Milk Thistle is a flower of the Astor family that contains silymarin, a powerful combination of naturally occurring substances that help support digestive health and a strong immune system.
Humans have used milk thistle as a liver tonic for a long time. Recently, silymarin has been advocated for use in pets because the benefits that have been examined in humans have also been approved as beneficial for pets. It can be used to aid in liver or kidney damage, hepatitis, jaundice, leptospirosis, and parvovirus recovery.
Fortunately, research suggests that milk thistle extract not only prevents damage to the liver but also helps repair it.
How? We see three reasons that Milk thistle could be beneficial for your pet.
- Milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants protect us from free radicals. Exposure to environmental toxins can increase free radicals in the body, which can do a lot of damage to our cells. This is called oxidation and can eventually lead to cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. Milk thistle helps prevent this oxidation.
- While helpful in some cases, over the counter drugs and prescription medication can hurt the liver if taken in large doses and/or for long periods of time. Researchers have found that milk thistle can prevent or reduce medication induced liver damage. If you have been giving your pet medication, milk thistle will help protect their liver.
- If for any reason the liver has been weakened, it is unable to do its job. To combat allergens, the body produces histamine. The liver plays a role in this process; it removes the histamine from the body. If the liver is weakened and congested with toxins, the liver struggles and histamine builds up in the body, leading to more allergic reactions.
Milk Thistle though the popular thought is to give it daily, should not be a daily addition to your pets' diet. Generally, for pet’s who would need milk thistle on a regular basis would have it added to their diet for 3-6 weeks with a 1-3-week break. A good time to administer milk thistle to pets prone to inflammation of the skin would be in times of high stress, for example, seasonal changes is a good time to give milk thistle.