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Ciara Handley

Chinese Herbal Medication Administration

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Administration of granules:

Herb granules can often be easily mixed into canned or home cooked food, or into a special treat that your pet enjoys.  Start with small amounts at first (1/8 tsp) mixed into food, then gradually wean up to the prescribed dose.  To mix with dry food, the granules can be placed in an empty pepper or herb shaker bottle, then sprinkled onto their dry food, similar to mixing spices onto popcorn.   Some pets prefer a small amount of water mixed into their dry food which will allow the herb granules to adhere to their dry kibble.  Often your pet will eat their food as usual and not know they are receiving their medicine this way.

Commercial “Pill Pockets” are available from us.  These are tasty, soft, hollow treats that can be filled with the herb granules that many pets will enjoy eating. You can also learn how to make these yourself!

For pets that are sensitive and discerning, the granules can be placed inside gelatine capsules available from us, and then given to your  pet by opening their mouth, placing the filled capsule at the back of their tongue and then closing their mouth gently to encourage them to swallow.  About 2 to 3 mL of water should then be gently syringed into your pet’s mouth to help the capsule pass down the esophagus well.  Afterwards, reward your pet with petting, praise, playtime or a special treat for positive reinforcement.

Another way to help encourage dogs to accept the herb formula is to ‘butter’ a small (1/8 of a whole) piece of whole wheat tortilla or corn tortilla or whole wheat pita bread with organic coconut oil, then sprinkle the herb over coconut oil.  Then, roll up the tortilla or pita, and let the dog enjoy this fun treat.

Alternatively, the granules can be mixed with 1 to 3mL of water or pure maple syrup, honey, corn syrup, tuna water, chicken broth or other type of meat broth, and syringed into your pet’s mouth to encourage them to accept them.  Be certain not to use artificial sweeteners as they can be hazardous to pets.

Administration of herbal tinctures:

Try mixing the prescribed herbal tincture into your pet’s food, or mixed with a special treat that your pet enjoys such as cooked meat, fish, peanut butter, cheese, canned plain pumpkin, or a recommended food, or a “Pill Pocket”.

For pets that will not eat food mixed with the tincture, we can provide gelatine capsules that the tincture can be mixed in.

Administration of herbal tablets:

Tablets can be crushed and then mixed with food or a treat or placed whole inside a “Pill Pocket”.  If your pet will not eat them this way, you can open your pet’s mouth, place the tablet at the back of their tongue and then gently close their mouth to encourage swallowing.  2 to 3mL of water should then be gently syringed into your pets’ mouth to help the tablet pass down the esophagus well.

“Pet Pillers” are helpful for some pets.  They are devices available from us that hold the pill so it can be easily placed at the back of your pet’s tongue.  A trigger is then activated which releases the pill, and your pet’s mouth then needs to be gently closed to encourage swallowing. Some of the “Pet Pillers” can be pre-loaded with water to ease swallowing.

Homeopathic remedies:

If your pet will not eat the herb granules, liquid tinctures or tablets at full strength, we can make them into an homeopathic liquid that has very minor taste that may be easier to disguise into their food.

If your pet is having any abnormal symptoms after starting the herbal treatments, such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or decreased appetite, please discontinue the treatment and please contact us as soon as possible.

Please contact us if you have any questions or if you would like demonstrations on medicine administration.  Thank you!

Essential Oil Use During Acupuncture

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Dr Julie Schell BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, ACVCHM, CVC

I use essential oil therapy with almost every patient who receives acupuncture and chiropractic.
It not only helps relax the patient, but it helps prepare myself and my team (and my client, in
non-Covid times) who are in the room with the patient during acupuncture.

Aromatherapy (essential oil therapy) is very helpful in linking the emotional, spiritual, and
mental aspects of acupuncture to the physical needling.
Essential oils can also provide physical treatment as many of you have noticed that when
certain essential oils are applied, they can provide cooling, soothing, or heating effects? Often
during the hot summer months, application of peppermint oil is as powerful as air conditioning.
I have even seen it reduce fevers in pets. They can also improve circulation to an affected area,
moisturize dry skin, disinfect bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. The physical aspect is
obvious, but there is also a mental/emotional aspect to their benefits, including triggering the
limbic system, and providing a sense of calm in an anxious animal, or energization in a weak
It is important to note that I dilute the essential oils for use on dogs and cats. The dilution is 1
drop of pure essential oil added to 10 drops of a diluter oil, such as V6 from Young Living, or
plain virgin olive oil or liquid coconut oil or sweet almond oil. I like V6 because it is a
combination of six vegetable-based oils, therefore there is less possibility of reactions to the oils
as each of the diluter oil is in a lower volume. Another way to perform the dilution is 1mL of
pure essential oil to 10mL of diluter oil. The fragrance is still very recognizable, but less potent
than the original undiluted oil. The oils are stored in brown glass dropper bottles and I never
touch the pipette to the animal which improves cleanliness.
A little goes a long way. I only apply about 5 to 7 drops for large dogs, 5 drops for medium
dogs, and about 3 drops for small dogs, and only about 3 drops for cats. Pets have amazing
olfactory innervation. In fact, their sense of smell is often effectively with them throughout
their whole lives, unlike their sense of hearing and vision.
The type of oils chosen depends on the patient needs and TCVM diagnosis. Each essential oil
has different and unique properties. I highly recommend taking training using essential oil
therapy to help you decide what oils to use for each patient. I have taken courses by Dr Melissa
Shelton, and also CIVT and VBMA courses. Check their websites and you will find courses that
you can download for a fee. I also love reading about essential oils. Dr Melissa Shelton has
wonderful texts and articles on it.

Some people are nervous about possible side effects of essential oils. However, these side
effects are often myths propagated by online exaggerations.
This is an excellent article by Dr Melissa Shelton discussing safety of essential oils for cats:
The only time I do not use essential oil therapy is if a client asks me not to. Some people plainly
do not like the smell of essential oils. Thus, we always ask new clients if they are okay with
their pet receiving essential oils. We even ask new clients to sign a Complimentary Medicine
For more information, please check out:

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