With the consensus of opinion veering more and more to the belief that side effects of the ‘wonder drugs’ of the 21st century can often do more harm than good, which is odd considering the first tenet of all medics is to “first do no harm”, more and more people are turning to alternative or complimentary treatments for themselves, their families and of course their animals. One of these complementaries is Homoeopathy.
I have been using and supplying homoeopathic remedy’s for over 20 years now so with the little knowledge I have gained, and it really is the tip of the iceberg, here is a brief look at this intriguing subject. I will mention a few remedies and their uses to whet the appetite of the enthusiastic reader. Some relevant wording from other authors is included and they have been given full credit for their work so you can do further reading as you wish. I shall not go into how homoeopathy began, or the principles and practices per se as there are plenty of excellent books available for those interested enough to look more deeply into this fantastic form of healing. I urge anyone with any interest in healing without side effects, to look into this truly lifesaving and life enhancing subject.
So to begin - What is homoeopathy?
Homoeopathy is an exceptionally safe form of medicine that treats the whole individual not just signs and symptoms. It is just as concerned with the maintenance of good health and aiding recovery and as with all forms of medicine - even those which use powerful drugs and high technology surgery - relies for its effects on the body’s own powers of self-regulation and self-healing. “ It has benefited millions of people and animals, young and old, from all walks of life, in countries all over the world.” Excerpt from The Family Guide to Homoeopathy by Dr Andrew Lockie - ISBN 0-241-13572-9
The most important point to remember when it comes to treating homoeopathically is that it does not suppress symptoms like conventional medicine, nor is it habit forming or have toxic side effects. It can be safely used in the unborn, the very young through to the very old as well as the seriously infirmed and may be given alongside many conventional medicines without interfering with their action whilst often enhancing the action. However, the same cannot be said of the reverse. In particular, the use of steroids and antihistamines can reduce or stop the effects of homoeopathy and if the patient has been on either of these long term then they should advise their practitioner/supplier so that suitable measures can be taken.
Homeopathic remedies are different from conventional drugs in several ways. Because they preserve the “energy” or “vibration” of the substance they are made from it is important to preserve this by storing and handling them correctly. When this is done the remedy remains effective for many, many years. Remedies made by Samuel Hahnemann in the late 1700’s are still effective today. Now that’s what I call a shelf life!
Do not store homeopathic remedies in the kitchen or bathroom where they can be affected by heat or steam. Instead, keep them in a cool, dark place that you know will be dry, ie., in with your clean undies. They should also be kept away from sunlight, fluorescent light, power lines, electrical appliances, cell phones, computers, microwave ovens, and fuse boxes all of which emit their own ‘energy’ or frequency and can interfere with the remedy ‘signature’. Taking them on holiday is fine and can be a great help for ‘Spanish tummy’ or insect bites etc.,.in exotic places. When going through the security check you should ask that they be visually inspected rather than going through the x-ray machine as these too can disturb the remedy. Cards which request this are available for you to show at airports and ports etc. and repeats the message in several languages including Mandarin! Keep remedy containers tightly closed when not in use.
How can something so diluted be effective?
The alleged strength of extremely dilute solutions is one of the paradoxes of homeopathic medicine. Critics argue that a solution so dilute that it contains no chemically measurable trace of the ingredient on the label can’t have an effect on anything and that homeopathy must be a hoax, or its cures are caused by the placebo effect, or its satisfied patients are under the spell of a mass delusion. Homeopathy’s basic premise simply doesn’t make sense to Western physicians.
But it does make sense to many biophysicists and other research scientists.
Medical journalist Lynne McTaggart is author of The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe, a review of recent scientific investigations of energy. She learned that conservative medical researchers studying the behavior of water had, without realizing it, discovered that homeopathy’s underlying premise that dilution increases a solution’s strength is not science fiction but a fact of nature.
In studies conducted between 1985 and 1989, Dr. Jacques Benveniste, a French physician and allergy researcher who knew nothing about homeopathy, repeatedly found that when antibodies (anti-IgE molecules) were diluted in water, the resulting solutions inhibited dye absorption just as full-strength solutions did, even when there was no possibility of a single molecule of the original substance in the solution.
