are recommended, as with any regular medication.
As a precaution it is advisable to stop all herbs approximately 1 week before a planned general anaesthetic. This is because not all herbs have been tested with general anaesthetics so safety cannot be guaranteed.
Most vets will not be familiar with herbal medicine and the plants your pet has been prescribed so please ensure you keep your pet’s treatment sheet and take it to every appointment.
If you have any questions or concerns please email me on email@example.com
Resources for you and your vet
Herbal medicine is an approach based on a combination of understanding the contemporary scientific evidence base for herbal medicine, while appreciating the insights that can be gained from traditional herbal medicine texts. It combines our conventionally trained skills and knowledge with a scientific understanding of plants and their effects on the body. Such an integrative approach involves extra continued professional training, learning from clinical experience and having an ongoing reflective practice.
My training is in Western Veterinary Herbal Medicine and I am a member of the British Association of Veterinary Herbalists. More information can be found at www.herbalvets.org.uk.
Clients will be given a list of the herbs, their actions and side effects/known contraindications to share with all vets involved in their pets care. Vets, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to discuss your patient.