Cynthia Lankenau


Cynthia Lankenau DVM, RH(AHG)

Colden, New York

Cynthia Lankenau DVM  is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine; ‘81), is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA, ‘91), certified in Veterinarian Chiropractic, and has extensive training in herbal medicine. Her practice covers horses and household pets.

What was the path that led you to veterinary medicine, and then to study herbs?

While growing up on a dairy farm in the Hudson Valley of NY, I was instilled with a passion for animals and their care. My family also has an obsession with books and education. The blend of these two led me to veterinary medicine. I have always loved to watch animals graze in pasture, and then when practicing as a dairy veterinarian, I was fascinated in seeing how cows would seek out specific plants depending on their health issues. Over the years in my practice, I have seen an increase in immune disorders, cancers, and other chronic diseases concurrently with an increase in the toxicities of pharmaceutical drugs and their general decrease in overall effectiveness in case management. This trend added to the desire to help my clients which forced me to explore alternative treatment approaches: acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic and, most importantly, herbal medicine. With my clientele, I have found herbal medicine to be the most satisfying providing a strong foundation for the animal to heal. My love of herbal medicine keeps me always searching for more classes and more education.

How has studying under David Winston impacted your practice?

In my practice, I use acupuncture, chiropractic, osteopathy and homeopathy; and really enjoy herbal medicine most of all. Most of my patients are suffering from various energetic deficiencies and I have found that herbal support is crucial as a foundation for their treatment. David Winston has an incredible wealth of herbal knowledge. He is expanding the flexibility in my herbal prescribing. My original instruction in Chinese Herbal Medicine always focused on the total formulas with less on understanding each individual herb. David presents his Chinese Materia Medica in a way that has encouraged me to incorporate these herbs into my western herbal formulas. His instruction has also given a different view of many of the herbs that I had thought I had known. I have found that I had ‘pigeonholed’ many herbs, thinking of each herb with just a few specific uses. He has a very unique way of staying true to herbal energetics and traditions while supporting all of his statements with current research (a great way to dazzle my conventional colleagues). After listening to David’s lectures on individual herbs, I have gained fresh and intriguing new ideas in the treatment in many of our frustrating chronic diseases found in veterinary medicine. I have developed new thoughts on blending my Chinese herbs with my western herbs, giving my formulas wider range of applications and stronger, more effective formulas.

As someone active in the Veterinary Botanical Medical Association’s education efforts, what are your thoughts on reaching a larger number of vets and getting more education to them about the use of herbs in treating animals?

In the veterinary profession, we are facing a growing number of chronic diseases including cancers, auto-immune disorders, debilitating arthritis, with a failure of many conventional treatments. We are reaching more and more of our veterinary colleagues by illustrating that herbal medicine can improve our animals’ quality of life that are suffering from cancer and other serious chronic diseases. 

We can also illustrate that botanical medicine can cure cases that had been nonresponsive to conventional therapies. In other words, by practicing good herbal medicine we are instructing our colleagues on the benefits of herbal medicine locally. The younger veterinarians especially are seeking other therapeutic modalities to arm themselves against our tough diseases. So, yes, education is the key. Currently many of the large conventional veterinarian conferences have a speaker track that is devoted to herbal medicine. We are making progress by introducing veterinarians to the power of herbal medicine.

It is a bit of a struggle though. The profession has been brainwashed to trust only pharmaceutical drugs, even today poisonous plants are taught in veterinary colleges but no balance with medicinal plant instruction. With current research, there is more conventional ‘trust’ in using specific botanicals but with that we have a great risk of conventional veterinarians using herbs as a ‘green’ drug thereby creating a great potential for herbal therapeutic abuse.

The VBMA has an ability to interact with owners and human herbal practitioners as we hold a speaker track at the International Herbal Symposium. Owners can pressure and demand that their veterinarians become educated. Currently we do have a basic training class for veterinarians who then hopefully will seek out more advanced training with classes such as David’s. We are also forming the American College of Veterinary Botanical Medicine to interact directly with conventional veterinarians by establishing a board specialty college. The ACVBM will then serve as a resource for non-herbal trained veterinarians and will provide a framework for training to be available for interested veterinarians who would like to seek education equal to a board specialty.

What are some of the H&A products you use most in your practice?

