Devil’s Claw – Good for your pet?

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When browsing around a good tack shop years ago, I found a liquid supplement called “Devil’s Claw” on the shelf – with it being a more unusual name, it caught my attention!  The labelling suggested that it may help with relieving stiff joints, and so I bought some – thinking that as Tara had recently been diagnosed with some “arthritic changes” it maybe helpful.   When I next saw my Veterinary Surgeon and asked her if she thought it maybe helpful, she said it might – so we tried it.

Other than knowing that it was some sort of natural product, I didn’t really know much about it though – but then when looking after our pets and animals, many of us will try lots of supplements and products to help them to be healthier and happier won’t we?!  In my posts I aim to share more information about the dozens of different therapies and holistic approach that there are to help animals, and this time I thought it would be useful to explain a little more about this plant.

So what is Devil’s Claw?  

It’s a plant native to desert areas of Africa – specifically the south and southeast of the continent.  People in these areas are thought to have had Devil’s Claw as a “tea” for hundreds of years, to help with arthritic ailments.

Today for using with animals, it’s usually found either as a liquid supplement or as a dried herb.  It’s horses who are the animals most likely to have it as a supplement.

Does it work with helping arthritis?

Devil’s Claw is thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect, and there has been research completed with humans to see if it does relieve arthritic pain, and this concluded that yes it can help – get more at Arthritis Research UK’s page.  For veterinary use though, there’s little clinical research/evidence to confirm whether it does help.

As with so many products – quality is essential!  There are different ways that a plant can be harvested and produced – this can make a difference to the effectiveness of the herb when it reaches your animal.  Using Devil’s Claw that is properly produced for maximum benefit for your horse or other animal is wise – many leading animal health supplement companies supply Devil’s Claw, and should be able to confirm the quality of their product.

Is it safe to use?

There are possible side effects with Devil’s Claw – as there can be with many other supplements…..so before using, it’s always advised to check with your Veterinary Surgeon first.  Specifically, it is usually advised NOT to use with pregnant mares, or if your horse is known to have gastric ulcers.  Also, caution should be exercised with animals who are on medication, or are taking other supplements.

If you compete your horse and need to worry about complying with anti-doping policies, it’s essential you check with your Veterinary Surgeon for clarity about withdrawal times.

Lastly……did it help Tara?

Yes I think so!  Tara had it as a supplement for several months, and it seemed to help….

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