With around 50 per cent of people in the UK owning a pet, this country is definitely a nation of animal lovers. With owning a pet comes the responsibility of taking it to the vet when there are problems, however more and more are looking into natural remedies and foregoing traditional veterinary treatment.
One of these alternative therapies I have discovered are the Bach Flower Remedies. Developed by Dr Edward Bach during the 1920's-30's, he wanted to develop a treatment to treat the 'real' cause of the disease and heal and restore the mind to a balanced state.
Comprising of 38 different essences which can be used on both people and animals, 37 are prepared from wild flowers, bushes and trees which include the well known Rescue Remedy and one from natural spring water.
What makes these remedies appealing is how they help to treat a specific state of mind or way of thinking. This treatment does not directly help fix physical problems, but this could provide the solution you are looking for if you are experiencing behavioural problems with your pet.
Available from health stores, the Flower Essences are be used to help treat common problems such as separation anxiety, firework phobias, car issues and excessive barking. As each essence has its own properties to help a particular condition or behavioural problem, it's simply a case of selecting the appropriate remedy or remedies based on your pet's emotional symptoms. There's no risk of harm if a remedy is incorrectly chosen and administered as it will just have no effect.
In particular rescue animals can experience a number of different issues and certain essences are prepared to help them deal with ones including nervousness, bereavement, aggression or shock.
Star of Bethlehem helps physically and emotionally traumatised animals and also gives comfort from shock.
Sweet Chestnut treats extreme mental anguish for animals who have reached their limit and given up or who have a long history of neglect and suffering.
For abandoned animals who may be disinterested in food or chronically sad, Wild Rose can help to remedy resignation and apathy.
Rock Rose helps to restore courage, bravery and calmness in animals that show signs of extreme fear and terror.
Red Chestnut will restore confidence and trust in others as well as provide calmness in emergencies.
Normally beginning to work with a couple of days, these essences can be given for long periods of time safely and can be added to food or water. The dose rate can vary depending on the size of the animal being treated, for example dogs are usually given four drops whilst horses between 10-15 drops.
I managed to speak to Emma Styles the owner of Blue Sky Natural Vet - a Veterinary Acupuncture and Holistic Medicine in London about why she chose to use alternative therapies. She told me that after working as a conventional vet for 10 years she found herself at time disappointed and disillusioned with the results of traditional medicine, especially for long term problems.
As well as using the Flower Remedies, she also chooses a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbs and diet that best suits the animal's pattern. When deciding on the Flower essence she uses the Bach remedy guide and diagnoses the descriptions of emotional imbalance of the animals after examining them and also after carefully questioning the owner.
One patient included a seven-year-old neutered cat travelling overseas on a long haul flight as his owners were relocating. Emma used the flower remedies as she wanted something to address the cat's emotional state and the owner had specifically requested this therapy. She used Impatiens, Vervain and Walnut for protection from change before the flight and Walnut, Star of Bethlehem, Aspen, Mimulus and Honeysuckle for the journey itself.
The result - a happy cat travelling to a new home!