Edward, I’ve been to your website and was impressed; you seem very accomplished! Would you like to be our next Homeopath in the Hotseat?
Yes of course! fire away.
Great! OK, Edward, prepare yourself for a stream of thought-provoking, challenging questions! Question #1. Who are you?
Ough … well.
I’m sorry, that wasn’t a very good answer. Let’s try this, what is your name, or, alternatively, what do you do?
My name is Edward De Beukelaer and I graduated as a ‘normal'(?) vet in 1986 in Belgium (Flemish speaking part of Belgium — like the Dutch language). I spent 18 months in the UK (Wales) before moving to France where I worked for 13 years in mixed practice. In 1990, out of frustration with lack of possibilities to offer to clients, I discovered homeopathy–first through reading a book, which I did not understand; but, it made me realise there was something else out there.
I then enrolled in a 4 year course in Paris organised by a group of homeopathic vets. I discovered a strange mixture of unicist, pluralist and complexist homeopathy and quibbles between the teachers. It was all very exciting and I felt there was something really sound I was learning but I could not sucessfully use the ‘different prescription techniques’ I was taught. I must have been very motivated because most of my colleagues who started at the same time abandoned the courses before their finish.
After these four years of homeopathy, I floated in nowhere-land for 18 months until I enrolled in a school in Belgium (CLH- French speaking). Many of the first year students were in the same boat as I was. But this time things started to make sense and my first successful prescriptions arrived soon! The technique I learned there was based on the Synthesis repertorisation (in English, to the disgust of many of my French colleagues) and ideas from Masi but watered down to a usable veterinay/human type of homeopathy. (3/4 of the school members are doctors 1/4 are vets). The head of school (Marc Brunson) is a vet who keeps a low profile but is a regular speaker in all French/Spanish congresses in Europe and Canada. His concept of using what is peculiar in the substance to create some understanding of the remedy (now very much represented in Vermeulen’s Prisma) has been very helpful to kickstart my grip on remedies.
Three years ago I moved to the UK where both my wife and I lost our hearts. I have taken on the occasion to establish myself as a classical homeopath.
Because I need to feed the family (5 children), I still work conventionally in a practice while my clientele slowly increases. In a way I like to keep in touch with conventional medicine. It has its own merits and can be used if this is in the interest of the patient. In my case, the patient cannot choose which type of medicine is presented to him. At the same time, this allows me to introduce homeopathy to people who are coming for conventional medicine. Although it is difficult to turn them completely alternative, successes make good publicity for the homeopathic cause. I am not against the use of conventional medicine (what really gets me cross is the widespread abuse and lack of respect). I am quiet happy for people to continue giving medicines to their animals until my prescriptions have proven that they can take over. This makes it more demanding on my prescriptions which I consider a good exercise. (Never forget: find what is strange, rare, peculiar, original in the patient, never forget, never forget, never…)
I don’t use much other non-conventional techniques. Homeopathy gives me enough to study, filling my evenings (and brain). Also, a good homeopathic prescription is often sufficient to help the patient if basic hygienic conditions are ok.
I discovered the Hpathy.com site a few months ago and take some pleasure in posting the odd comment.
So you’re a vet, then. Now Edward, I imagine you must feel at a disadvantage sometimes, as the Repertory is written for human beings; so, are you forever asking yourself, “Where do I find this animal symptom in the repertory?”
Yes and no. Although in veterinay homeopathy we listen to the owner, it is important to create a situation where they speak out freely so we can use exact words and phrases like in human homeopathy. In many cases it is only possible to use the mind symptoms as a confirmation or differential between other remedie(s) that have been selected based on modalities of physical symptoms. I think the trap of mental symptoms is the same in veterinary as in human medicine. I also make use of a thematic repertory (Loutan, Swiss homeopath, in French very Masi orientated and difficult to read but sometimes helpful following original remarks from owners). Recently I used Lac lupinum for a dog (with succes aparently, wait and see). The owner repeated at least three times during the consult that her dog had the look of a wolf when his occasional agressive/wild/strange behaviour/attitude came to the surface. He is normally a very well behaving, well educated golden retriever. Nothing very interesting came out of the consult. Because a similar disturbing wildness is present in one side of his family I thought that a milk remedy may well be of some use in this case. It is unusual for people to say that their dog has the look of a wolf where this animal has had a normal education. Since there was nothing else I thought this was worth a try. (I will let you know if the remedy works for more then a year, seriousness obliged.)
