H1-N1, H5-N1, H3-N8, H3-N2 and other ‘influenza A’ viruses can be caught by animals too, including cats, dogs, horses, ferrets and birds. The flu usually attacks the respiratory system, so you may see sneezing, runny nose, coughing and lethargy in infected pets. They may also run a fever.
It’s very difficult to find accurate, current information about virus prevention and treatment. Viruses evolve, reporting mechanisms are updated, and fear mongers have a field day trying to scare you into buying their products. We strongly advise you to research and verify all information regarding natural preventatives and cures, especially those found online.
Preventing the spread of pet viruses is much the same as it is in human circles, with a few adjustments:
- Avoid contact with ill pets
- Avoid contained bodies of water in which water birds are frequent visitors
- Wash your hands if you’ve handled other animals
- Feed a highly nutritious, balanced diet
- Include anti-viral foods in the diet
- Include foods in the diet that stimulate the immune system
- Stress reduction
If you work or volunteer in a place that has many animals, especially with a high turnover rate, you will need to take extra precautions when it comes to your own pets.
There are many naturally anti-viral foods & herbs available that may be suitable for your pet. Not all of them are safe for all pet species, so some research is required. It is also very important to control herb dosage according to the size of the animal – more of a good thing can be a very bad thing.
If you prefer, there are convenient, natural pet blends designed to boost the immunity of your pet, such as the popular ONP Immune Strengthener.
Fresh, or high quality dehydrated foods and herbs that are noted for their anti-viral properties include:
Reishie or Shitake mushooms
Yogurt with active cultures
Japanese knotwood root (or resveratrol supplements)
Seaweed & Algae
Calcium Montmorillonite Clay
Unrefined, virgin coconut oil
Naturally-derived nutrients that are proven to help fight viral infections include Vitamins A, C and E, Selenium and Zinc. Look for foods high in antioxidants and carotene to boost immunity. You can purchase vitamin supplements that are from natural sources (as opposed to synthetic vitamins).
Chicken or turkey soup may be an old remedy but science has since proven it to be beneficial, especially for respiratory illness. It allows us to combine many of the above vegetables and herbs, along with brown rice. Avoid over-cooking to retain as many of the beneficial components as possible.
Prevention and treatment of viral infections may be the same or different. A flu strain may be immune to some cytokines produced by our pet’s bodies in abundance when they ingest certain anti-viral foods and herbs. This can be detrimental if they are fighting one of these immune viruses because the body will over-produce those cytokines. In effect, the body will attack itself. This is why we should never administer echinacea, algae, and some other anti-virals when the animal is sick with an unidentified virus. These details and contradictions are what makes it so important to consult a medical professional if your pet shows symptoms of the flu.
Never treat a sick pet with human medication without your veterinarian’s guidance.
??? What are your experiences with naturally anti-viral foods & herbs for pets?
Cruse, Julius, M.. Lewis, Robert E. Atlas of Immunology, Third Edition. 2010.
Yarnall, Celeste. Hofve, Jean. The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care: An Illustrated Handbook
Balch, Phyllis. Prescription for Nutritional Healing
Messonnier, Shawn D.V.M. The Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats
Levy, Juliette. The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm & Stable
Wulff, Mary. Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet’s Life
The American Veterinary Association H1NI Info
Center for Disease Control – Canine Flu
✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Double the Power of Seaweed by Mixing Species (Infographic)
Are Edible Mushrooms Good for Dogs, Cats, Horses and other Pets?
Ringworm: Natural Prevention and Treatment (With Poultice Recipe)
DIY Natural Shaker Supplements for Homemade Pet Food
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