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Dietary supplements: Having given your pet the best diet and the healthiest lifestyle you can, what specific supplements can you add to the diet to enhance the functioning of the immune system even more? Here are my top ten:

Zinc

Particularly seems to help where there are skin infections or other skin disease

Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium
These three vitamins together with the mineral Selenium act as potent anti oxidants to help keep the immune system functioning effectively

Di Methyl Glycine
This is an amino acid that helps boost the immune system in fighting bacterial and viral diseases.

Echinacea
This is a well known herb that has long been used as an immune system enhancer.

Immune Formula
This is a proprietary combination of the herb Astragalus, and the mushrooms Cordyceps, Maitake and Reishi. I’ve found this an excellent immune boosting combination.

Coriolus versicolor
This is another immune strengthening mushroom, which like those in Immune Formula, is a member of the Shiitake group of fungi. It is useful both in the treatment of persistent infections and of cancer too.

Manuka honey
Manuka honey has long been known for its anti infective properties. It can be taken by mouth or applied to any local skin infections. Make sure you use a high grade raw active manuka honey.

Although it is safe to use any of these natural supplements, the decision on which ones to use, dose rates, and length of time to administer can be confusing. The immune system is a complicated affair and guidance is usually needed when trying to strengthen its function. For instance, Garlic is another natural immune booster, but must be used carefully as, like all members of the onion family, it can potentially be toxic to pets. In practice, although onions themselves are definitely toxic, it is most unlikely problems would occur with Garlic unless a large amount was given for long periods, but I do recommend Garlic is not given as a supplement continuously – one week with, one week without, is a good regime.

Another example where advice may be needed is Colloidal silver. This is a commonly used anti infective agent, and can be helpful in cases of MRSA and other resistant infections. Silver is a proven anti infective substance – some wound plasters are now silver lined to keep wounds safe from infection. Colloidal silver can be applied to wounds directly, and can also be taken internally. However, there are several manufacturers of colloidal silver, and strength and quality varies considerably, so it is wise to take veterinary advice before using.

Author Richard Allport BVetMed, VetMFHom, MRCVS

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They move from the environment to people, from person to person, person to animal, or animal to person or environment – this is why cleanliness is important.

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