Anything goes, as long as you look for the unusual and rely on good sources.
Fears, sensitivities, “ailments from” can often be used. When characteristics like ‘anger’ anxiety and ‘restlessness’ can be modalised this can come very handy as well. Alternations and other modalities always come handy. Generally (I) we don’t use too many symptoms and search for the symptoms that stand out for any particular reason.
To illustrate the above I will have to make some publicity for myself: I have put a book together titled: Homeopathy. What to expect? It is written for the general public and contains an introduction explaining homeopathy. The second part will be more interesting for you: It is a compilation of 101 veterinary cases already published in French by 17 different homeopaths which I translated into English to illustrate the workings of classical (veterinary) homeopathy. Some of the cases are real gems. (I hope it will be out in the next following weeks.)
Can we shift gears and talk about my son, Larry, (a German Shepherd)? Larry died in 1988. He was a real sweetheart; the whole neighborhood loved him, but he had a strange trait: he did NOT permit rambunctious behavior between two adults! For example, if you and I were to laugh real loud and I were to slap you on the shoulder, Larry would leap up, run over to us and bark sharply, as if to say, “Stop that! You can’t do that! That was very bad!” And you would stop, needless to say! Another thing about Larry was, if you wanted him to do something, you had to ask politely! “Larry, would you please lie down? Thank you.” And I would always have to explain to people that you had to have manners or Larry wouldn’t like it. Actually, come to think of it, you couldn’t even hit yourself! If you laughed and slapped your own knee or leg, he wouldn’t permit that either. So, how would you translate this idea into repertory language and do you sometimes feel that animals aren’t being well-served by not having a repertory of their own?
I will start by noting that the case is a little short (just to be on the safe side…) but let’s see what we can use:
First: Larry is a German Shepherd: they are bred to control and keep order. Therefore part of his behaviour is normal. What is less normal that he even interferes when people get on well. This allows us to use ‘dictatorial’ (you said he is a real sweatheart: this increases the value of the rubric as a contrast). Second rubric we could use is ‘flattered desired to be’. One could also use sensitive to rudeness (although this does not reflect exactly what happens but may give some ideas) and sensitive to moral impressions. I would not use ‘mildness’ because this is such a common symptom. A series of remedies come up: Aur-m-n, puls, sulf, med, lycop, pall and Nux. Based on the short text I go for nux v (although I would seriously consider pall). The fact that he even does not tolerate you slapping your own knees seems rather important, making the case for nux. (this needs to put into context to his general education.) (one dose of Nux v 200 ?)
One thing that is really important is not to select the first remedy that comes up in your repertorisation when using mind symptoms. Repertorisation is there to give you ideas. Although, one rule that seems to be relatively valuable is to always consider ‘small’ remedies that show up amongst polycrests.
It also depends on the species: the more they have spent time with humans (are close to humans) the more they seem to ‘copy’ us. Dogs and horses have very good mind symptoms, cats and cattle are a little more difficult, and so are rabbits and sheep.
Physical symptoms are very similar to human materia medica. We obviously lack the coloration of the skin and all the sensations but at the same time ‘menses’ can be used for ‘heat’ in animals although this does not reflect the same time in the female cycle.
You can use your imagination: if the symptom you want to use in the repertory ‘reflects’ what happens in your patient, go and have a look! One nice example is a case of diabetes in a dog that did not show the normal weight loss one always sees. My colleague (Marc Brunson) used Rectum, diarrhea, weakness without, to find Phos acid that turned the dog around (without insulin). Another rubric like ‘homesickness’ can be used for an animal that does not like any sort of change. It is the ‘modality’ that primes over the symptom.
I don’t think we need a veterinary repertory. Such a work can certainly be of benefit (I think there is a project going on). But because of the amount of (tried) information there is in our repertories it would be silly to disregard them in veterinary medicine.
Separate veterinary and human homeopathy would be a mistake. I have so many times experienced how we can learn from human prescibers and how they can learn from us.
