Acupuncture Continuing Education

Herbs Help Dolphin Overcome Ulcerative Stomatitis Lesions

Research published in the American Journal of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine documented that herbal medicine helped a bottlenose dolphin overcome ulcerative stomatitis. This study shows that dolphins benefit from herbal medicine.  A differential diagnosis was made of excess stomach heat and blood heat. An herbal formula was then powdered and put in fish that were fed to the dolphin. The dolphin showed significant improvements and no adverse effects occurred. 

The bottlenose dolphin had multiple ulcerative lesions in both the gingiva and hard palate. A combination of antibiotics and anti-fungal medications did not affect the condition. Based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis, an herbal formula consisting of Mu Dan Pi, Mai Men Dong, Xuan Shen, Di Fu Zi, Huang Bai, Sheng Di Huang, Chi Shao, Dan Shen and Yu Jin was prepared. The dose was 4 grams of powdered herbs placed in fish and fed to the dolphin at a rate of 2 times per day for 6 months.  

Nearly all lesions disappeared within 4 months and by 9 months all lesions resolved completely. The herbal medicine was discontinued but 4 months later a flare-up occurred. Another six months of the herbal formula was administered, however, a small number of lesions remained. Upon re-examination, stomach yin deficiency was added to the diagnostic pattern. The herbal formula was changed to Qing Wei San. This formula, translated as clear the stomach powder, consists of Huang Lian, Sheng Ma, Mu Dan Pi, Sheng Di Huang and Dang Gui. Qing Wei San clears stomach heat, cools the blood and nourishes yin. It is commonly used in TCM for the treatment of toothaches, bleeding gums, gingiva inflammation and bad breath. After six months, nearly all lesions resolved with the exception of a few on the mandible. 

Clemons-Chevis, Connie L., and Huisheng Xie. "Treatment of Ulcerative Stomatitis in an Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, with Chinese Herbal Medicine." American Journal of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine 8, no. 2 (2013).