Propolis in Dogs: Clinical Experiences and Perspectives (A Brief Review)

Author(s):Nelly Tovar Betancourt, Lucila García-Contreras, Tonatiuh Alejandro Cruz Sánchez

Propolis in DogsIn light of the scarcity of novel therapeutic agents that are effective, the pharmaceutical industry has found a newer source of therapeutic compounds in natural products and herbal medicine to address the current health problems in humans and animals. What is particularly promising about these agents is that they produce fewer side effects and are more cost effective than synthetic compounds. This means greater availability of these treatments particularly for less developed countries who can’t afford expensive treatments. The reduced side effects also mean greater patient tolerance and increased compliance thereby yielding maximal therapeutic effect without negatively impacting on quality of life. Among the natural products more frequently employed nowadays is propolis, a resin that is routinely collected by bees (Apis mellifera). Propolis contains flavonoids, caffeic acid esters and diterpenic acids, which provide the bactericidal, antiviral and antifungal properties to this product. The use of propolis to address a variety of conditions in small animal species is beginning to play an important role in the currently available treatments. Its use appears to be an effective treatment with no side effects at low cost. This paper reviews the different applications of this compound to treat diseases in dogs.

1. Introduction

Since early ages, all living vertebrate species have interacted with pathogenic microorganisms that caused several disease states; at that time nature provided its own solutions to maintain balance in the environment. With time and observation, human beings were able to identify the therapeutic effects of available plants and natural resources and developed a form of medicine known as “natural medicine.” Natural medicine uses natural remedies for the treatment and prevention of disease states. Among the natural agents, propolis has been used in the treatment of disease. At the initial stages, the use of propolis in veterinary medicine was limited to antibacterial applications, but as time went by, newer applications were discovered for this product used by bees.

Propolis is a resin collected by bees from plants and trees in their surrounding environment. This product is used by the bees in order to close the combs inside of the hive, buttress the walls, and provide greater support to the hive’s panels. It is also used to embalm their natural enemies and dead bee bodies that are too large for the bees to remove from the hive. A major function of propolis is to protect the hive of infectious disease that threatens the colony [1] . In the process of collecting, transporting, and storing the propolis, the bees add enzymes that confer invaluable therapeutic properties in veterinarian medicine, but also in human medicine. The presence of flavonoid compounds, caffeic acid esters and diterpenic confers its bacteriostatic, bactericidal, antiviral and fungicidal properties to this product. This has been exhaustively documented in vitro and in vivo studies [2

] .

In veterinary medicine, propolis is used in a variety of circumstances as described below. For example, propolis is used as ointment to control mastitis in milking cows. In pig herds, it is used as a prophylactic agent for respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases by adding 5% propolis to milk. It is also used as a stimulant for the growth of under developing rams, pigs, and calves. Other uses can be as a prophylaxis to counteract typhoid fever in ducks, wounds healing, and as a local anesthetic for surgery. Notably, in the canine species, the use of propolis has had a number of effective applications that are reviewed below [2] .


Journal: Open Journal of Veterinary Medicine
DOI: 10.4236/ojvm.2015.51002 (PDF)
Paper Id: 53251 (metadata)

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