Milk thistle for dogs October 18, 2011
Milk thistle for dogs?

So far, up to today (October 18, 2011), there is only one scientific report on how milk thistle benefit dogs. Most studies
are done either in test-tube or in rats. Anyway, here is the summary of the report:

Drug-induced nephrotoxicity is an important cause of renal failure in dogs. Aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as
gentamicin, can produce nephrotoxicity in dogs, due to in part to an imbalance of pro- and antioxidants (oxidative
stress). Silymarin has potentially beneficial antioxidant properties. A control group was compared with dogs that were
administrated gentamicin by intramuscular injection, at dosage of 20 mg/kg, once daily for 9 days. The effects of
vitamin E (group 3) and silymarin (group 4) alone and in combination (group 5) were compared for induced
nephrotoxicity. Serum creatinine and urea concentrations were increased significantly and total serum antioxidants was
decreased significantly in group 2 compared with group 1. Serum creatinine concentrations but not urea
concentrations were significantly lower in groups 3 and 4 than in group 2. Serum malondialdehyde concentrations was
in group 4 (silymarin) than in group 2. Silymarin and vitamin E decreased gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity in dogs.
[DG1] Thus, milk thistle may offer health benefits to dogs.

Because of the similarity of the body structure of rats and dogs, most of findings from rats may applicable to dogs. If it
is really applicable, milk thistle may be used for the treatment of liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis, alcoholic
hepatitis, alcoholic fatty liver, liver poisoning, and viral hepatitis in dogs. Further, milk thistle may benefit dogs at risk of
different kinds of cancers such as bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer,
prostate cancer, tongue cancer and so on.  Milk thistle may also offer benefits to dogs at risk of diabetes and certain
neural disorders.

Similarly, milk thistle should appear to be safe and accepted by dogs at low doses. Cases of milk thistle side effects,
such as diarrhea may happen. For details of milk thistle health benefits and side effects, please, click
milk thistle

Milk Thistle Dosage for Dogs
Most supplements contain 50-500 mg of milk thistle extract (with silymarin content of about 80%) for human use.
Roughly, the dose should be proportionally decreased based on the body weight of the dog with reference to human
body weight of 60 Kg. Users should consult with the dog's doctor before feeding their dogs with milk thistle supplement.
DG1 Varzi HN et al, Effect of silymarin and vitamin E on gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity in dogs. J Vet Pharmacol
Ther. 2007 Oct;30(5):477-81.
Different people may experience different side effects and benefits of a product. You are encouraged to
report adverse side effects to FDA, its website is, or report the adverse side effects to the
manufacturer, you should be able to find the contact information on the label.

There are always new information. Please, send me an email ( to correct my mistake(s).
Reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document and the information provided herein is believed
to be accurate. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is
important to seek the advice of a physician about any medical condition or symptom or the benefits and side
effects of a supplement or a drug product. Finally, please, do not transfer the article to other website. Thank
Milk thistle is a flowering herb. Silymarin can be extracted from the seeds (fruit). The seeds are used to prepare
capsules containing powdered herb or seed; extracts; and infusions (strong teas).  Milk Thistle has been marketed as a
herbal supplement having a  protecting benefits on the liver, they claim milk thistle can even regenerate the liver cells in
most liver diseases such as cirrhosis (hardening of the liver), jaundice and hepatitis (inflammation of the liver),
cholangitis (inflammation of bile ducts resulting in decreased bile flow) or even liver intoxication.Traditionally, milk thistle
is commonly used for liver cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic fatty liver, liver poisoning, and viral hepatitis.

Milk thistle extracts are standardized to a concentration of 70-80% of flavone lignans including isosilybinin, silybinin,
silychristin, and silydianin, which are collectively called silymarin. Silymarin may play a role in displacing toxins binding to
the liver and causing the liver cells to regenerate at a faster rate.

Milk Thistle Benefits
Milk thistle silymarin has anti-inflammatory, cytoprotective, and anticarcinogenic effects. These effects are probably
related to inhibition of activation of NF-kappa B and the kinases. [7] Silymarin also has anti-oxidative effects. [9]

Milk thistle may have anti-microbial effects, as its ingredient silybin inhibited RNA and protein synthesis on gram-positive
bacteria. [8] Milk thistle and lecithin complex has anti-atherosclerotic activity in rabbits. [10] Thus, milk thistle may benefit
people at risk of cardiovascular issues. Milk thistle may also support patients suffered from cancers, as its ingredients
show anti-cancer activities. [11-36] Further, milk thistle may benefit people suffered from diabetes. [39, 40]

There are also some pieces of evidence that milk thistle have the protective effects for liver. A double blind study of 170
patients with cirrhosis demonstrated that a milk thistle extract treatment was effective on alcoholic cirrhosis. [44] Milk
thistle extracts retarded the development of alcohol-induced hepatic fibrosis in 12 baboons. [46] Milk thistle may have
injury healing effects, and these healing effects of milk thistle extracts on acute and chronic liver injury are probably
related to inhibition of leukotriene B (4) formation by silibinin. [47] For details, please, review
milk thistle benefits.