Although the potency of the anti-IgE molecules was at its highest in early stage dilutions and then fell through successive dilutions, the experiment’s results changed abruptly at the ninth dilution. From then on, the IgE’’s effects increased with each dilution. “As homeopathy had always claimed,” McTaggart writes, “the weaker the solution, the more powerful its effect.”
“Two dogs have itchy skin and small open sores on their legs. Or they both have a fever or a trauma injury or infected ears.
One goes to a conventional veterinarian and receives antibiotics, steroids, or other symptom-suppressing drugs. The other goes to a veterinary homeopath, who studies the dog’s symptoms and asks all kinds of questions about his behaviour and actions while looking things up in a book or computer. The homeopath selects a remedy, gives the dog a single dose, and instructs the owner to wait, watch, and report back.
The remedy is chosen not because it reduces or eliminates the dog’s symptoms but because by itself, when given to a healthy patient, it actually produces those same symptoms. And the remedy is so dilute that it contains not a single molecule of the substance on the label.
Welcome to the world of homeopathy, one of the most interesting and controversial alternative therapies and forms of ‘energy medicine.’ Does it work? Is it a fraud? Is it safe? Are you and your dog good candidates for this approach to healing?”
So begins a very informative article by CJ Poutinen in the December 2007 edition of Whole Dog Journal .com a monthly guide to dog care and training on line. Well worth a look for all things dog.
Lets take those questions one by one.
Does it work?
Well, from my experience and that of my clients I can say categorically “Yes it does.” Many doubters will cite the ‘placebo’ effect as the reason for success. The patient takes a pill or some liquid medicine and therefore they ‘believe’ it is going to make them well and so, they get well. So called ‘Mind over matter’ but tell me, how do you explain to an ailing animal that the little pill or the drops you are about to administer is going to stop its leg from hurting or make the nasty skin rash go away or stop the painful diarrhoea? Animals do not speak our language and try as we may we cannot explain to them that we are giving them medicine to heal them. Often within minutes of giving a remedy you can see a difference. Even if initially it is only in the animals demeanor, more relaxed, breathing rhythmically or just an ‘at ease’ look in the eye. Sometimes it takes longer, up to 2 weeks before the lump or other signs or symptoms begin to clear but generally as the animal begins to heal itself there is an ‘air of well being’ about them. The problem is being ’pushed out’ not suppressed and therefore the patient will begin to feel its body healing from the inside out. It is very obvious if you are observant and know your animals well. It is then that you know healing is taking place.
If you use a homoeopathic remedy and it has been ill chosen you will get little or no healing response. Imagine the remedy as a piece of jig saw puzzle and the dis-ease being treated as the rest of the puzzle. The remedy piece has to fit exact to get a cure. If it almost fits there will be improvement but symptoms will remain or change and if it doesn’t fit at all then there will be no change at all. Hence many people saying they had ‘tried it but it didn’t work’. It is usually that the remedy was incorrect for that patient, or the potency or dosage frequency was wrong.
Is it a fraud?
Well not if it works and it does. However, not everyone prescribing remedies know what they are doing. It takes a great deal of skill and knowledge to chose the best remedy for each individual and so it is advisable to go on recommendation from others when looking for a reliable homoeopath or supplier.
Is it safe?
Unreservedly yes. There is never any reason to fear the use of homoeopathy. However, whilst it does not produce side effects, toxic reactions or dependancy it can in some rare cases cause a ‘proving’ or ‘healing crisis’.
The “healing crisis” Homeopathic treatment often includes a “healing crisis,” in which the patient gets worse before getting better. Just how much worse the patient becomes is a subject fraught with confusion and controversy. The healing crisis, if it occurs at all, usually manifests within a week or two of treatment, but it can occur within a day. And sometimes, it can give rise to symptoms that seem far more dramatic than the dog’s original health problem - although, it is suggested, these symptoms should resolve quickly. When the dog’s condition is accurately diagnosed and the correct remedy is used the healing crisis, if there is one at all, should be minor. We try not to disturb it because it’s like a skirmish, a small battle, between the patient’s ‘vital force’ or immune system if you like and the disease. The remedy comes in and triggers a reaction from the vital force, and that’s when you may see a temporary worsening of symptoms. If that is the case here then I would expect these symptoms to ease off again within 24-72 hours. Continue with the remedy at the rate of just 1 pill per day. If however there is no easing of the situation after the above time then you would need to stop the remedy for a few days and see what happens. If you feel the symptoms are such that the patient is severely ‘affected’ then you can antidote the remedy by giving a teaspoonful of strong cold black coffee directly into his mouth. 1 dose is usually enough to antidote the remedies but more can be given, 3 or more per day if need be. You should then see a rapid subsiding of the healing crisis. However, this will mean starting the healing process all over again about a week later.
