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Rectal Administration of Herbs

- By Cyndria Schafer, DVM, CVA

Author: Chi Institute/Thursday, April 1, 2010/Categories: Student Case Reports, TCVM Newsletter, 2010 Spring Issue

Bodhi is a nine year old spayed female Rottweiler weighing 83 pounds.  Her owner brought her in for listlessness and severe abdominal distension.  Two months earlier she had gone to another veterinarian for lack of stools, passing gas, burping and severe abdominal distention.  At first that vet thought she had bloat.  After taking radiographs and seeing her enormously enlarged stomach filled with opaque spots, he took her to abdominal surgery expecting to find malignant nodules.  Instead, he found her stomach was engorged with food.  Biopsies of her gastric mucosa near the pylorus diagnosed, “Enteritis, lymphocytic and eosinophilic, mild with edema and congestion.”   Now she had the same symptoms and the owners did not want to repeat surgery.  She also had a history over the past year of belching, borborygmi, and vomiting undigested food when she was stressed (moving, alone or when the female owner was away).  

Since nothing was passing through her stomach, I did not give her anything orally but attempted acupuncture and had the owners massage her from CV 12 to CV 8.  No change.  With Dr. Xie’s suggestion, the next evening I administered Happy Earth rectally.  Bodhi was given 7 grams by rectal enema twice a day (with the option 5 grams three times a day instead).  After receiving the first enema she passed gas that evening and had a large dry stool the following morning.  After the second (morning) enema, she passed an extremely large amount of stool.  She had two more rectal enemas and then we changed to oral administration and allowed her to eat pureed food until the stool was normal.  Five days later the owner reported Bodhi was, “Doing better that she had in a long time.”  She had great energy, was walking well (had been stiff before) and passing several small soft well-formed stools on pureed food.  She continued with the Happy Earth orally (4 grams twice a day for a month) and slowly returned to a fresh, non-pureed diet.  She is doing better than before this happened.  

Administering herbs rectally is a great option when animals will not take herbs orally.  Use a high dosage and expect results within 24-48 hours.  If there is not a significant positive change, re-evaluate the animal and the herbal selection.  

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