Common Uses: allergies, arthritis, cognitive disorder, cancer
and urinary disorders.
Alfalfa is purported to be one of the best herbal therapies
for arthritis. It also possesses cancer-preventing properties by
inactivating chemicals that can cause cancer. It is often fed to
animals that need to gain weight.
The vitamin K content of alfalfa makes it valuable in pets with
bleeding disorders. Conversely, excess doses might interfere
with blood clotting due to the coumarin (an anticoagulant)
content in alfalfa.
Alfalfa can make urine alkaline and is useful in those bladder
conditions where a more alkaline urine is needed (likewise, it
should not be used in pets whose medical conditions require
an acid urine).
Due to the large content of nutrients, many doctors
recommend it for pets that require increased mental nutrition
(older pets, especially those with cognitive disorder).
Alfalfa is generally regarded safe. The seeds can cause blood
disorders due to L-canavanine and seeds should be avoided.
Animals sensitive to pollen may be sensitive to fresh alfalfa.
Aminocaproic Acid (ACA)
Common use: degenerative myelopathy.
Aminocaproic acid works by inhibiting the process of
fibrinolysis (the breakdown of fibrin, a protein needed
for proper blood clotting) and can reverse states that
are associated with excessive fibrinolysis. Degenerative
myelopathy is theorized to be caused by an autoimmune
response (possibly from over-vaccinating dogs) attacking
the nervous system of dogs, which leads to progressive
neural tissue damage. Since this is an autoimmune
response, immune complexes circulate in the blood, leading
to endothelial cell damage in the blood vessels of the central
nervous system. This causes fibrin to be deposited around
blood vessels. When the fibrin degrades, inflammatory cells
are stimulated to migrate into the lesions, which leads to
tissue damage. It is possible ACA may limit or stop this
Aminocaproic acid is made in a 250 mg/ml oral solution. This
can be mixed with chicken broth, using 2 ml of the drug and 1
ml of chicken broth. The recommended dosage is 500 mg (3
ml of the above combination) given three times a day with or
without food. ACA should be stored at room temperature with
the lid tightly closed.
Common uses: liver disease, heart disease, and cancer.
Arginine is an essential amino acid found in many foods. It plays
a role in several bio-chemical processes in the body, including cell
division, wound healing, immune functions, hormone secretion, and
the removal of ammonia from the body. Arginine is also involved in
the formation of nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels.
Doses of 500 mg to 3000 mg per day are recommended.
Since arginine is an amino acid, supplementation is believed
to be safe. Maximum safe doses have not however, been
Common uses: cancer, infections, kidney disease, and
hyperthyroidism in cats.
Astragalus is used to strengthen the immune system and
acts as an anti-inflammatory. Many doctors prescribe it for pets
with various infections and chronic illnesses. It can be used to
help the body recover from long-term steroid therapy and for
pets with kidney disease as it improves kidney circulation.
The medicinal herb Astragalus membranaceous is safe; many other
species are toxic. For hyper-immune disorders (autoimmune
diseases, diabetes), and disorders with diminished immune
systems with low white blood cell counts (feline leukemia and
immunodeficiency diseases), it may be wise to avoid this herb,
as astragalus is used for immune stimulation. It is best used
early in the course of the disease to stimulate the immune
system. Do not use to treat hypothyroidism.