What is Inflammation?
Inflammation refers to any part of the animal body that swells. Inflammation can be slight – redness of an animal’s skin for example (due to a flea allergy, insect sting or dermatitis), or inflammation can be more severe – such as the swelling of an animal’s joints or hocks (in the case of dogs).
The areas of the animal body that are most commonly affected by swelling of tissues include the limbs, joints, skin, lymph glands, and internal organs. Inflammation is generally not cause for major concern and often occurs in warmer weather or as a result of superficial wounds – small cuts and scrapes. If swelling occurs throughout the animal body, this may be a sign of a long-term, progressive disease.
What Causes Inflammation?
General inflammation may occur as a result of any injury in the animal body, or an allergy. It can also be caused by scrapes, cuts, burns, abrasions and bruising. A variety of factors and medical conditions can cause swelling and these including malnutrition, pregnancy or as a result of surgical procedures.
Conditions that may contribute to inflammation in the animal body include:
Help for Inflammation
Treatment usually depends on the underlying cause of the inflammation. Excessive inflammation should be checked thoroughly at your vet. Conventional medications that are commonly administered by vets to minimize swelling include antihistamines (for allergy) or medications for swelling associated with arthritis such as EtoGesic, Rimadyl and Previcox.
However, these drugs may have side effects and aggravate other conditions. Fluid and sodium intake and output may also be monitored as well as your pet’s weight. If cuts, scrapes or burns develop on parts of your pet’s body that have swelling, healing may be prolonged and your pet may be prone to infection.
Natural and holistic treatments have long been used to address inflammation of skin tissues and structures in the body. Astragalus membranaceous (Huang Qi) has a beneficial effect on immune functioning while also being an excellent anti-inflammatory – effectively promoting the healing of wounds and injuries as well as chronic skin conditions.
Echinacea angustifolia reduces inflammation and inhibits growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi while Arnica is a highly respected ingredient in homeopathic medicine and has powerful anti-inflammatory and tissue healing properties. Calendula is highly effective in aiding post-operative recovery, reducing scarring and treating pain.