Just as with conventional medicine, homeopathy can be used on several levels. If a dog is itching, you can temporarily alleviate the symptoms with antihistamines or anti-inflammatories. Or you can do a more in depth search to determine if there is a thyroid or allergic component to be treated. You can read a book on what homeopathic remedies to use for itching or buy a combination remedy labeled for “itching” (each company has a different combination of remedies in their “itch stop” combination remedy). Or you can look at the animal as a whole and choose the homeopathic remedy that most accurately matches all symptoms and characteristics. In this talk I will begin discussing selection of homeopathic remedies for specific problems. Then I will introduce the incredible potential available for healing when homeopathic remedies are actually selected to be “homeopathic” to a specific animal (or person), the principles and practicalities of taking this curative approach. Remember that homeopathy does not stand alone. The animal may need nutritional or other energetic support while healing with homeopathy.
CASE EXAMPLES OF SYMPTOMATIC TREATMENT
Fred, a basset hound, came to the clinic for scooting his rear. On examination, he had a prolapsed rectum. I cleaned off the rectum and asked a few questions about the puppy. Normally an outgoing dog, he had been hiding and a little cranky the day before the prolapse and had diarrhea 2 days before. He often would vomit after eating rich foods or garbage can scraps. He was being fed a raw food diet and had minimal vaccinations. These symptoms fit Nux vomica, which I gave at 200c potency. Within two hours the rectum was back, and the next day he was as playful and friendly as ever. Over the next 3 years, the rectum did not re-prolapse.
Jack, a 4-month-old Pekinese, had one testicle that had been retracted for 3 weeks. He had massive erections, mounted dogs a lot, had nice open nares, and loose joints. I gave the homeopathic remedy Clematis, 10M, and 2 weeks later the testicle was down and has stayed down for 5 months, to date.
Your first patient of the night has been hit by a car and is lying on the table. The first thing you notice is that as you approach, the dog looks in a friendly way towards you, but as you draw near, he growls, or shrieks, or withdraws clearly indicating an aversion to being touched. When you see this characteristic symptom and there is history of trauma, give a dose of Arnica. Then proceed with your examination and treatment.
When you walk into the next room, this dog is cowering and seems terrified of you, and the owner says that ever since being left in the basement accidentally, she has been that way. There you might start with a dose of Aconite for effects of fear and terror.
The next 3 patients are cats with bite wound abscesses. The first is timid and does not mind you palpating the area, which seems to be painless and has been oozing serum. You would start with Silica. The second cat seems fine until you touch the abscess, when he freaks out with the pain, so you give Hepar sulph. The third cat is drooling, and has red gums. The abscess is painful to the touch and has a foul odor. This cat might respond well to treatment with Mercurius vivus.
Interspersed with these “clear cut symptom” patients who have characteristics and generalities that seem to match one remedy, are many animals where you cannot select a remedy that you have confidence in, or where you realize immediately that there is not a clear cut picture with no characteristic symptoms and indistinct generalities (“well, she is sort of nice, occasionally mean & no temperature preferences & sometimes thirsty and has a doggy odor”). Initially, do not treat these homeopathically unless the owner requests, and then be ready to refer or consult if there is not a good response and the owner would like to pursue homeopathic treatment.
The key shift that must be made is to treat the individual animal, not merely the disease. Even when treating an acute problem, and using a list of 2 – 10 remedies, we will have difficulty choosing from the list if we forget to find something unique about the patient to match to one of the remedy choices. Then, if the first selection does not help the animal, we can either say, “Oh, homeopathy does not work because the animal is worse,” or “I need to look again for what is unique about this animal, what new symptoms have appeared and choose a different remedy, go to another modality or conventional drugs.”
HISTORY OF HOMEOPATHY
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann began the science of homeopathy in the early 1800s and his understanding and guidelines have been followed since then. From his observations of sickness and recovery, and writings from the earlier physicians, he posited a vital force that would produce symptoms in the body to heal its energetic imbalances. He realized that symptoms are good – they are the attempt of the body to heal itself (Fevers increase white blood cell production and interferon). They are also good as indicators to evaluate the health status of this unseen energy field. The goal then is to treat the vital force so it no longer has to produce uncomfortable symptoms and can live a long, happy life. For the acute conditions you will initially be treating, the goal is still to match the vital force. You find remedies that can help the current condition, then match the unusual characteristics of the animal to one of those remedies. Dilutions of herbs, minerals and body substances were, and are, given to healthy people (Provings). The provers take repeated doses until they experience any different sensations, feelings, aches, pains, and any other changes at all. These are carefully recorded by the “prover” and compiled with detailed questioning by the doctor conducting the proving. When an ill person or animal enters the examination room, the doctor asks about the current complaint in great detail and how anything has changed since the illness began. This includes preferences, personalities, fears and more. Like cures like is the basic principle, for when you successfully find the correct match, the animals is cured. Hahnemann and his medical doctor followers did treat animals with homeopathy since a person helped with homeopathy would, and still does, ask for help with the other members of their family, including livestock and pets.