If we can possibly return to the exciting topic of my dear son, Prince Larry, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said, “German Shepherds are bred to control and keep order.” That is exactly what he was doing! It makes so much sense now that you’ve explained it! And speaking of Larry, I can happily tell you a few other things about him if you insist…
OK! He was terrified of thunderstorms! Everytime the thunder or lightning would start, I had to open the closet door for him so he could go in–poor thing! He also had a really bad case of eczema, his skin near his tail on his back would be so red; he would bite it from the itching, he also had fleas there, which may have been causing the whole thing. The vet probably controlled it with something we wouldn’t approve of, but I didn’t know any better! Everyone loved him, he made everyone feel so important (I know that sounds ridiculous!) I think he must have been a phosphorus–so full of joy, so optimistic. Even at the end of his life, when he had that hind-leg paralysis that big dogs often get, he was still full of spunk, still enjoying life….People would see him hobbling down the street and they’d yell at me to have him put to sleep! Total strangers! They didn’t realize how happy he was! Of course, I did finally have to have him put to sleep, and I’m sure I waited much too long–it was an impossible decision!
Terrified of thunderstorm, fleas, itching on the back, lameness in hindquarters… all common symptoms. Full of spunk when was going down with hip pain goes somewhat against nux v. I still believe he was overdoing it when he was stopping you/others from slapping each others shoulders. We need to be more specific on his exact attitude towards this over-zealous activity.
‘He made everyone feel so important’ …. another thing to deepen out. The over-all impression is indeed phosphorus which may very well have served him as a remedy but I have so many times found that this remedy only serves temporarly. This means for me that the remedy is not homeopathic enough to the patient. He will need to take it in repeatedly and its effect often soons burns out. My feeling about phosphorus is that he makes others feel important to fuel its own energy. He also needs to eat to fuel its energy and at the same time he burns up very quickly. I feel like a selfish need in phosphorus and a anxiety of not being able to exist if these ‘fuels’ are not provided.
Back to Larry: If it appears that he NEVER complained, we could use the rubric of Mind, Positiveness (again debatable but the rubric breathes the sense of what we are looking for).
One question I would like to ask is what did he think about you? Did he relate differently to you then to other people?
Other possible rubric: Mind, too generous Olib-sac? Sulfur? and Cere-b!? (up to now I may go for Cere-b)
Homeopathy is dynamic. Anthing else, anything curious about him? Physical, food, other fears, funny habits, cold and warm, seasons? What about other dogs?
Funny habits: Every time Larry heard a siren, he would run to the window and “sing” along with it! “Woooooooooo–waa-waa.” It was the funniest thing!
Not a very common symptom but difficult to use for prescription. The remedy we select in the end will have to be able to sustain this symptom.
The seasons–he loved the snow! He would roll around in it; I think he was a very warm dog. Other dogs? Oh my God! I dreaded walking him! I had to walk him on a leash just to keep him from killing another male dog; oh, the fights he got into! Very scary! I don’t think male dogs get along! They apparently think they own the neighborhood!
This fits in with his dominant behaviour although it can also be caused by a lack of socialising when he was younger.
He loved children, though; he’d walk right up to them and put his head in their chests!
It is not unusual for a German shepherd to like and take care of children. They were bred to take care of the sheep and lambs and these qualities are often very successfully transmitted towards their family attitude. In this case we have to bear in mind that he has a very dominant character but does not shy away from being very close to children. This may be a sign of him not being dominant-proud but rather dominat-efficient, as you said he gave so much towards others. That is why I cited the rubric ‘Mind, generous, too’ for possible use (containing amongst others Nux v, reference, Gallavin Pierre). His extreme kindness and closeness to children somewhat contrast his very ‘strict’ character. Such contrasts are important in finding an appropriate remedy.
I can’t say that Larry ever was a complainer; he had a very positive outlook. I think he had a lot of pride, which is why he wouldn’t let you order him about. If you said, “Larry, go lie down,” he’d walk around first, as if to say, “I am now going to lie down; but not because you told me to, but because I just suddenly decided to on my own!”
Well, I think nux vomica is there again (was also present in Generous, too generous). Nux vomica who leads and knows best.
You know how they tell you in the dog-training books to stop a dog from jumping up when they greet you? Raise your knee to his chest so that he goes down? Well, my sister did that to him after she entered the house once, as she had had dogs herself; and, he never spoke to her again! She said, “But I read it! That’s what you’re supposed to do!” I said, “Caroline, I think you hurt his feelings.” After that he just wouldn’t speak to her. Who knows when he finally got over it, months or years, I can’t remember.