I carry a very large number of H&A’s single herbs. I probably use the trophorestorative herbs the most; so Milk thistle, Nettle seed, Hawthorn, Milky Oats, etc. Of course all of the adaptogens: Ashwagandha, Mushrooms, American and Chinese (white and red Ginseng), etc. For chronic arthritis, Devil’s Claw, Turmeric, Prickly Ash, etc. For the cancers, all the alteratives and Hoxsey formula herbs, Chaga and Turkey tails; Lyme disease calls for the Spirolyd formulas; chronic respiratory diseases: Elecampane, Horehound, and Andrographis. And since we are seeing odd organisms, I use a fair amount of Houttuynia, Usnea, Lomatium, and David’s pre-made respiratory formulas. Of course, I see a fair number of renal disease, so Nettle Seed is a favorite for kidney support. UTIs are also very common with urine crystal issues, straining and inflammation, so Pipsissewa; Goldenrod, Pellitory of the wall, Gravel root, Parsley or Cleavers, Hydrangea, Khella, Lobelia, Kava, Yucca, Agrimony, Hibiscus, Bergamot, Monarda didyma (Bee Balm), Marshmallow, Corn Silk, and Cleavers. IBS and IBD is another common treated condition, so Sarsaparilla, Irish moss, Licorice, Mullein, Glehnia, Turmeric, Cat’s claw, Yarrow, Marshmallow, Slippery Elm, Chamomile, Kudzu, Wild yam, and Cyperus. The list just goes on and on. I enjoy making my own formulas to be blended to match each specific individual, so I use individual tinctures more commonly than any of the prepared formulas.

Can you share a few case studies where you have seen herbs be particularly helpful?

I use herbal medicines in almost 100% of my cases; from acute conditions such as the case studies below of Parker and Chelsea, to supportive like Helena, chronic immune disorders such as Felix, and chronic disease due to disease suppression as in YooHoo.

Parker Symon, an intact male Bichon Frise canine, 7 years old

Initial Exam March 23, 2019

Unbeknownst to the owner, Parker ate a tampon. It caused an intestinal impaction with local peritonitis. She went to a surgery facility and was given a grave prognosis with a $5,000 estimate. I received a very tearful call; she could not afford their charges and pleaded with us to see Parker. On physical exam, Parker was depressed, 103.2 F temperature, and no abdominal sounds. His abdomen was tense and distended, sclera was injected, tongue was red and dry, pulse was rapid and thin.

The treatment goal was to save Parker’s life by gently assisting the body to expel the tampon and treat the localized peritonitis. These goals were to be met with the actions of a choleretic, laxative herb with an anti-spasmolytic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effect. The plan was to stimulate bile production and flow using the cold, bitter, laxative effect of bile to Cool the Intestinal Fire, (localized peritonitis) and to gently lubricate and move the tampon. I was afraid any strong laxative would rupture the intestine and similarly any bulk laxative would firstly not be strong enough but also would place too much stress on the intestinal walls.

PRESCRIPTION - Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale); Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata); Calendula (Calendula officinalis): equal portions of tinctures. The dose was drop doses, as often and frequent as the owner could without causing Parker to vomit.

  • Dandelion root is cold and bitter; it can clear stomach and intestinal heat with its anti-inflammatory antimicrobial effect. It is a bitter digestive tonic, with choleretic, laxative effects. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses Dandelion to clear internal abscesses including appendicitis. Traditional use in the West used it to treat diseases from obstructions of the spleen and as a mild laxative; and for irritation of gastric and intestinal membranes.
  • Andrographis is a bitter and cold herb that clears heat and eliminates toxins. It is a very good herb for treating abscesses. It has antibiotic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, immunostimulant, hepatoprotective and cholagogue effects. Although it has been used primarily in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, it is a favorite of western herbalist David Winston for its powerful anti-microbial effect.
  • Calendula is also an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and a vulnerary with astringent effects with a soothing antispasmodic nervine influence. It can clear Stomach and Intestinal heat and can clear retained pathogens and heat toxins. Dr. Clymer used it to treat the severe inflammation and stagnation of Stomach cancers. It has a homeopathic notation to treat intestinal foreign bodies.

Parker’s owner was told that we would wait only 12 hours; we could NOT let him suffer and die from this in agony. She was told to call often with updates. She could offer only soups and broths if he wanted but that if he started to vomit, euthanasia may be strongly indicated. Within hours of leaving, Parker’s owner called to say he immediately defecated when he got home and was drinking chicken soup. Daily reports were that his attitude was great, he was drinking broths and baby food, but no more stool since the first day. In three days, Parker was having severe cramps. His owner called to say that he was moaning and unable to rest comfortably. She had no possible way to drive to my office, so she was told to give drops every half an hour of her herb combination and to brew up a cup of Nightly Night, a local tea she had on hand which has a high percentage of Chamomile flowers. Within the hour, Parker passed a completely intact tampon. The owner said it was completely encased with what looked like the Dandelion root tincture on March 27, 2019. Parker is well. I have seen no adverse long-term effects. This simple herbal formula saved his life.

