Veterinary Botanical Medical Association founded

Published on February 15, 2002
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Courtesy of the PDR for Herbal Medicine–Thomson Medical Economics
Courtesy of the PDR for Herbal Medicine – Thomson Medical Economics

The Veterinary Botanical Medical Association was founded recently to encourage international interaction among veterinarians, herbalists, pharmacologists, botanists, and educators. Its ultimate goal is to increase the safety and efficacy of botanicals used in animals.

Internationally, animal owners are showing increasing interest in herbal medicines to treat their pets. Much of this usage of herbs is unsupervised, and myths and misinformation abound. Some products on the market have little or no efficacy, dosage recommendations may be inappropriate, products may have harmful contaminants, and some contain substituted herbs for the ones listed in the ingredients.

At the same time, botanical medicine can benefit animals with otherwise difficult clinical conditions. Both veterinarians and clients must be informed and educated as to the benefits, proper usage, and correct dosages of botanical medicines.

Officers are Drs. Ihor Basko, Kapaa, Hawaii, president; Huisheng Xie, Gainesville, Fla., vice president; Heather Skilling, Enosburg Falls, Vt., secretary-treasurer; and Susan G. Wynn, Woodstock, Ga., executive director.

VBMA is dedicated to promoting responsible herbal practice by encouraging research and education, strengthening relations with the industry, keeping herbal traditions alive as valid information sources, and increasing professional acceptance ofherbal medicine for animals. The association alsoemphasizes herbal-drug interactions that may help or hinder the outcome of treatment.

Other goals of the VBMA are to provide continuing education, field trips, and clinical forums for interested professionals, and to study established herbal training programs to develop standards of certification for professionals. The VBMA wants to encourage ethical clinical research in veterinary herbal medicine, institute "an official and transparent" reporting system of adverse reactions to herbs, and represent member veterinarians and herbalists as political and professional issues arise.

The VBMA anticipates exploring cultural traditions, such as traditional Chinese medicine, Greek/Western herbalism, and Indian Ayurvedic medicine for their proper application in modern veterinary medicine, and compiling databases of existing herbal uses, advances in ethnoveterinary medicine, and, eventually, a library.

Another goal is to network with manufacturers to cultivate an expert body for advice and dialogue about quality control. Membership in the VBMA is open to veterinarians with an interest in practicing safe, effective herbal medicine. Nonveterinarians with certified experience in herbal medicine may join as associate members.

For more information on VBMA services and membership, visit, or contact executive director, Dr. Susan G. Wynn, at s [dot] wynnatmindspring [dot] com.