Milk thistle is a flowering herb that has been used for centuries as a medicinal product. It is native to the Mediterranean region and belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is characterized by thorny branches and a milky sap, with its oval leaves reaching up to 30 cm. The flowers are bright pink and can measure up to 8 cm in diameter. Milk thistle grows in its wild form in southern Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East. However, today the plant become prominent and is currently grown in all temperate regions worldwide. It contains a natural compound known as silymarin through which it exerts its therapeutic benefits. Silymarin consists of at least seven flavonolignans and the flavonoid taxifolin. The most important flavonolignans present include silybin, silydianin, and silychristine. Silybin represents between 50% and 70% of the extract from silymarin.
Milk thistle is among the very few traditionally used herbs that have been widely accepted by conventional science to have significant medicinal value. Its main therapeutic benefit being that it protects the liver from damage by strengthening the outer walls of liver cells. In addition to that, it thistle stimulates the growth of new liver cells to replace those that are dead or damaged. It is for this reason that milk thistle has been used in the treatment of liver diseases in cats.
Aside from helping with the treatment of liver diseases in cats, milk thistle has been shown to have the following other benefits:
- Milk thistle is a cholagogue. This basically means that it is a substance that aid the gallbladder in contracting and emptying. Hence, it can be used in the treatment of gallstone sludge that sometimes clogs up the gallbladder.
- Milk thistle is a galactagogue meaning that it stimulates milk production.
- Milk thistle is a detoxify. Through its antioxidant properties, milk thistle helps the body get rid of toxins such as reactive oxygen species that facilitate inflammatory processes in the body.
- Milk thistle helps in the prevention of inflammatory bowel disease.
ADMINISTRATION OF MILK THISTLE FOR CATS
When purchasing milk thistle for cats, it is important to ensure that the product you purchase is feline for use. This is because of the difference in assimilation systems between humans and cats. Milk thistle is available in both as a liquid formulation and in pill form as well. Your choice of preparation will depend on whether your cat can take pills.
While numerous studies have been conducted on the benefits of milk thistle on cats, there is very limited information regarding the appropriate dosage. Usually, the dosage will depend on the weight of the cat. The recommended dose is about 10 mg per pound.
Most pill formulations contain 175 mg, but you can also find pills that contain only 50 mg which would be more appropriate for cats. In case you choose to use the liquid preparation, you can administer the supplements using the doppler that comes with it. Just like with the pills, the liquid preparation is administered depending on the cat’s body weight; usually 1 drop per 2 pounds. Be sure to provide the appropriate dose to prevent an overdose. If you want to make sure you know the most appropriate means of administration, you should probably consult a herbalist or a holistic veterinarian before you start the treatment.
Cutler, N. (2008, August 6). Can Milk Thistle Help Your Pet? – LiverSupport.com. Retrieved from https://www.liversupport.com/can-milk-thistle-help-your-pet/
Milk Thistle for Cats. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.vetinfo.com/milk-thistle-for-cats.html
Natural Treatment for Liver Disorders in Cats | Milk Thistle. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.holisticpetinfo.com/Liver-Disorders-in-Cats_ep_136.html
Vargas-Mendoza, N. (2014). Hepatoprotective effect of silymarin. World Journal of Hepatology, 6(3), 144. doi:10.4254/wjh. v6. i3.144
- Tags: cats