Aloe Vera for Healthy Animals
For professionals with the responsbility for the health and wellbeing of domestic, farm, working and competition animals as well as repitles, fish and birds.
What is Aloe Vera?
Aloe Bardadensis is a succulent plant and has remained popular throughout history both for its medicinal and cosmetic properties. In ancient history, a famous papyrus which dates to 1552BC lists the use of Aloe both in drugs and cosmetics. Aloe Vera has been used by the Ancient Greeks, Roman, Babylonians, Indians and Chinese. Greek physician Dioscorides wrote about Aloe in one of the greatest medical books De Materia Medica.
There are 75 known ingredients in the Aloe Vera leaf (more to be identified), within10 main groups.
- Vitamins, incl. antioxidant vitamins C & E with vitamin B12, rarely found in plants, beta carotene (precursor to Vit A)
- Minerals, incl. magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, chromium, calcium, sodium, potassium & iron
- Lignin, believed to give topical products the ability to penetrate the skin.
- Saponins, natural antiseptic properties and soapy substances capable of cleansing
- Anthraquinones, (including aloin & emodin), strong painkillers with anti-bacterial and viricidal activity and a laxative
- Amino Acids, Aloe Vera contains 19 along with 7 essential amino acids
- Enzymes, lipases & proteases break down food, aid digestion & absorption of food / drugs with carboxypeptidase, a natural anti-inflammatory
- Sugars, monosaccharides (such as glucose & polysaccharides) which act on the immune system to boost its effects
- Plant sterols, three main types act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents
- Salicylic acid, aspirin-like compound. Taken orally it is anti-inflammatory and topically, it breaks down dead tissue
Aloe can be used topically or digested. The plant’s unique array of nutrients is thought to promote healing. Veterinary surgeons all over the world use Aloe Vera for its healing properties for strategic use on burns, wounds but more importantly on the proactive care and health maintenance of animals such as horses, dogs, cats, small & large mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and primates etc. More and more vets are recognising Aloe Vera as an important tool for therapeutic support and acknowledge its use in certain conditions. Obviously, it is essential to identify the underlying cause of symptoms but Aloe Vera may help the body to overcome certain conditions, alleviate symptoms and allow the body to function effectively.
Administering Aloe Vera
Taken orally, the Aloe Vera can be given directly from a spoon / saucer or added to water or food (for fish remove them from their tank and add Aloe to their treatment tank). Larger doses can be divided into equal portions and given throughout the day. The amount of Aloe Vera given depends on the size of the animal. The first part of treatment would start with a ‘treatment’ dose which is often double the ‘maintenance’ dose, but it is advised to introduce the product over a few days (10% for the first few days) and then increasing to the full dose.
Aloe the ‘Carrier’
Aloe Vera is able to penetrate the epithelial layers and therefore is an excellent carrier of other topical and oral medicine and traditional veterinary treatments to optimise their performance.
Conditions Aloe Vera is renowned for working on the outer and inner (epithelial) skin and conditions involving the immune system. Aloe Vera increases the rate of cell production for healing whilst reducing scarring, bacterial growth and hypergranulation tissue. It can also be used for First Aid treatments and used alongside veterinary treatments. Aloe Vera encourages exfoliation of the keratin layers of the skins and can be used with antifungals to aid resolution.
Topically or Ingested?
Use Aloe Vera topically for skin abrasions issues, conditions which need healing or soothing and calming. Give orally for internal conditions of the skin, digestive, immune, musculoskeletal or respiration systems. An Aloe Vera Spray is calming and soothing and perfect for debriding wounds.
There are no documented side effects of using Aloe Vera with animals but clinicians have noticed that in some cases there maybe a healing crisis where the skin may look worse before it gets better for around 5 to 10 days.
Many animals benefit from taking Aloe Vera daily. Animals who are living in a stressful environment or have been subjected to emotional neglect or abuse may have a compromised immune system. Aloe Vera can improve the sense of wellness and wellbeing and contribute to the body’s systems to work in balance.
Animals who compete in competitions or work at optimum physical performance constantly put their body’s functions under pressure. A daily dose of Aloe Vera contributes to the body’s vital systems and function.