Helena Aschbacher, a Jersey Heifer, 3 years old

Initial Exam July 23, 2013

The owner had a management problem with her cow’s weight in her backyard dairy, with one to two cows milking at a time. She has owned cows for over twenty years. Over the past few years, her pastures have become very lush. We assume it is the fertilizer run off from the neighboring farm. There is no herd history of lymphoma. Gertrude, Helena’s mother, had been grossly overweight and died shortly after giving birth to Helena from a non-responsive Ketosis (treated by her conventional vet). When Helena was bred as a two-year old, she also had become grossly overweight. Her owner was afraid for her life and called me to prevent issues post-calving. Helena was diagnosed with severe fatty liver. On July 23, we started a Chinese formula, Wei Ling Tang. This formula is a digestive, anticatarrhal, laxative tonic with an Adaptogenic influence containing Atractylodes, Magnolia, Tangerine rind, Ginger, Licorice and Jujube.Helena was fat. Body Conditions score of 5/5. Her spine was indented; she had fat bulges on her Tuber Coxae. Her tongue was pale and swollen with great amounts of phlegm. She had an increased borborygmus; many loops of gas distended bowels to the degree that a wandering abomasum was suspected.

As with most dairy clients, economics are an issue. Her owner disliked the expense of the Chinese herbs and requested a more economical approach; and she was shifted to a western formula on August 7.

PRESCRIPTION - A tincture formula of equal parts Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.); Turmeric (Curcuma longae); Burdock root (Articum lappa); Gymnema (Gymnema Sylvestre); and Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum). Dosage: 2 tablespoons twice a day. The historical dose of many of these carminative herbs in cows is 30-60 ml per day. The total combination daily was 60 ml. The volume could have been much higher but economics were a great concern to the owner.

Bulk Milk thistle seed (Silybum marianum L) was 4 tablespoons twice a day. The owner had her own source of Milk thistle and wanted to minimize her expenses with me. So we prioritized the Milk thistle.

The treatment goal was to ensure a safe and healthy calving condition for Helena to avoid any post-parturient metabolic diseases that plague fat cows. The priority was to strengthen her digestion to reduce phlegm (diabetic tendency and fatty liver) by providing a nutritive tonic, bitter digestive tonic, that has an effect on blood sugar and lipidosis. Her Liver is very weak and presumed to already be infiltrated with fat so additional hepatoprotective effects with choleretic herbs were indicated. She already had many gas distending loops of bowel; a carminative was needed. Management must be improved to gently control the calorie intake of Helena; with Helena so close to freshening, she cannot be allowed to become ketotic (a metabolic state when the cow is actively breaking down fat, which depresses appetite and lead to horrible fatty liver issues in cows) but her weight is a critical concern.

  • Fenugreek is a nutritive bitter digestive tonic with a hypoglycemic and hypocholesterolemic effect. It helps to reduce gas, strengthen digestion. In TCM terms, it is a Spleen Qi tonic, is regulates Stomach and Intestinal Qi.
  • Burdock root was used to help her digestion of fats, and to help move her bile. It stimulates digestion, promotes bile flow. It also has a strong anti-inflammatory activity against acute liver damage. With its high level of Inulin, her intestinal flora should be stabilized. It was hoped to have a protective effect against any acute inflammatory state from a fatty liver.
  • Curcuma is a carminative and can help move the intestinal and abomasal qi to move the stagnate gas in her GI tract and decrease the risk of a displaced abomasum. Curcuma has a hypoglycemic effect which will help regulate her Spleen Qi; Curcuma is choleretic, hepatoprotective with a hypolipidemic effect which will help to strengthen her hepatic weakness.
  • Gymnema can increase her insulin sensitivity by her beta cells and can help stabilize her obesity.
  • Reishi mushroom has strong antihepatotoxin effect with strong anti-hypercholesterolemia influence. It is a strong immune modulating effect.
  • Milk Thistle is a hepatoprotective, alterative, antidiabetic, hypocholesterolemic, immunomodulatory antioxidant with a strong ability to decrease any pancreatic inflammation. Milk Thistle has traditionally been used in states of hepatic congestion. Milk Thistle is a very appropriate herb to treat ketosis.

Helena was being fed a lactation dairy cow mineral mix that was high in Calcium. She was taken off of that mineral mix and given 6 grams of Magnesium a day to induce Calcium mobilization not deposition. She was also put on an organic yeast-based Selenium to help her liver metabolism.

She was put in the poorest pasture with only a steer for company. She was very attached to the other cows; when she was separated, yet still in sight of the other cows, she was encouraged to walk to the fence line. The idea was to increase her exercise and decrease the amount of grazing time.

On September 1, five weeks after initial treatment, and after three weeks on her western formula, she looked great; she had lost her fat bulges, increased muscle mass. She had good normal gut sounds, no odor of ketosis. She was developing a good udder.

On September 8th, she freshened with a healthy heifer calf. She passed her afterbirth, and got up. No Milk Fever, and she had a great appetite. We continued her herbs. On September 14th, Helena was producing 30 pounds of milk, no ketosis, eating well, her owner wanted to decrease her expenses. Helena’s tongue was good, no phlegm, no reactivity on her Spleen Association point, her Liver point was still “cold”. Her western tincture was decreased to 1 tablespoon twice a day but continued her Milk Thistle. On October 19, 2013, Helena was milking well (38 pounds a day) with no problems, no ketosis, good appetite. Her owner had stopped the liquid tincture, two weeks earlier but continued with the Milk Thistle. It was recommended to continue the Milk thistle, at least 2 tablespoons twice a day until her milk production started to drop of its own accord in a few months.

