Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Rider's Wednesday -- Self-Medication?

You never know who's going to be reading you, or what they'll want to know. Case in point, I received this e-mail earlier this week:

I am researching on cases of animals finding their own herbal remedies when sick. I remember reading about this years ago, a wild horse eating alot of sweet violets which seemed to cure a tumour.

Also my sister's terrier when sick with colitis, always went in the garden and ate lots of wild geranium. If you have any leads for me on this subject I would be most grateful.

I am NOT proposing to treat animals, this is a research project in instinctive self-medication.

Interesting, n'est ce pas?

While the concept of animals knowing just what herbal remedy they need to cure what ails them sounds fabulous, I'm afraid it borders on the "too-good-to-be-true." If animals instinctively knew what was good for them, dogs wouldn't drink antifreeze, mice wouldn't eat rat poison, cats wouldn't eat said mice, and horses wouldn't gorge themselves until they colicked and died.

That's my considered opinion. But I could be wrong. Does anyone have good credible or -- better yet -- documented evidence to the contrary? Let me know and I'll post it here.