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Your Veterinary Question

Answered by our Advisory Board Member

David UrchBSc MA VetMB MRCVS

David Urch Q&A

Q: My dog has colitis - will Aloe Vera help?

A: Colitis in the dog has many similarities to irritable bowel syndrome of people. The dog suffers inflammation of the colon which leads to diarrhoea which sometimes contains blood and mucus. There is often a lot of straining and the dog may show signs of abdominal pain. Just as in the case of humans, the cause is not always clear. Many respond to starving for 24 hours followed by a bland diet of white meats and rice. During the starvation period, I give Aloe Vera Gel by mouth. Start on 5mls and gradually increase this to 60mls per day. If possible try to find the triggering factor, as well as diet, this may also involve stress.

Q: Are Aloe Vera preparations safe to use for eye conditions?

A: In all cases, if an eye problem is suspected in a pet, always take it to the vet. Once the vet has diagnosed the problem then check with him/her that they agree on the use of Aloe Vera. When I started using Aloe Vera for eye problems I always used the Activator diluted 50:50 with sterile water. I soon realised however that similarly diluted Aloe Vera Veterinary Spray worked just as well and a container lasted longer. The diluted Aloe Vera is excellent for itchy eyes in the case of 'pink eye' and I also use it for 'red eye' and 'blue eye'. A number of farmers have also had good results when using it for 'New Forest Eye' in cattle.

Q: Is Aloe Vera Gel of any benefit to a dog with pancreatic insufficiency?

A: If the pancreas stops producing sufficient digestive enzymes, the animal will not be able to digest its food efficiently. This leads to loss of weight even though the dog may have a ravenous appetite. Their coats can often become poor and dry and their motions often look bulky and fatty. Veterinary surgeons can readily confirm this condition and supply replacement digestive enzymes. I have found that adding 60mls Aloe Vera Gel to their diets with these tablets/capsules can also prove beneficial.

Q: My horse has 'ringworm' - can I use Aloe Vera?

A: I have found both the Aloe Vera Gelly and Veterinary Spray excellent for cases of ringworm. This fungal infection is highly contagious to animals and to us, so be careful when handling suspected cases. Rub the topical Aloe Vera preparations into the infected areas 2 to 4 times daily to start with. In severe cases, the Aloe Vera Gel can also be added to the food at a rate of 100 to 250mls per day depending on the size of the horse.

Q: Is Aloe Vera of any benefit to horses with osteoarthritis?

A: We often refer to this condition as degenerative joint disease. Arthritis can occur through age-related wear and tear of a joint or it may be as a result of repeated trauma. Whatever the cause, the end result is changes to the joint cartilage, the synovial membrane and the fluid it produces as well as damage to the bone under the joint cartilage. In the horse, particular names are given to different areas where arthritis occurs. So you will often hear people referring to 'ringbone', 'spavin', 'pedal osteitis' and 'navicular disease'.

These horses require a combined integrated approach to keep them comfortable and to try and hold back the progression of this disease. This usually involves support for the limb, corrective farriery, rest, physiotherapy, complementary preparations and sometimes drugs. I have found that some cases respond beneficially to the addition of 250mls of Aloe Vera Gel to their diets daily. As they improve this can be reduced gradually to a maintenance level of 60mls per day.

The use of Aloe Vera in nail bed infections

Most species can suffer from fungal infections of the nail beds. These can be very difficult to resolve even with intensive and prolonged use of orthodox drugs. This type of deep fungal infection leads to distorted and thick chalky nails. In practice, I have found a repeated liberal application of Aloe Vera Gelly to the whole nail and the surrounding area in conjunction with the addition of Aloe Vera Gel to the food has produced very good results. New normal nail growth is usually noticeable after a few weeks and over a period of months an entire new nail grows.

Eczemas in dogs and cats

We are now in the period (May) where veterinary practices throughout the UK start to see an increase in the cases of eczema brought to their surgeries. The two most common causes are flea and pollen allergies. For these conditions to resolve the cause must be dealt with first. Unfortunately, Aloe Vera will not kill fleas or stop animals being exposed to pollen. However there are some excellent veterinary preparations available to deal with the fleas and then the dermatitis can quickly be resolved using a combination of topical and oral Aloe Vera preparations such as the Veterinary Formula, Gelly, Propolis Creme and the oral Gel.

Only wash the skin when necessary and for this, the Aloe Vera Soap or Shampoo is ideal. The topical preparations such as the Gelly will need to be repeated 4 to 6 times daily to start with and then this can be reduced to twice daily as the condition comes under control. Pollen allergies can be helped in a similar way with the Aloe Vera preparations but it is not always so easy to identify and remove the cause. Bee pollen tablets can also be used to help this condition.

Q: Can Aloe Vera be used for mouth problems in dogs and cats?

A: There are a number of problems associated with the oral cavity which can be safely helped by using Aloe Vera. Many parts of the mouth can become inflamed such as the tongue, tonsils, gums and pharynx. These can all be improved by using Gel, Gelly or Veterinary Formula individually or in combination. Periodontal disease, plaque and tartar can all benefit from the application of these Aloe Vera preparations. It was pleasing to hear from another veterinary surgeon how he consistently removes tartar from dogs' teeth by the daily application of Aloe Vera Gelly. The tartar becomes soft and chalky allowing it to be removed by brushing.

Article reprinted from "In Touch" the magazine for Forever Living Distributors

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