Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

Annual artemisia, an herb relative of wormwood/absinthe, may be as valuable for treating  malaria and lyme disease  as the current commercial drugs. Now there is research showing a similar benefit from berry and herb constituents against gastroenteritis pathogens such as giardia.

One year at the time of the race in The Pas, Manitoba, Jack Meakin’s dogs were sick. So sick that I recall he decided not to race. In the early 1980’s I guess this happened and could have contributed to  Jack selling his leader William to Peter Norberg, the dog crucial to Peter’s later success. This was when the canine parvovirus first appeared on the scene. Some later suggested the virus might have been accidently created by the drug companies’ vaccine experiments and it appeared the virus striking down dogs was startling similar to the existing feline distemper/panleukopenia virus. The small benefit was that the cat vaccine might confer moderate protection to dogs.

The following week in Prince Albert one of my yearlings on the dog truck came down with severe enteritis. I went to the local veterinarian who had already developed a treatment protocol for this new disease. He insisted that the virus did not kill dogs, it was the opportunistic microbial infections that prevented the intestine lining from healing, leading to dehydration and death. Since the intestine villi could repopulate in three days, the idea was to use a stomach tube to keep the GI tract filled with a mixture of cooked rice and electrolytes for three days by which time the dog should recover. It worked!

In later years before we had effective vaccines (and in the interim periods when the earlier vaccines seemed to be ineffective) we sometimes used flagyl to treat parvo puppies. I gotta say that flagyl is bad news. Perhaps it is still the best human remedy for giardia but fenbendazol seems to be more effective for dogs with less adverse effects. Flagyl can cause CNS damage and hallucinations.

When I read the following article I was reminded of those years of parvo panic and paranoia. Also because this afternoon I was reclaiming wire mesh from the trial raised puppy runs I built in that era but now needed to protect my garden from free range predatory laying hens.

Differential effectiveness of berry polyphenols as anti-giardial agents

In this study cloud berry (aka lakka/hjortron) and blackberry were among the fruits showing the greatest anti-giardia action.


“Garlic extract inhibits G. duodenalis trophozoite growth in vitro and >

*treatment with garlic extract can reduce clinical signs and symptoms more rapidly than metronidazole, the current drug of choice…

In conclusion, this study has confirmed that berry polyphenols can influence Giardia survival in vitro and suggests that ellagitannins are most effective. Tannin-rich preparations may also have efficacious effects on diarrhoeal symptoms often associated with Giardia infection. Unlike many plant sources of anti-giardial agents, berries are a natural and *palatable foodstuff and therefore have few issues with toxicity, side effects or acceptance. However, further work is required to uncover whether these in vitro effects described here can be transferred to the in vivo situation and contribute to giardiasis treatment.”

*My comment: most dogs have no problem with palatability or.acceptance of garlic; they love it. For those who may be skeptical of garlic in dog food, read the article in the following link:


(Sorry, had posted the wrong link earlier; now is the correct link related to garlic.)