Veterinary medicine and animal nutrition

Planta Med 2007; 73 - PL_005 Functional Plant Products in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Nutrition

Herbs and herbal products are also in veterinary medicine and livestock production of increasing importance. Besides of an „ethnoveterinarian revival“ there are two reasons responsible for the respective development:

    • the preference of pet animal and horse owners for „soft medicine“

    • the restrictive use of synthetic drugs and antibiotics in farm animals

As regards some important disorders and diseases of companion animals, recent results have shown a successful treatment of male dogs suffering from BPH by a pumpkin seed extract (Cucurbita pepo var. styriaca), and chronical dermatitis could be controlled by application of tea-tree-oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) preparations [1]. COPD/RAO of horses could be treated by either a thymol containing preparation or a herbal medicinal product consisting of Gentiana-, Primula-, Rumex- and other extracts [2]. A specific challenge represent food producing animals since by 01.01.2006 the use of antibiotic growth promoters is banned throughout the European Union and in addition, since in organic farming „herbal preparations should be preferred to synthetic allopathic drugs“ (EU-Directive 1804/99). Nonetheless microbial induced diarrhoea remains one of the crucial problems especially at pigs and poultry. Recent investigations resulted in significant antimicrobial and growth enhancing effects of several essential oils and herbal mixtures [3]. Special emphasis is given to the European joint research project SAFEWASTES where a number of residues of herbal extraction have been investigated on their antimicrobial and antioxidative activity. Many of the „herbal wastes“ have shown anti-adhesive effects of bacteria in-vitro, and some of the materials have shown already promising results in-vivo [4]. Although there is still little information on veterinary phytotherapy, the recent results are promising presupposed a controlled quality of the herbal products in question and standardised veterinary clinical trials.

References: [1] Reichling, J. et al. (2004): Dt. Tierärztl. Woschr. 111: 408–414. [2] Van den Hoven, R. et al. (2003): Veterinary Record 152: 555–57. [3] Kyriakis, S.C. et al. (1999): Res. Vet. Sci. 67: 223–28. [4]