Phone update on 12/12/2014: Helena was bred back and calved with no problems on Oct 2, 2014 and is currently milking well. Her owner has given Milk Thistle seed since she freshened, 6 grams twice a day. This basic herbal formula with increased exercise prevented a potential disastrous post-calving ketosis and metabolic disease.

Felix, a 950 pound, gelded Appaloosa horse, 16 years old

Initial Exam January 13, 2019

Felix had been stabled at a barn the prior year, 2017, that had exceptionally poor-quality hay with large amounts of dust and mold. As an additional worry, the barn is located in an area that had been used for the original nuclear work in the 1940’s. The local “joke” is the wildlife in the area glows in the dark. Since the summer of 2018, Felix’s exercise tolerance had been decreasing and he was becoming increasingly lethargic. He started a gradual weight loss in August of 2018. During the fall, he was in a run-in shed and started to have an even more dramatic weight loss. His owner moved him on January 2, 2019, when his body condition was deteriorating so rapidly, she feared he was dying. On physical exam on 1/13/19; Felix was thin, (he weight taped at 720 pounds, he should weigh at least 1,000); with his ribs protruding even through a heavy winter coat with a relatively distended abdomen (body condition-3/10). His gums were pale, tongue was pale and swollen with a few petechial hemorrhages; he was very lethargic, and while not neurologic was slow to place his legs when moving. His heart rate was slightly elevated; 54 beats per minute, respiration seemed slightly labored, with a slightly flared nostril when breathing. With any even mild exertion, his respiratory rate would increase dramatically. Although no abnormal lung sounds where heard, there was a hoarse quality to the bronchial sounds. His parotid, lateral retropharyngeal, medial retropharyngeal lymph nodes where painfully enlarged. They were warm to touch and he resented any pressure on these lymph nodes.

His initial TCM diagnosis was Spleen Qi deficiency with some type of Heat toxin with a secondary heart qi weakness; he was placed on Wei Qi Booster initially, 2 tablespoons twice a day; a Spleen tonic with Two Blood heat clearing herbs. It contains Astragalus, Huang Qi; Angelica, Dang Gui; Codonopsis, Dang Shen; Lindera, Wu Yao; Citrus, Chen Pi; Scutellaria, Ban Zhi Lian; Oldenlandia, Bai Hua She She Cao; and Scrophularia, Xuan Shen. Overall, this formula is immune modulating, immune supportive, alterative, and an anti-microbial tonic.

In western terms, Felix appeared to be anemic with evidence of a thrombocytopenia, which is “Bad Blood”. Blood was drawn for a CBC and Chemistry panel; and Lyme and Ehrlichia equi titers. Titers were both negative; blood work was normal except for a low segmented neutrophil count 2.3 (2.7-6.6 thou/uL), AST was high at 539 (199-374 U/L) and total and indirect bilirubin was low (total 0.3 (0.5-2.5 mg/dL; indirect Bilirubin was 0.2 (0.3-2.3 mg/dl). With these results, his liver function seemed weak with potential cellular damage suspected in the heart, as all the other liver function tests and kidney function tests were normal. With the segmented Neutrophils low, it was feared that there was a cellular migration into the peripheral tissue, that is evidence of a possible retained pathogen. With these results, it was concluded that he had some type of retained pathogen which was irritating and destroying cardiac tissue. He was started additionally on Cinchona bark, 1 tsp per day, and Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, one tablespoon once a day. Cinchona has an anti-microbial, antipyretic effect with a cardiac tonic, alterative, adaptogen influence. A “Blood moving” effects was satisfied with the Chinese formula, Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang: Persica, Tao Ren; Carthamus, Hong Hua; Ligusticum, Chuan Xiong; Cyathula, Chuan Niu Xi; Paeonia, Chi Shao Yao; Angelica, Dang Gui Tou; Bupleurum, Chai Hu; Platycodon, Jie Geng; Rehmannia, Sheng Di Huang; Aurantium, Zhi Ke; and Licorice, Gan Cao.


On February 7, 2019, he was rechecked. His energy seemed to be better, he was gaining weight, Color was better, no petechial hemorrhage; plan – continue treatment. 3/7/19- Felix has good color, except for a slightly purple tongue, pulse was taut. His attitude was good but Felix was acting very painful in the GB meridian. I felt that the disease process was moving out of the Blood level into the Shao Yang level; his primary herb was changed to Xiao Chai Hu Tang with Cinchona bark. Xiao Chai Hu Tang is the Chinese Herbal formula to clear retained pathogens in the Shao Yang level. This level refers to the endocrine system and potential source of an auto-immune antigen. The formula contains Bupleurum root, Chai Hu; Chinese Skullcap, Huang Qin; Chinese ginseng, Ren Shen; Pinellia rhizome, Ban Xie; Licorice, Gan Cao; and red jujube, Hong Zao.