Animals and humans
It is also worth remembering that unlike conventional medicine humans can share their homoeopathic remedies with their animals and vice versa. So if the 2 of you have similar symptoms ie., joint stiffness, pain, that is better for movement, then you can both use Rhus tox or if worse for movement then Bryonia. The dose is the same whatever age or species. 1 pill = 1 dose.
When puppies and children begin teething several symptoms can occur and Chamomilla is the first remedy that comes to mind. Epileptiform fits can be bought on by teething and it is known that Chamomilla can stop these quite easily. Many apparently unrelated symptoms can also occur with teething such as colic, sore eyes and diarrhoea. These too can be readily dealt with by using homoeopathic Chamomilla. Even bad chewers have been known to ease up or stop with its use. Chamomilla is readily available from chemists, health food stores, Internet or homoeopathic suppliers and can be purchased as drops and pilules . Low potency is required here and I would suggest 3x - 5x as ideal. There will be instructions on the pack but generally speaking 1 pill or 4 -6 drops is a dose irrespective of age or size.
Giving more than 1 dose at the same time will not increase the effect, as happens with conventional medicine so if you gave 100 pills at the same time it is the same as giving 1 dose. However, if there was a time delay, even of a few minutes, between each dose then the effective will be increased. This would be used for a serious accident where there is shock and trauma to soft tissues and to the nervous system and bleeding, internal or external. Here the use of Arnica and Aconite would be given at the rate of 1 dose every 10 - 15 minutes or even every 5 minutes in very serious or near death situations. Shock is often the major killer in these incidents where actual injuries are minimal but the shock kills. In these situations Aconite can be a life saver. Use in high potency 200c up to 1M for best effect. By relaxing the patient the heart rate, breathing and circulation are normalised and this is often enough to save a life.
Arnica reduces bleeding and trauma to soft tissue, thus swelling and bruising are radically reduced and in turn pain is also reduced or stopped. It is not uncommon for an animal or even a human to walk into hospital with a broken leg or ruptured tendon and have the medic say there is nothing wrong. It is important to remember that if you or your dog have had an injury and used Arnica and Aconite to insist on a thorough examination and do not go home without that being done. A friend recently busted her Achilles tendon and walked into hospital to be told she had just a sprained ankle. She had heard the tendon snap so knew what was wrong. She insisted on a full examination and another doctor confirmed the tendon had snapped. She explained to the second doctor that she had been taking Arnica and he totally understood the lack of pain. She went on to heal the tendon back in place with the use of homoeopathy and a plaster cast. There was little atrophy of the leg muscles whilst in the cast as she also took Plumbum 12x to maintain the muscle density. This is a good remedy to use in any situation where a limb is inactive due to trauma.
As with any homoeopathic remedy there is no risk of overdose or any side effects.
Spots on tummies
These are something that many a new puppy owner can get concerned over. These spots usually occur when the puppy starts teething but can be present earlier. They are tiny red and raised, developing a yellowish head and cover the hairless tummy area and the groin. These are generally caused by bacterial infection and often erupt when the puppy is going on to a more adult diet and less milk. They dry and clear up on their own generally but some pups can get in a bit of a mess with them, especially if they are in a position where they can be scratched thus introducing bacteria. Conventional treatment is usually for antibiotics or creams being prescribed. This can be avoided with the use of Hepar Sulph 6c, it is known to clear them with no return. If any of the spots have become infected from puppy scratching then the Hepar Sulph 6c will clear that too. A topical application of Calendula Mother tincture is also excellent as it is for any surface wound.