First prescription would have been Nux v 30c one dose and reassess in four weeks.
Nux v has to do with what is right and not right: he knows what is best for all. That is why it is a typical businessman’s remedy: they are supposed to know what is best for everybody in order to make the company run properly. In these cases the remedy is not always a constitutional remedy but a situational remedy: pulled between the feeling to need to be right and the realisation that they cannot always be.
The generousness, the excess with which he performs his tasks (even wanting to keep the burglars from coming through the phone…) his kindness to the people he looks after , he seems to ‘give to them’ more then he takes. Also, it looks as if it is his role is to look after all the people, that is why he was the same to you as anybody else? Nux is also present in ailments from mortification, allowing for his sensibility to your sister’s intervention. Woooooo–waa-waa when the sirens are coming: that is his only way to interfere with them; he doesn’t bark, he doesn’t get angry with them, it is something else he wants (needs) to control.
You see, quite a few reasons to use this remedy!
Thanks for the wonderful tutorial on Nux Vomica in the canine world! Yes, he was bossy, wasn’t he? And it’s true, people forget that Nux Vomica is generous, don’t they? Always focusing in on the anger, irritability, need for stimulation, need to come in first, stopping at nothing–all the negatives, so to speak, but there is the generous side, isn’t there? It’s amazing how much more a homeopath needs to know about his patient than a “regular” physician, I’m very impressed with your knowledge!
You are flattering me again.
No way! I’ve never flattered anybody, ask Shirley!
I hope that the message I can spread is that there is more to homeopathic remedies then the usual pictures. Homeopathy seems to be in fast growing-up years. We have to grow out our fixed ideas about homeopathy and allow for more dynamic views and habits … but never forget that the basic rule of strange, unusual, curious, original, whether a symptom or combination of symptoms is what we have to look for. ‘This person or animal cannot be that remedy’ because something does not fit right to our habits is not the right attitude. In our canine case one could say that his ‘warm’ temperament did not fit in with nux vomica. That is not a reason not to prescribe the remedy.
Would you like to tell our readers some of the common mistakes they’re making with dogs and cats? I’m thinking about things like, should the animals be locked out of the bedroom at night? Should they be allowed to eat what people eat? Should cats be drinking milk? You must be a wealth of information on the mistakes we’re making with our pets!
The main mistake most people make is that they give conflicting information to their animals. With our good nature we want to assure that our pets have the best they can have. Some of us are over-attentious to them. This creates the feeling of being the centre of attention. In the animal (and human) kingdom this signifies importance. The house pet receives repetetive signals of his importance. At the same time he can become very aware that he has no power on decision at all. We want them to obey and we have attitudes as the dominant figure in the family pack. This is a contradictory situation. The pet feels like being a king or prince without any power. This can cause frustration expressed differently according to the personality of the pet.
I have seen cases where pets slept in their owner’s bed where this causes no trouble at all because the situation between owner and pet is clearcut.
On food: Dogs have always eaten what people ate. If we eat badly then our dog eats badly as well. The progress in specialised foods has a series of advantages and in some cases can control chronic pathologies very efficiently. They are not always the bees knees but have a role to fill.
Milk for cats… no. Most adults (human, dogs, cats) do not digest milk very well. Other problem with our modern milk is its digestibility. Certainly from a hygienic (bacteriological and cellular) point of view, the quality is impeccable. But high intensity farming and use of maize makes the milk tougher to digest. It is something I have come aware of over time when I intervened regularly in dairy herds. The calves of the common black and white milking cattle usually thrive better on milk reconstituted from powder then their mother’s milk. This means that milk neede to be processed to increase its digestibility … . Because this is not something we can measure easily it is not an issue that is researched very much. I have always reduced the milk intake in my children and I can tell they do not lack in calcium or anything else.
Edward, thank you for speaking to us and for solving a long-held mystery for me! We found Larry when he was a year old, he was a stray, we always thought he might have been abused because he wouldn’t tolerate “rowdy” behavior, but, your explanation makes much better sense, in fact, it makes perfect sense! I hope you’ll be back to visit us again soon–I can’t wait to tell you about Snoopy and Creampuff!
Edward De Beukelaer, DVM practices in the UK (Wiltshire and Gloucestershire). Visit his websites: www.1-4-homeopathy.com and www.marlboroughvets.co.uk