April 8, 2019 Felix was seemingly doing well, his owner was very happy saying he was looking good, his weight was up to 950 pounds; exercise tolerance was better; but he would still tire; his heart rate was 30 bpm, respiration rate was normal but his lymph nodes were still very painfully swollen; now there were distended veins seen on the surface of the lymph nodes. His tongue color was looking murky. Basically, he just was not better enough. There still seemed to be a deeper pathogen that was still causing “Bad Blood”. While the plan was to continue his herbs, I felt I was missing something vital in the case. When I was expressing my concern to his owner she reported her concern that he had stopped his mischievous mannerisms.

Felix had done well with his Chinese herbs but we seemed to have reached a plateau. His tongue color was brown and was still slightly swollen; capillary refill time was less than one second. Body condition was normal. His parotid, lateral retropharyngeal, medial retropharyngeal lymph nodes where still painfully enlarged. There seemed to be a multitude of engorged, stagnant blood vessels in the entire region over his painful lymph nodes. He was still slightly depressed and “tired”, in previous years he was always very mischievous, now he would stand quietly when being worked on. Initially I thought he was finally growing up and behaving but it was more and more apparent that his quietness was a sign of his chronic disease. His owner was more aware of his quiet behavior, that he used to play with her other horse for hours and now he would just stand with no interest in any interaction with the other horses. Heart and Lung sounds were normal but there was a harsh quality to the lung sounds on the right dorsal area. Chronic active inflammatory process in the parotid, lateral retropharyngeal, medial retropharyngeal lymph nodes with immune deficiency with the potential of an opportunistic organism ( for example: Pneumocystis type organism) with a need to improve his mitochondrial function.

The general treatment goals were to increase health and vitality, to restore his prior performance level; to improve his lymphatics; and to treat the symptoms of chronic immune weakness, chronic lymphatic congestion and stagnation and infection/inflammation; to clear his body of opportunistic pathogens; treat the symptom of his lethargy; improve the quality of his “blood” and the stagnate venous congestion, and modulate his immune system.

To Increase health and vitality; herbs are needed with an immunoregulatory, alterative, tonic, and adaptogen qualities. To improve the quality of Blood; an immunoregulatory with alternative qualities will be needed. To treat the symptom of inflamed lymph nodes anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, alterative, and astringent, immunoregulator, anti-catarrhal, lymphatic herbs are needed. To treat the implied Pneumocystis infection, an herb with an anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-protozoan effects are needed. To improve the venous congestion in the Lymph nodes, an alterative and circulatory stimulant/blood tonic is needed.

PRESCRIPTION-Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) 30%; Cleavers (Galium aparine) 25%; Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) 15%; Nettle leaf (Urtica urens) 15%; Thyme leaves and flowers (Thymus vulgaris) 15%. This formula was a tincture; volume of 4 tablespoons twice a day. The historical dose in horses for these herbs would be 15-30 ml a day. The combined dose is 60 ml twice a day. It was felt that the synergy of the herbs would allow for a decreased individual dose.

  • Echinacea was the primary herb, 60% of the formula. Echinacea is an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, alternative immunoregulator and tonic herb known to be important to treat recurring respiratory infection in weakened individuals. Felter and Lloyd considered it to be an important herb in toxic states that have septicemia, tonsillitis with a dirty brown tongue and catarrhal states of the nasopharyngeal or bronchial system. It is also an herb that is characteristic for a high level of exhaustion: overwork, long hours, when the veins are full and dark. The tongue was so characteristic of Echinacea; it was the primary sign that made me change to western herbs.
  • Cleavers is an alterative, anti-inflammatory astringent that is specific for the lymphatics. Culpeper used for hard swelling and to cleanse the blood, BHP-specifically for enlarged lymph nodes. It was the assisting herb to help treat the symptom of enlarged lymph nodes and the primary lymphatic herb.
  • Gotu kola is an adaptogen, with a strong regenerative effect on the connective tissue; it is a mild diuretic, alterative, with and antipyretic, antimicrobial, antiviral effect. It is indicated in the treatment of Lymphoma, and alterative for sore throats, tonsillitis, and traditionally used for swellings in the respiratory tract; improves venous stagnation. It was felt that this herb could improve the health of the connective tissue to encourage the removal of any opportunistic pathogens, like a Pneumocystis organism.
  • Nettle leaf is an anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory blood tonic. It helps with the removal of proteinaceous waste products. Nettle was used for its nutritive blood tonic effects and its ability to help clear wastes from connective tissue and to decrease the chronic inflammation.
  • Thyme is an antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal alterative, immunoregulatory antioxidant. Thymus is such an incredible respiratory antimicrobial herb; it was thought to be a likely choice to clear the presumed Pneumocystis infection. Cinchona had made significant progress with this case, but it was felt to try a different anti-septic herb.

