Author Topic: Milk Thistle  (Read 3018 times)

Offline Pookie

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Milk Thistle
« on: August 14, 2014, 12:44:06 PM »
From Dr. Jean's website, littlebigcat.com:

http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/milk-thistle-a-wonder-herb/
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Offline Lola

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Re: Milk Thistle
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2014, 01:18:52 AM »
A few snips...

Quote
Many cats and dogs with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have concurrent inflammation of the liver/bile system and the pancreas. This threesome of symptoms is called “triaditis.” Because milk thistle’s beneficial actions concentrate on the liver and bile systems, it may also be helpful in animals with IBD.

Quote
While it’s not exactly the fountain of youth, milk thistle clearly has wide-ranging positive effects throughout the body. However, before you add this potent herb to your pet’s daily regimen “just in case” it might do some good, it’s important to consider that some herbalists believe milk thistle is best reserved as a treatment for existing disease, rather than being used by itself in a healthy animal.
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Offline Middle Child

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Re: Milk Thistle
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2014, 05:36:13 AM »
Thanks Pookie.  It is something to consider.  I thought milk thistle had to be given on an empty stomach but I see in the article people are giving it with food. So maybe it's the SAM-e that has to be given on an empty stomach?  I'm questioning because Tolly Angel took denamarin for several years and it had to be given on an empty stomach at least an hour before any food.

Offline Pookie

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Re: Milk Thistle
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2014, 08:41:01 AM »
I tried to register on the site to post a comment, but was having trouble, so I'll have to try again later.  I wanted to ask Dr. Jean if milk thistle would be beneficial for cats given flea treatments.  I have a hunch it would, since it protects and detoxifies the liver, which filters EVERYTHING.  She does mention pest protection in that article, as a contaminant, which adds to my hunch.
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Offline Pookie

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Re: Milk Thistle
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2014, 12:29:02 PM »
I did a quick search on milk thistle and flea products and found these:

This one is specific to dogs:  http://www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com/Naturally_Healthy_Dogs-ezine-issue022.html

Snip

Quote
Even though "spot-on" products are put on your dog's skin, inevitably some chemicals will get in your dog (by absorption through the skin or ingestion during grooming). As a result, your dog's liver will be working extra hard to process the chemicals that make it into the bloodstream. It can be very beneficial, therefore, to give your dog the herb milk thistle to help detoxify her liver.

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2010/03/31/dangers-of-flea-and-tick-problems.aspx

Quote
What the EPA Found
1.  Most adverse reactions were seen in dogs weighing between 10 and 20 pounds.
2.  Reactions in mixed breed dogs were most commonly reported, however, the Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Miniature Poodle, Pomeranian, Dachshund, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier and Bichon Frise seem particularly at risk.
3.  Products containing cyphenothrin and permethrin were especially problematic for small breed dogs.
4.  Most incidents occurred in dogs under three years old, likely at their first exposure to a spot-on product.
5.  Adverse reactions for both dogs and cats were primarily skin, GI tract and nervous system related. Skin reactions included redness, itching, hair loss, sores and ulcers.
6.  Gastrointestinal symptoms included vomiting, diarrhea and salivation.
7.  Reported nervous system symptoms included lethargy, nervousness, ataxia (movement problems), tremors and seizure.
8.  A number of adverse reactions in cats were the result of the cat either being treated with a product intended for dogs, or through exposure to a treated dog. Cats treated with products intended for dogs had an especially rate of serious reactions and fatalities.
9.  Inert ingredients in spot-on products were generally assumed to contribute to toxicity.
10.  Dosage ranges were considered to be too wide in some cases.
11.  Product labeling was identified as needing a revamp in many cases.
12.  The EPA’s Companion Animal Studies guidelines are insufficient to predict the toxicity of spot-on products.

The full EPA report can be found here, and includes a list of the specific products reviewed and the adverse reactions reported for each. For more information, you can also review the EPA Analysis and Mitigation Plan.

Quote

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM DR. KAREN BECKER IN REGARDS TO “IF YOU MUST USE A CHEMICAL FLEA/TICK CONTROL PRODUCT.”
l. Follow dosing directions on the label and if your pet is at the low end of a dosage range, step down to the next lowest dosage.
2. Be cautious with small dogs and never give cats dog products.
3. Don’t depend exclusively on chemical treatments. Rotate natural preventatives with chemical ones.
4. Watch your pet for side effects.
5. Dr. Becker recommends milk thistle to help detoxify the chemicals out of the animal’s liver.
6. Also chlorella, a super green food, is a powerful detox agent. Consult your vet/or holistic vet on how much to give of either chlorella or milk thistle.
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Offline Pookie

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Re: Milk Thistle
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2014, 01:52:48 PM »
I thought milk thistle had to be given on an empty stomach but I see in the article people are giving it with food. So maybe it's the SAM-e that has to be given on an empty stomach?  I'm questioning because Tolly Angel took denamarin for several years and it had to be given on an empty stomach at least an hour before any food.

