Milk Thistle Treatment for Dog Liver Disease

If you're looking for options to treat dog liver disease, an herb called milk thistle may be an effective alternative treatment. Not only has research shown that milk thistle is safe for dogs, but the traditional medical industry has accepted this as one of the few herbs that qualifies for safe and reliable medical treatment under their guidelines. Milk thistle is easy to find, fairly inexpensive and does not require a prescription for use.

Dog Liver Disease

Dog liver disease can be caused by any number of viruses, infections, bacteria or parasites. More specifically, hepatitis, blastomycosis, leptospirosis and tuberculosis are all forms of liver disease that can adversely affect your dog. Since the liver is one of the main functioning organs in the body, dog liver disease can cause severe gastrointestinal problems, lethargy, jaundice, behavioral changes, pain, chronic weight loss and frequent urination, and the disease is often fatal. Searching for treatment can lead to many options, but the safest and most effective may turn out to be an alternative, herbal treatment called milk thistle. 

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle, or Silybum marianum, is a flowering plant that comes from the Aster family. It has been used throughout Europe since the time of the Roman emperors as a liver tonic. The active ingredient in milk thistle, silymarin, is effective for treating dog liver disease in many ways. This herb can protect against toxins, such as heavy metals contained in some foods and also certain chemicals often found in traditional medication. Milk thistle has been shown to stimulate growth of new or damaged liver cells, destroy free radicals, which can lead to cancer, and provide an anti-inflammatory response for the body, helping to relieve pain, and allow proper bodily functioning to be naturally restored.

Using Milk Thistle as Treatment

Using milk thistle as an herbal treatment for dog liver disease is fairly straightforward, but does require some care and consideration. Studies do show that long-term usage of unusually high doses can actually create a reverse effect on the liver, but using milk thistle as a preventative or treatment under normal conditions is very safe and can bring about amazing results. Milk thistle can be purchased in capsule, powder and liquid extract forms. If your dog is very ill and will not eat, mix the herb with a bit of baby food and feed using a plastic syringe. Give 3 or 4 smaller doses over the course of each day. Recommended dosage information may be followed, but it's safe to experiment with this. If you're giving a very high dose and it seems to be causing stomach upset, simply lower the dosage. Milk thistle should be fairly easy to locate at your local grocery or health food store. Be aware that forms of milk thistle which are readily available may contain alcohol. It may be safer if you seek out a form of milk thistle created especially for use in pets.