5/24/2019: Felix was much better. The Lymph nodes were no longer hot to the touch, but still enlarged; the venous congestion had lessened. His tongue was actually pink. Exercise tolerance was better. He stole my stethoscope when I examined him; he was much more himself. Plan-continue treatment.

7/18/2019 Much better, lymph nodes were half the size, exercise level back; tongue color was pink, attitude was great; owner was riding daily, no complaints. His dose was slightly decreased to 1 tablespoon twice a day.

9/13/2019 Owner riding back at normal level; he was back at his old tricks. His lymph nodes may be a tad swollen, but not hot or painful. I would consider him just about cured but his dose currently is 1 tsp daily for continued immune support.

2/20/2020 Phone update: Owner had stopped herbs at Christmas time as she felt he was back to 100%.

Chelsea Forster, a female spayed German shepherd dog, 3 years old

Initial Exam August 18, 2019

Chelsea was found wandering the streets of Buffalo, NY on her own with no collar. On August 6, 2019, she was taken to the local shelter where she received Distemper, Parvo, Parainfluenza, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis and Rabies immunizations while she had internal worming chemicals and topical flea products applied. Her owner adopted her on August 16, 2019. When Chelsea arrived at her new home, she was suffering from severe sneezing fits. This local rescue has had several dogs develop canine distemper and influenza.

On August 18, 2019, I heard a great commotion in the entry way into my office. Chelsea was in a panic, actively fighting her leash; Chelsea, her owner reported, seemed to be very claustrophobic. She panicked as soon as she was in a confined area. With a little coaxing and a lot of dog treats, she agreed to come into the office. She was understandably thin, 60 pounds on a dog that should be 80 pounds; and very anxious. Although she would stand still in the office, she really wanted to bolt out of the building. Her owner’s chief concern was episodes of serious sneezing. The sneezes would come in episodes of three and were so strong that Chelsea would smack her nose on the ground, and occurred at least every half hour. On physical exam air flow through both nostrils was decreased. Her breathing was rapid with her preferring to pant over nasal breathing. There was neither nasal discharge nor any crusts by her nostrils but when she would sneeze there was a significant amount of a clear to cloudy white nasal discharge. Her pulse was floating but very thin, fast and tight; her heart rate was 86 beats per minute, rapid for a dog her size. Her chest auscultated normally except for an increased rate. Bronchial sounds were possibly a little harsh. The top of her head was very warm. Her temperature was 103.5 degree F. Chelsea had an Upper respiratory infection from an unknown organism with added emotional, physical, and chemical stressors.

The general treatment goal was to increase Chelsea’s health and return her to normal vitality, decrease the stress from her rescue experience, clear respiratory pathogens, and improve the health of the respiratory organs. To improve health and vitality from the stress of her street life and subsequent rescue experience, she needs the help of adaptogens and immunostimulants and modulators. To clear respiratory pathogens, she needs the aid of herbs with antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial, anticatarrhal, diaphoretic, and expectorant actions. To improve the health of her respiratory system, she needs the help of respiratory tonics, with a slight astringent, diuretic effect. To decrease the ill effects of chronic stress, we need the help of herbs with an Adaptogenic effect.

PRESCRIPTION- Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridum), American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), Isatis (Isatis tinctorial), Lomatium, Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum), Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) - equal parts of tinctures: (Given the dose of each herb is 0.5 ml per 20 pounds daily for a 60 pound dog, that makes a minimum of a 9 ml daily dose) Her dose was 1 tsp twice a day.

  • Devil’s Club is antibacterial, antifungal antiviral, adaptogenic and antipyretic herb. This plant has thorns and teaches proper boundaries. It is very helpful in animals that have been taken advantage of, gives them the strength to not be too vulnerable. Yet it also has soft leaves to allow one to become gentler when life had hardened us. Devil’s Club was a prime choice for the chronic emotional stress that Chelsea had endured. It is very useful in acute respiratory illnesses as it is a strong respiratory stimulant and expectorant, it also has the history of been a chronic respiratory tonic. Devil’s Club was additional selected for its use in respiratory disease.
  • American Ginseng is a nourishing adaptogen in cases of stress. In TCM, it is used as a Spleen and Lung Qi to speed recovery of respiratory infections and to help restore normal respiratory function. It is traditionally used for exhaustion when there is a lack of energy reserves. Chelsea was in an exhausted state when she was brought to the animal shelter. There she was exposed to not only any pathogens from the other animals but also the pathogens in the form of vaccines and drugs. Her body was exhausted yet had a massive load of toxins to metabolize. This herb was selected to help improve her health and vitality for the stress of her street life and rescue experience; to decrease the ill effects of chronic stress.
  • Isatis is anti-bacterial, antiviral and is used to treat acute conjunctivitis, pharyngitis, influenza, pneumonia, and tonsillitis. Due to the shelter’s recent history of having Canine Distemper and influenza positive dogs, strong anti-viral herbs were needed. Isatis was one of these selected to clear the respiratory pathogens.
  • Lomatium root is a powerful antiviral/antibacterial agent and is effective for treating colds, and influenza. It is one of the herbs credited with saving whole populations during the Spanish influenza in the 1900’s. This is another herb selected for its very strong anti-viral effect to clear the respiratory pathogens.
  • Boneset is an immune stimulant, diaphoretic, expectorant, and bitter tonic. It is indicated for influenza with muscle pain (or steaming bone). It is a stimulating tonic and antispasmodic diaphoretic, indicated for influenza and febrile conditions (arising from marshy districts). Boneset was indicated due to the fear that the respiratory infection was already penetrating into the deeper levels of the body. One physical exam, it was the Shao-yang meridians that were the most reactive. In western herbal medicine, this would translate as the disease already developing an auto-immune component or more deeply affecting the body, minimally starting to inflame the sinuses. (The top of her head was very warm on physical exam.) According to Michael Tierra, Boneset is one of the western herbs that can penetrate into these deeper immune levels in the body. Boneset was added in this formula to help clear respiratory pathogens, not only at the superficial level but deeper if needed.
  • Goldenrod is an antiseptic, diaphoretic, and diuretic; it is stimulating and slightly astringent tonic antiseptic to the mucous membranes. One of its indications is nasopharyngeal catarrh with sneezing and excessive mucus, influenza. It is also a slight kidney tonic to help give her some “backbone” and stand up straight. Goldenrod was added to help tonify her respiratory mucus membranes to increase their resistance to respiratory pathogens. By decreasing her susceptibility, it was hoped to increase her to health and vitality is the most efficient manner.