This messy and potentially serious problem can occur at any age as well as during teething. Often when a puppy is bought to his new home a few days of loose motions are to be expected as he adjusts. As well as the stress of change of environment and people, differences in drinking water and change of food can also disturb the guts action. Water and green motions when a puppy is teething would indicate Chamomilla, while if it is pasty, non urgent and without pain then Merc Sol comes to mind. Parvovirus can also be a cause of severe diarrhoea and here the Parvovirus nosode 30c can also be employed to good use. DR Reckeveg combination remedy RV6 Diarrect is also very good and covers a variety of causes, it also included vomiting which sometimes accompanies diarrhoea. It is important to discover the cause of diarrhoea especially if it hasn’t improved/cleared within 72 hours. Homoeopathy was used to treat dysentery in Napoleons’ soldiers with great effect, saving many lives.
Homoeopathy can be used to treat mental symptoms too, such as grief. Ignatia ( sometimes combined with Opium) in high potency can make a huge difference for those suffering a loss. Don’t forget that the word ‘loss’ can cover not only the obvious, the loss of a partner, family member or family pet - not only from death but from moving out of the house. It also deals with moving house, divorce, loss of any kind, even a change of familiar vehicle can updset some dogs. So look at it from your pets point of view if it is ‘depressed’ or sad. What has happened to trigger the symptoms? This consideration should reveal the required remedy.
Staphisagria is the remedy of resentment and is used to great effect in those who have suffered abuse. So this combined with Ignatia could work well on dogs that have been rescued or re homed.
A combination of remedies have been put together to deal with the onset of bloat and many Newfy owners in particular can attest to the effective use of this in an emergency situation. It can give the precious extra time needed to get to the vet or it can alevaite the symptoms altogether. My own 8½ year old Newfy girl showed how well this can work when she torsioned. The x-ray clearly showed the torsion and while still on the x-ray table I gave the remedy. 10 minutes later when she was opened up the vet was amazed to see the stomach had re-rotated and she had no damage to tissues whatsoever. She had a belt and loop procedure and was back with us as though nothing had ever happened the following morning. Leading up to the torsion she had had Aconite which reduced the shock to her system so whilst in the vets it was difficult to tell she was anything but relaxed. This again helped to save her.
Remedies can be given as a once in a lifetime dose to breeding bitches and the resulting puppies will be stronger than any preceeding litter. This is called eugenic treatment and has a great deal to offer in the field of reducing and eradicating genetic problems.
For injuries nothing surpasses Arnica but if used topically it must not be used on broken skin as strangely it can prevent healing as it closes the capillaries off to stop blood loss. Calendula tincture is used in this case and Arnica given internally.
Hypericum is a great healer for nerve damage and should always be given with Arnica in cases of spinal injury. As a pain killer following abdominal surgery it is more effective than morphine with no side effects. I can personally attest to this following surgery. I had the morphine drip removed and went on to Hypericum 6c. I had no pain whatsover despite the nurses insistence that I ‘must’ be feeling pain.
Mineral 6x, a combination of Australian mineral ores, can reduce the build up of exostosis - arthritic overgrowth of bone and over time return it to normal; it works at the other end of the spectrum too where there is osteoporosis and brings the bone back to normal. It also eases or stops pain in arthritic joints. It can take a while for the x-ray picture to change but change it does. Again I have seen this for myself with Trooper when he ruptured a cruciate ligament and exostosis developed in his knee. By the time he was ready to be given the all clear there was less than 6 weeks worth of exostosis visible on a knee that had been damaged for 12 months. The specialist was amazed when he compared before and after x-rays.
There is nothing really that homoeopathy cannot help with one way or another. The art is in selecting the right remedy for the job and this can mean that several remedies have to be used during the healing process and the signs and symptoms move from one remedy picture to another as the organism heals. So always ask if something is available rather than assume it is too serious for something like homoeopathy to help.
I cannot leave this article without mentioning the use of Homoeopathic Prophylactic Nosodes.
