Bugs such as bacteria and viruses as well as parasites such as fleas and worms are common in the lives of our animals and in fact, many of these unwanted residents live normally on or in the bodies of our animals.

With any infection, there are two main factors allowing for progression. Firstly, the susceptibility of the host (animal,) and secondly, the virulence (ability to cause disease) of the bug. Whilst there are some infections where the bug is extremely virulent, more commonly these days we see infections that arise from bugs which are common residents. This has a huge amount to do with the immune systems of our animals not coping as well as they should.

From a Holistic Viewpoint, the presence of an infection is the tip of the iceberg, underlying this is the big question of why is the body out of balance and not managing to maintain health so that it naturally repels bugs and parasites.

Stress of any kind will impair the body's ability to heal and limit an animal's general vitality. Limiting stress by avoiding stressful situations such as overcrowding or adverse weather conditions and making use of remedies such as Emergency Essence or Rescue Remedy will go a long way to supporting the immune system indirectly.

To allow for the body's inherent healing wisdom to function optimally and do what it does best (heal!), there are three main tiers from which it draws its resources. Firstly nutrition, providing the good fuel, secondly the healing mechanism must be running smoothly, and thirdly the presence of toxins will act as "spokes in the wheel" of healing. An analogy would be running a car; you may put in all the best fuel but if the engine is faulty or it is clogged up with waste then it won't run smoothly or go at all.

As always, good nutrition of as much raw, natural food as possible that is free of chemicals and preservatives as well as high in optimal amounts of nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids and anti-oxidants can make a huge difference to the body's ability to naturally combat infection.

Extra nutrients such as Vitamin C and Grapeseed extract are superb at helping to boost the body's defences as well as mop up damage caused by free radicals (which cause cell damage) and thereby allow the body's resources to be freed up to support healing and maintain health. Intra-venous vitamin C, used by your vet can work wonders to assist in severe infection.

Herbs such as Golden Seal and Garlic have superb anti-microbial properties and Echinacea used as a preventative aid for a week or two at a time can work wonders to help ward off infections.

Homeopathy is also a wonderful tool and is best used under the guidance of a qualified homeopath for an individual's specific requirements. However, complex formulations can be easily applied in high risk situations such as in catteries or kennels to assist in preventing infection.

Therapies such as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, NIS, Bowen Therapy, Acupuncture, Massage and many more can also be very supportive tools to assist the body's natural defences.

All in all, and as usual, by respecting natural principles, infections may be easily prevented and resolved adding quality of life and increasing longevity.