It was felt that the incredible stress that Chelsea had been under was responsible for her susceptibility to some Upper Respiratory organism at the shelter (or a vaccine induced disease). It is suspected that when these animals are under so much stress when arriving at the shelters, their high resting level of cortisol is creating some vaccine induced respiratory diseases, that the stress is blocking the body from properly eliminating the vaccine antigens. But with this particular shelter having issues with both Canine Distemper and Canine Influenza, this could have been a real infection with either virus. The use of herbal medicine is very important as there are no truly effective anti-viral drugs.

Both Lomatium and Isatis have well-documented clinical success at treating viral respiratory pathogens. It seemed very important to start these herbs as soon as possible. The owner is a very clever person who understood the importance of reducing stress. She was already using Rescue Remedy for any fears and panics, she was keeping Chelsea quiet at home, no other visitors. Additionally, she was introducing good home cooked food with digestive enzymes as Chelsea had been on an unknown diet of cheap kibble at the shelter. The owner has a good ventilation with good air quality to reduce the buildup of pathogenic organisms in the air.

On August 21, Chelsea’s sneezing had completely stopped. Her temperature was 101.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

I recently have been seeing an up-swing in Canine distemper in dogs that have been in a shelter environment. I feel this straightforward formula not only cured her but prevented the development of a disastrous respiratory disease.

YooHoo Pfetner, a gelding Thoroughbred horse, 26 years old.

Initial Exam July 13, 2019

YooHoo has a past history of vaccine-induced disease that culminated in his near death three years ago. He had developed a vaccine induce hepatitis which was cleared with the use of Chinese herbs. He has been well since then. He has a slight cervical stiffness as the only residual effect.

In June, the barn’s regular veterinarian insists that every animal to be under his care must have all ‘spring vaccinations.’ Due to YooHoo’s past reactions to injectable vaccinations, only the intra-nasal flu and strangles vaccine was used. The week after the barn’s spring shots, YooHoo started “Head-Shaking”. This is a poorly understood allergic type sensitivity to light and dust. YooHoo slowly started to flip his head when being ridden in the sunlight in June. In the beginning of July his head shaking became so intense he hit his riders head, giving her a bloody nose, and then abruptly stopped, throwing her, to rub and itch his nose against a fence post. I was called after this episode.

On physical exam, July 13, YooHoo looked exhausted. His pulse was elevated at 45 beats per minute and respiration was rapid. His mucus membranes were red and the inner mucosal lining of his nose was reddened with very prominent dusky looking distended veins. His tongue was murky brick red and slightly tacky feeling. When standing in front of YooHoo, he would rub his nose against any part of your body he would reach. His nose was constantly twitching. When lead into the sun or in the dusty arena, he was constantly tossing his head. His eyes were reddened with the scleral vessels distended and dark red. His neck was slightly stiff to the left; his low back was a little sore. His Gallbladder points were very reactive. This meridian enters into the sinus area and sore down along the side of his neck. His Triple Heater points were also sore. This acupuncture points indicate an immune/endocrine based condition. No other abnormalities were seen.

YooHoo was diagnosed with “Head Shaking” syndrome, a form of allergic rhinitis that has no successful drug treatment, in TCM, heat toxin creating internal wind (In TCM any situation that involves Wind that is an itch, has implications of Liver involvement.). The general treatment goal is to return YooHoo to his prior level of health and vitality. He needed symptom relief from his inflamed and itchy nose and relief from his slight arthritic tendency. The symptom of his extreme emotional discomfort needs to be calmed. The underlying weakness that allowed the allergic condition to develop will need to be addressed, to help; his liver’s ability to remove systemic allergens needs to be improved. There is some type of an allergen that YooHoo had been unable to clear from his body; some type of “Bad Blood.”