A conventional vaccine contains protein, bacterial and viral particles, preservatives, neutralisers and carrying agents and toxins or an ‘adjuvant’ (a material, usually a poison, added to the vaccine to enhance local reaction, with the intention of bettering the resulting immunity). This was commonly mercury -no wonder there were so many adverse side effects - though much less so now but still includes the aluminiums, which is known to be toxic to animals and people. My dogs and human family have been ‘vaccinated’ homoeopathically for 20 years as have hundreds of thousands of animals and people around the world. The result is a very strong immune system that is un-compromised by unnecessary yearly vaccination of poisons.
I am not advocating that no vaccination should take place but in my view and that of many, many vets and doctors etc., it should be done only if the organism is at risk. A minimum age would be 6 months and when the course is complete no further conventional vaccine should be given unless there is proof positive that immunity is impaired. I do not intend here to go into the vaccination scandal that exists today except to say that there is now excellent independent research that shows animals do not require yearly or even three yearly vaccination and that it is positively dangerous to do so. When your vet next advises that your dog is due for its yearly ‘booster’ try asking if he/she has read the report from the American Animal Hospital Associations report (2003) This shows clear evidence that immunity in most cases lasts in excess of 7 years! Or that Prof. Hal Thompson’s study ( Veterinary Record April 10th 2004) that shows boosting an already immune animals does not further increase the level of immunity. Or is he/she aware that it is scientifically proven that immunity does not depend on the presence of antibodies. That the side effects of excessive vaccination is carried over to the next generation and that a major cause of auto-immune disease is due to over vaccination.
For those who would like to know more on this subject please look at www.alternativevet.co.uk for general information and for the result of research carried out by Dr. Ronald Schultz, a leading authority on veterinary vaccines and Chair of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison, on the long term effects of vaccination and conferred immunity. Due to the severe adverse effects known to occur with the rabies vaccine, such as auto-immune diseases affecting the thyroid, joints, blood, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system; anaphylactic shock; aggression; seizures; epilepsy; and fibrosarcomas at injection sites The Rabies Challenge Fund has been set up. Co-trustee Kris Christine says “Because the USDA does not require vaccine manufacturers to provide long-term duration of immunity studies documenting maximum effectiveness when licensing their products, concerned dog owners have contributed the money to fund this research themselves. We want to ensure that rabies immunization laws are based upon independent, long-term scientific data”.
Although we do not (as yet) require yearly rabies vaccination in the UK, with the pet passport requirement for this vaccine the study will be important for pet owners here so if you want to know more log on to www.RabiesChallengeFund.org
If you feel you really must have conventional vaccine then the use of Thuja 30c, 1 dose half an hour before and 1 immediately following vaccination can help prevent any side effects.
Those who have had an adverse reaction from swellings at the injection site to a break down of the immune system then homoeopathic remedies can be used to detox the organism and restore health. Again I have seen first hand the effects of this several times and it really is amazing to watch a puppy recover from what appears to be an untenable situation.
Newborn puppies can be protected with the Kennel Cough nosode should an older dog bring it into the household. It is not effected by the passed-on immunity from the mother so works very well. In fact, it can be given to the mother who will then pass it on to her pups via her milk.
There are a great many good books available on this fascinating subject but one of the best with regard to animals/dogs is by Homoeopathic vet Christopher Day. It is called The Homoeopathic Treatment of Small Animals - Principles and Practice. Published by C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd, it costs around £10.95 in paperback format ISBN 0 85207 216 3. This can be ordered through any good book store or from www.edirectory.co.uk/book
Remember all vets practising homoeopathy have to have completed their conventional veterinary training and be a qualified vet BEFORE they can treat animals with homoeopathy.
The book contains enough to get you started touching as it does on the history of homoeopathy, its priciples and of course its use. There is a useful materia medica and some interesting case histories. But more than this you can look up a specific symptoms. For instance, turn to page 81 and you will find a wonderfully explicit list of types of diarrhoea ie Pasty, spluttery, explosive, bloody frothy etc., etc. From these descriptions you can isolate the type your dog has and the remedy is clearly indicated alongside the description. This was my very first book on homoeopathy. It is one to dip in and out of as you wish and you will certainly learn a great deal from just this one volume.
There are homoeopathic treatment books for cats, horses, pigs, cattle, birds etc. A quick search on the internet will give you plenty to chose from.
I hope this little taster has given you the incentive to take a closer look at homoeopathy for your dogs and the rest of your family, animals or humans.