Alternative Herbal Treatments for Animals with Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an emerging infectious disease that can affect not only people but animals, such as Horses, Dogs, Cats and Livestock as well. Lyme disease is a bacterial spirochete carried by not only ticks but can be carried by other insects through a skin bite. If the spirochete known as Borrelia burgdorferi is present, coinfections such as Babesia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and other infections are also, most likely, affecting the health of the animal since they are carried together by the vector.
To understand Lyme disease, one must first understand how the spirochetes live and survive in the body. Bacterial spirochetes mean "coiled hair" and are filament-like, gram negative, doubled walled bacteria that have been around for billions of years and cause other diseases such as Syphilis, Lyme, Leptospirosis and Dysentery. Researchers are discovering more vector borne bacterial spirochetes and suspect them of causing other ailments such as some cancers, Alzheimers and autoimmune diseases like Multiple sclerosis. These spirochetes are protected by what is known as a biofilm, can mutate and corkscrew into collagenous tissue such as the brain, ligaments & tendons, making traditional antibiotic therapy ineffective in controlling them.
Herbal remedies are effective in treating the symptoms and killing bacterial spirochetes that cause Lyme because they are so chemically complex, vary by harvest and work synergistically together, hence, the spirochetes can not find a way around them by mutating.
Lyme disease can cause arthritis pain and lameness, vision and cognition problems, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy and loss of appetite. The heart, the nervous system and kidneys can also be affected. Traditional antibiotic treatment does not always eliminate the infection and it will reoccur, plus long term treatment with antibiotics can cause kidney and liver failure. Testing for Lyme bacteria is not always effective and can cause false negatives as well as false positives. Lyme vaccines are highly controversial since the antigen engages with the immune system and the disease can result from the vaccine, since the disease pathology can be triggered by the antigen alone, plus can generate autoimmune diseases in vaccinated populations (causing the Lymerix vaccine and others to be pulled from the market for humans).
What can you do as an owner?
Many animals with a compromised immune system can potentially get Lyme Disease after a tick (or an
insect) bite due to many reasons such as stress. If it is an acute infection or a recent tick bite, herbal tinctures or powders can be added to the animals food. Astragalus Root or Astragalus membranaceus is an herbal adaptogen that boosts the immune system and fights disease. Astragalus has been used
in Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 4000 years and acts as an anti-inflammatory, boost fighter T cells,
slows or prevents tumors, protects the cardiovascular system, prevents diabetes and can slow the progression of kidney disease, fights free radical damage, heals wounds, inhibits viruses and prevents collagen degradation. Few, if any, side effects have been reported with Astragalus Root Powder and can be added to animals food at a rate of 1/4 teaspoon for Small Dogs & Cats, 1/2 teaspoon for medium dogs, 1 teaspoon for large dogs- twice daily. For Horses use 4 tablespoons twice daily in bran or grain. Astragalus Root powder might make autoimmune conditions worse and might make chronic Lyme Disease worse-a condition that has been prevalent for a long period of time. Avoid use in pregnant of nursing animals do to lack of research in pregnancy.
Also, dogs and horses should be sprayed with safe essential oils to repel ticks, mosquitoes and insects such as Organic Lemon Eucalyptus, Sweet Marjoram, Geranium, Catnip, Bay Leaf, Myrrh, Opoponax, Rosewood and Lavender Essential oils. Avoid essential oils on Cats since they metabolize them differently then dogs and horses.
Next Week: Alternative Herbal Remedies in Animals with Chronic Lyme Disease & Coinfections