To help the symptoms of his itchy nose, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, immunoregulatory herbs would be needed with an additional antispasmodic effect. To treat the underlying cause of the allergic reaction, YooHoo would need the help of an alterative herb that is a cholagogue to help improve the Liver’s detoxifying ability, with strong antioxidant effects. To soothe the nervous system, nervines would be needed that have a tranquilizing sedative influence. To ease the stiffness in his neck, an anti-arthritic herb would be indicated.

PRESCRIPTION - Equal parts of Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia), Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Devil’s Claw tuber (Harpagophytum procumbens), Eyebright (Euphrasia rostkoviana), Nettle leaf (Urtica urens), Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and Kutki root or Picrorrhiza root (Neopicrorrhiza scrophulariiflora) were used in a tincture; his dose was two tablespoons twice a day. This dose is based on 2-3 times the calculated human dose of 1 ½ tsp TID. I have found that horses respond to doses much less that what would be expected from a human of the same weight. Often, they respond well at a human dose. With economics always seeming to be a concern, a low dose was started.

  • Echinacea is always indicated when there is “bad blood” with the characteristic murky tongue. It is a cooling stimulant that is indicated whenever there is a high level of exhaustion, and dark veins. Echinacea is an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, alternative immunoregulator and tonic herb known helpful in treating allergic rhinitis, especially in weakened individuals. It is also an herb that is characteristic for a high level of exhaustion: overwork, long hours, when the veins are full and dark. YooHoo is exhausted from constantly rubbing his nose. The tongue was so characteristic of Echinacea. In TCM, Echinacea can clear retained pathogens, tonify and regulate Defensive Qi, and clear Wind Heat, and Heat Toxin. It is hoped that Echinacea would be able to help clear the allergen while supporting YooHoo’s immune system.
  • Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic herb with a mild sedative activity. Historically, Chamomile was used as a nervine for tension headaches. Here it was used to decrease the inflammatory reaction and reduce the irritation in the nose, and soothe the nervous system with its tranquilizing effect ,and clear pathogens from the liver with its choleretic influence.
  • Devil’s Claw tuber is an anti-inflammatory and cholagogue with strong analgesic effects. It is well indicated for neuralgias. It is assumed that the neurologic sensations in this syndrome are very intense. Devil’s Claw is also an antiarthritic herb which will be helpful in treating YooHoo stiff neck.
  • Eyebright is an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial tonic astringent which clears Wind Heat, that is, it can help remove the allergen that has caused the signs of allergic rhinitis. It historically has been used to treat allergic rhinitis. This herb was selected due to its strong indications for the primary symptom of allergic rhinitis.
  • Nettle leaf is also a great antiallergenic anti-inflammatory herb with great uses in acute allergic rhinitis; it has traditionally been used for allergic conditions. Its anti-inflammatory effect is also effective against arthritis.
  • Nettle was used in the formula to reinforce the need for anti-allergy type herbs. Nettle is known for its nutritive effects. YooHoo is an older horse that has been though a great deal in the past years. The nutritive influence was also needed to help restore him to a good level of health and vitality.
  • Skullcap is a tonic, nervine and tranquilizer with a hypotensive and antispasmodic effect. In TCM, it can calm the Heart Spirit and calm Liver Wind, this means that it will calm YooHoo’s agitated mental state and help decrease the sensation of an itch. It has traditional use with restlessness, spasm, neuralgia, tics, tremors, irritability, restlessness, and nervous headaches. This syndrome is characterized by the amount of restlessness and irritability seen in the affected individual. Michael Moore stated that Skullcap is “a sure treatment for almost any nervous malfunction.” Skullcap fits all the treatment goals.
  • Kutki root or Picrorrhiza root is a powerful hepatoprotective agent, a choleretic which has antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and immunoregulator effects. It is effective for hyperimmune conditions such as allergies and hyperactive conditions of the immune system. Picrorrhiza was included ensure YooHoo’s liver was returned to a vibrant functioning organ.

YooHoo’s owners called back in 5 days, July 18th, saying that he was much better with minimal restlessness. On August 1, there was an incredible improvement. No redness, no twitching of his nose, no rubbing. Plan-continue with environmental control, start riding slowly, but continue the herbs. On August 15, YooHoo owners called saying he was just fine. They stopped the herbs because they did not feel they were needed anymore. On September 22, a routine chiropractic exam, YooHoo showed no signs of Head Shaking. His owner had been riding outside during mid-day with no problems. His neck was still a little stiff but all else was good. His herbs were discontinued (his owners dislike giving any supplements). YooHoo responded beautifully to a very significant chronic disease seen today in our horses.

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