Dr. Hofve's article mentions mixing it with food, so my guess is it's ok:

Quote
Because of its excellent safety record and lack of adverse drug interactions, when I’m treating a very sick animal with advanced liver disease, I do not hesitate to use the full human dose–up to 200 mg per 10 pounds of body weight–of milk thistle extract daily. For most purposes, however, one-third to one-half of that dose is more than adequate. (Animals with liver disease typically will not eat, but it’s a simple matter to open up a capsule, mix the appropriate amount of powdered herb with a little blenderized food or baby food, and feed by syringe.) Too high a dose can cause an upset tummy, gas, or mild diarrhea; these are easily resolved by giving less.

Human research studies have shown that it is more effective to administer this herb in three or four small portions over the day than in one large daily dose. When it is not possible to split the daily dose and administer the fractional portions three or four times a day, give it at least twice a day.

The capsule form is easy to find – any health food store, and even most pharmacies and  grocers, will have them in stock. The herb also comes in a liquid extract, but most human products contain a fair bit of alcohol. If you prefer a liquid preparation, get one specifically intended for use in animals.

NOTE:  Consumer Lab® released a report in December 2009 regarding test results from 10 commercial milk thistle preparations. Only Jarrow Formulas® Milk Thistle contained the industry standard 70% silymarin; all the rest fell short. They suggest using a product containing milk thistle “seed extract” as opposed to “seed powder” or “whole herb” to get the most silymarin.

The link that was specific to dogs mentioned milk thistle in a form that's glycerin-based, rather than alcohol based, so there must be formulas available that are safe for pets (if you wanted to use a liquid).
« Last Edit: August 15, 2014, 01:56:14 PM by Pookie »
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Offline DeeDee

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Re: Milk Thistle
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2014, 02:08:00 PM »
Dr. Hofve's article mentions mixing it with food, so my guess is it's ok:

Thank you. I was about to start trying to find the dosage info somewhere, anywhere, but you saved me the trouble.  :D
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Offline DeeDee

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Re: Milk Thistle
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2014, 02:26:55 PM »
The link that was specific to dogs mentioned milk thistle in a form that's glycerin-based, rather than alcohol based, so there must be formulas available that are safe for pets (if you wanted to use a liquid).

I found alcohol-free liquid form at Vitacost http://www.vitacost.com/natures-answer-milk-thistle-2000-mg-1-fl-oz but I couldn't find it at Walgreen's site.
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
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Offline Pookie

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Re: Milk Thistle
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2014, 06:45:39 PM »
Thank you. I was about to start trying to find the dosage info somewhere, anywhere, but you saved me the trouble.  :D

Happy to help!   :)

By the way, I'm not trying to pressure anyone into using the milk thistle.  I just wanted to put the information out there, knowing that the folks on this forum will research the daylights out of this.   :D
« Last Edit: August 15, 2014, 07:05:37 PM by Pookie »
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Offline DeeDee

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Re: Milk Thistle
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2014, 06:55:50 PM »


By the way, I'm not trying to pressure anyone into using the milk thistle.  I just wanted to put the information out there, knowing that the folks on this forum will research the bejeebers out of this.   :D

I think I'll start using it simply because we DO use the chemical flea treatments. I don't use them as often as the labeling says though. I go by when Barkly starts scratching. That's usually anywhere between 6-8 weeks depending on how many times I've had to wash them. Brushing and vacuuming them seems to keep them cleaner than most dogs, and neither of them smell as long as they get their coconut oil every day.

"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
"Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog."

Offline Pookie

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Re: Milk Thistle
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2014, 07:08:52 PM »
I think I'll start using it simply because we DO use the chemical flea treatments. I don't use them as often as the labeling says though. I go by when Barkly starts scratching. That's usually anywhere between 6-8 weeks depending on how many times I've had to wash them. Brushing and vacuuming them seems to keep them cleaner than most dogs, and neither of them smell as long as they get their coconut oil every day.

