A growing trend? New CPD offers insight into plant-based medicines - Veterinary Practice
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A growing trend? New CPD offers insight into plant-based medicines

As global demand for herbal medicines rises, Veterinary Herbal Training’s new CPD takes a close look at plant-based medicines and supplements and the science behind them

Veterinary Herbal Training has developed a CPD course to help veterinary surgeons and nurses give evidence-based information on the safe and appropriate use of plant-based medicines.

The new live, online CPD course, “Introduction to veterinary plant-based medicine”, will provide an understanding of commonly used herbs and the science behind the use of turmeric, cannabidiol (CBD) and other popular choices.

It takes place on 27 November 2023 and registration is open.

Over 50 percent of people believe herbal medicine is genuinely effective at treating illnesses and, anecdotally, this is increasingly reflected in veterinary practices, with owners requesting advice on supplements and plant-based treatments.

The global market for herbal medicines is growing rapidly and is predicted to reach US$248.6 billion by 2030. With owners increasingly treating dogs and cats as members of the family, the number seeking out complementary therapies for their pets also seems to be on the rise.

Vet and co-founder of Veterinary Herbal Medicine, Chelsea Dawson explains the issues: “Veterinary training on complementary therapies is often limited, and providing clients with blanket advice to avoid complementary treatments in favour of conventional medicines can create a disconnect between veterinary professionals and pet owners.

“A wealth of misinformation is available online, and with owners widely perceiving natural, plant-based products to be healthy and safe, a lack of clear guidance risks endangering pets.

“Use of poorly sourced herbal products, incorrect dosages or herbs that negatively interact with pets’ conventional medications or pre-existing diseases may all pose a risk.”

CBD, for example, is one topic covered by the course. Whether or not vets are keen to recommend CBD-based products, the ability to have constructive discussions about the current evidence can build trust with owners.

For vets who are keen to incorporate plant-based medicines into their practice, professional bodies advise they should be aware of the evidence for and safety of any supplements recommended, and should discuss this with owners.

Currently, integrative care – which can be defined as a whole-patient approach incorporating both conventional and complementary therapies – is still relatively rare in veterinary medicine. Veterinary Herbal Training was established by vets Anna Rodriguez and Chelsea Dawson to address this.

Having worked in companion animal practice in the UK for a combined total of over 30 years, using herbal medicines to supplement conventional healthcare, they’re keen to pass on their expertise.

Their new, one day course offers vets and nurses an introduction to commonly used plant-based medicines, looking not only at their suggested properties but also their safety and the science behind them.

Since qualifying from the Royal Veterinary College in 2003, Anna has completed certificates in veterinary herbal medicine, western veterinary acupuncture and chronic pain management. “Whether you’re keen to recommend plant-based medicines for your patients or not, it’s increasingly important to understand them,” she says.

“Owners are more aware of complementary therapies than ever, and they look to vets to guide them. They might not be right for every patient, but they can make a big difference to some.”

She adds: “It’s important for veterinary professionals to work with owners to see if their pets can benefit, while keeping them engaged with conventional healthcare.”

The “Introduction to veterinary plant-based medicine” course is designed for veterinary surgeons and nurses.

Online talks will cover a range of topics, including sustainable sourcing of herbs, the evidence regarding CBD, and the use of several commonly recommended herbs. The 6-hour course will be live on 27 November 2023 but will be recorded to watch again later.

For more information about the courses and to sign up, visit their website.

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