Milk Thistle Case, Topical Application on Golden Retriever

This case discusses the topical application of milk thistle, for a 7-year-old female golden retriever with a subcutaneous ‘bump’ of unknown origin. I conducted the case on my own golden.

Why did I choose to try milk thistle in this case?

Milk thistle is well researched, well documented and known for helping in cases of liver health, cancer, skin and more. In addition, the side effects and toxicity appear to be rare or limited. Due to this, I had relatively high confidence in using it without much concern about negative effects.

Further, quick story: I remember speaking with an animal herbalist years ago.  She related a story of using milk thistle on her own dog, who had developed a cancerous growth on her skin. Rather than doing surgery, chemo or drugs, she opted to apply milk thistle to the skin. This discussion happened around 2002, and I don’t recall all of the details about how long she applied it. But I do remember her saying that the results were positive, with the growth disappearing after repeated topical application of milk thistle.

So, with these pieces of information, I decided to try milk thistle in this case.

Case: 7-year-old golden retriever, visible subcutaneous bump, unknown origin.

I first noticed this spot in late November, 2023. It did not subside, but was getting slightly larger with time. I was growing concerned. Photo of the spot, circled:

milk thistle case

This is a photo from December 27, 2023.

I started the milk thistle application December 29, 2023.

Application method

I had milk thistle capsules available as I use it myself on a regular basis. I broke open a capsule and put the powder contents on a plate. I then mixed the powder with a small amount of water to create a paste. I demonstrate this in a short video you can see in my article, Milk Thistle for Liver, Skin and More.

I began applying to the spot twice per day. I put a bit of the paste on my fingertip and gently rubbed it into the spot.


Within 24 hours, I saw visible difference. The bump was noticeably smaller and less raised. However, and did not stop at that point. I continued topical application twice daily for a week, even though the spot appeared and felt normal at that point. Below is a photo of the area after my application procedure:


This is a demonstration of milk thistle’s potential usefulness for at least some skin problems. I do not know the origin of this specific problem, and I can’t draw a clear conclusion and cannot say there is a guaranteed connection between condition and solution. But the timing was quite remarkable. I continue to feel a growing sense of confidence in milk thistle’s use for numerous issues, and it may offer a gentler, natural approach with very few documented safety problems.

Further information and milk thistle sources

I opened my online supplement stores in response to requests from people, asking for guidance toward quality supplements. This is important, as unfortunately there are counterfeit products on the market. Those will have no benefit to your dog (or you), and may cause harm. You can read more in the Supplements section of my other website,

And as always, please visit my Services page for ways I can assist you and your dog.

Thank you,


Founder, Golden Retriever Diet & Dog Food Coach