Fair enough.  Just pay special attention to Dr. Hofve's comment about using it long-term.

Quote
While moderate use of milk thistle is very safe, there is some experimental evidence to suggest that long-term ingestion of very high dosages of milk thistle will eventually suppress liver function.
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Offline DeeDee

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Re: Milk Thistle
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2014, 07:16:55 PM »
Fair enough.  Just pay special attention to Dr. Hofve's comment about using it long-term.


What I'd planned was using it for about 3 days every time I have to use the flea treatments and skip the rest of the year when I'm not using it. Unless Barkly scratches, they don't get it. If he starts scratching, Vlad will be scratching too within 3 days. Or do you think 3 days isn't enough to help? I never use flea treatment in the winter unless it's unseasonably warm at a point during it.

Hubs doesn't spray their area of the yard except in summer. He only sprayed it this year because I kept on getting bitten. They've actually only had flea treatment 2x this year. Weird weather including drought.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2014, 07:20:42 PM by DeeDee »
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
"Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog."

Offline Pookie

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Re: Milk Thistle
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2014, 10:25:40 AM »
Or do you think 3 days isn't enough to help?

I really don't know, Dee.  I'm not sure how long those treatments stay in the body, or how long it takes the liver to get rid of it.  Initially, I was taking into account that those products work up to 3 months (I think?), so maybe give the milk thistle for a month, but since you don't give it to the boys very often, perhaps just give the milk thistle for 1-2 weeks.  Unfortunately, I haven't found anything that specifies how long you should give it.  This is where a holistic vet like Dr. Hofve would be able to advise.  I wish her article specified what she means by "long-term."

I do have a book (from 1999, so not recent) about natural remedies for cats that mentions milk thistle in several places.  It doesn't mention anything about not using it long term.  The longest period I did find in it, mentions 3-4 weeks, or for a cat on seizure medications, for the entire time that the cat is on the meds.  However, this book is 15 years old, so I take what I read in it with a grain of salt.

Sorry, that probably doesn't help you much . . .  :(
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Offline DeeDee

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Re: Milk Thistle
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2014, 04:20:22 PM »
Initially, I was taking into account that those products work up to 3 months (I think?), so maybe give the milk thistle for a month, but since you don't give it to the boys very often, perhaps just give the milk thistle for 1-2 weeks. 

I'm not sure how long Advantix II works. You're supposed to apply it monthly, but I obviously don't because I don't find it necessary. It really DOES last longer than they say in our case. It might be because the yard has to be sprayed for me.

I think I'll try the 2 week rounds then the next time I use flea meds.
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
"Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog."

Offline Pookie

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Re: Milk Thistle
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2014, 07:11:55 PM »
I'm not sure how long Advantix II works. You're supposed to apply it monthly, but I obviously don't because I don't find it necessary. It really DOES last longer than they say in our case. It might be because the yard has to be sprayed for me.

Thanks, for some reason I thought those products worked up to 3 months.  I was probably thinking that they're sold in 1 month and 3 month packs.   :-[

I took another quick look at Dr. Hofve's article, and her concern over long-term use pertains to very high dosages.  I didn't catch that before.   :-[

I asked my health food store owner (also an RN) about milk thistle and long-term use, and she'd never heard of any issues, but then, most of the people who buy it from her have cirrhosis (sp?), hepatitis or other liver damage.  She did say the general rule of thumb is 6 days on (the supplement), 1 day off.  Given that, maybe just give it to the boys for 6 days and then stop.   :-\  The search for info continues . . .

More articles I found, some for cats, some for dogs, some for both:

http://www.vetinfo.com/milk-thistle-for-cats.html#b

http://milkthistlefordogs.org/

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=24+1306&aid=2698

AHA!  http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/milk-thistle-for-your-dog/

Quote
  Remember, medicinal herbs shouldn’t be used for extended periods of time. Gregory L. Tilford and Mary L. Wulff explain in their book entitled Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance your Pet’s Life: “Despite much of the publicity that has been generated about this ‘wonder herb’, milk thistle should not be used as a daily food supplement. Milk thistle is a medicine that is best reserved for situations in which the liver is already under abnormal stress.” Most holistic doctors feel that milk thistle should be administered for 3-6 weeks with a 1-3 week break.

I really wish I knew what to suggest.  You have to go with what you think is best.  Maybe go with the "6 days on, 1 day off" to start, not to exceed 2 weeks (if needed)?   :-\
« Last Edit: August 17, 2014, 11:27:33 AM by Pookie »
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