Pet Corner: Worms and Parasites

Use herbs to prevent, not cure, parasites

| July/August 1999

Time and again, I’m asked which herb is best for treating worms. Time and again, I give an answer that surprises many of my clients: If your pet has serious parasite problems and you’re serious about treating them, don’t use herbs. Use ­commercial drugs instead—they’re more ­effective.

This is not to say that herbs can’t help. After chemical deworming, an herbal program can enhance your pet’s ability to avoid worm infestations. In certain mild cases, I suggest no treatment at all, other than allowing the animal’s own healing abilities to take over, perhaps with an herbal boost to help. For example, a healthy puppy or kitty’s natural immune system will eliminate adult roundworms as the animal matures, and tapeworms are really more unsightly than they are a problem to your pet’s overall health.

I see dozens of different parasites in the animals I treat. The most common types are tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, heartworms, coccidia, and giardia. Each has its own life cycle, and how they are contracted and treated varies widely. Early infestations cause vague and nonspecific symptoms: general loss of vigor, lusterless fur, dull eyes, weight loss, and depression. Heavier loads of parasites can eventually kill the infected animal. To effectively diagnose the problem, your veterinarian will need to look at a fresh fecal sample and examine your pet’s blood.

Herbs: Not a cure-all

Over the years, I’ve tried several commercial herbal parasite remedies on pets in my practice. The problem is that they don’t meet the twin criteria that veterinarians use to evaluate any remedy: safety and efficacy. In almost all cases, these herbs cause side effects when used in doses strong enough to fight parasites. If you want to risk using them—and I recommend doing so only in mild cases—be alert for adverse reactions, especially in cats.

Although some herbal preparations are moderately effective against tapeworms and roundworms (the relatively mild guys), none are very effective against the more severe species of internal parasites such as heartworms or hookworms, which can be lethal even in small numbers.

• Garlic stimulates the immune system, kills many bacteria and fungi, and has some apparent effectiveness against parasites—especially roundworms. However, recent reports show that it may cause abnormal blood cells and result in anemia. Cats are more susceptible to the blood problems than dogs.



October 19-20, 2019
Topeka, Kansas

Join us in the heart of the Midwest to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me