Michael, where has the time gone? All of a sudden a whole week has gone by in January! Can we start with how you got started in homeopathy?
I first became acquainted with homeopathy back in 1995 and 1996 when I took a few brief summer courses at The National Center of Homeopathy.
What possessed you to do that?
What possessed me?….
I had become frustrated with the limitations of conventional medicine, and the fact that I was seeing sicker and sicker pets at younger and younger ages with immune mediated problems and cancers, and that all I could offer was suppressive or palliative therapies at best.
This was my first exposure to homeopathy, and I was truly captivated by the exciting courses taught by my colleague Christina Chambreaux. I had the time to take summer course work only, but as soon I was able, I enrolled in Dr. Pitcairn’s year-long professional course in veterinary homeopathy taught in several sessions over a one year period from 1997-1998.
My earliest experience with homeopathy actually involved my own two pets. My one cat had been quite ill with an overactive thyroid gland, which I had allopathically [standard medicine] treated with Tapazole, a drug used to suppress excessive thyroid secretion. Within one week he almost died of acute liver failure from this drug.
My other cat developed an airway problem where her chest cavity filled up with a milky fluid that has no treatment in conventional medicine. With the help of colleague Ed Shaeffer, I was able to treat both cats successfully with homeopathy. The first cat responded beautifully to Nux vomica.
What made you settle on Nux vomica?
At the time I was not a seasoned homeopath, the prescription for my cat Barney with acute liver failure was based on the abuse/oversensitivity to medicaments as well as the fact that he also had a concomitant acute lower limb paralysis at the time which also pointed to the remedy Nux vomica, and which resolved quickly.
The thyroid condition was treated constitutionally over the next year or two under the guidance of other more experienced homeopaths like Ed Sheaffer and Charlie Loops. I believe the ultimate remedy that made the most difference for the chronic thyroid condition ended up being Natrum muriaticum.
As for the cat with the effusion known as chlothorax, the other symptoms at the time, including constipation with hard dry pebbly like stool along with other constitutional symptoms, pointed to Silica, although much of the constitutional prescribing at the time was being done by my colleagues.
At that point I became hooked and had to learn more about this system of medicine.
I hear that there is a division among veterinary homeopaths, as there is among us human homeopaths, over how much diversion from The Organon of Medicine by Samuel Hahnemann is acceptable. I understand even your son has made the rounds of the “new” homeopathic thinkers, without great results! Can you shed some light on this controversy?
Well! let me start by saying that I consider myself a Richard Pitcairn trained classical veterinary homeopath. In his professional coursework, Richard stresses sticking to the classical principles of Hahnemann’s Organon. He started training veterinarians in classical homeopathy back in the early 1990’s and subsequently started an organization called The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy. This organization was founded on these principles which help form the basis of the current Standard of Practice of this organization.
Veterinarians who are members are expected to follow these standards of practice when treating a case homeopathically. While Richard is no longer active in this organization, he continues to stress these principles of practice with his subsequent coursework and professional training of veterinarians.
In recent years, many of my colleagues and myself included, have begun seeing a break from these principles in analyzing homeopathic cases, often following the lead of human practitioners who have developed new ways of analyzing cases based on their own observation and experiences, or who have developed short cuts to a totality analysis. Many of my veterinary colleagues have taken these courses and are now giving presentations at the annual AVH meetings based on the work of these human practitioners.
Many times, small remedies are being used to treat many of the chronic symptoms of our pets, looking at periodic table relationships, etc, as well as using remedies that have not been fully proven. Cases are being called cured without presenting information of where symptomology progresses over months or years. As for my son, it has been extremely difficult to find a true classical Hahnemannian homeopath to make much progress in his case. I have been to many of these so called experts in the homeopathic community and have been quite disappointed with the results. Interestingly many of my colleagues whom I see at meetings have had similar experiences with their children as well. I know from personal communication with Dr. Pitcairn, who has more experience than any of the veterinary homeopaths in this country, that he is not happy with the trends that I describe.
I drove six hours to see one such homeopath with “new ideas” for my son and his solution for Joshua’s continued night-time anxiety and dependency on my wife to sleep with him, was for my wife to go into his room and fold laundry while he was trying to go to sleep.
I dont recall the exact questioning as it was over 2.5 years ago, but the gist of it was that Joshua, according to him, was improving developmentally in terms of preschool activity (which had been present before the Aconitum which he prescribed); therefore, he wanted to wait and not prescribe further at that time.
So, two parents were being driven insane by nightly wakenings that were disruptive to all involved, and no help was offered. I think that homeopaths, although sticking to their principles, still have to keep in mind the frustrations of parents, just as we do with our animal guardians, and offer at least some palliative supportive adjunctive therapies that dont interfere with the consitutional prescription.
In our case, it was tiresome hearing reasons and justifications of why Joshua was waking up at night, rather than acknowledging that the prescribed remedy simply did not address this deep symptom, and several years later we still have not fully addressed the symptom. Obviously he is somewhat older now, i.e almost 8, and so there are not the panicked wakings with crying and waiting for my wife to come to him, yet the basic symptom theme persists and still disrupts everyone’s sleep on a nightly basis!!! I have not found a homeopath to be candid and honest with us in terms of the simple fact that they have not found the right constitutional remedy for this LONG standing symptom. That is the fact!!!
I can tell you are really distressed about this; so, here’s my offer–as the Official Oprah Winfrey Clone at Hpathy.com: If you will present your son’s case to us, I have no doubt that our alert readers–our “Angel Network”, if you will– will surely be able to come up with a suitable analysis and remedy for your son and I think we can all learn something from the experience; what do you say?
I’d say it’s a great idea!
I’ll shoot the Children’s Questionnaire over to you, and, if you don’t finish it in time for this issue, we will place it in the February issue for sure. In the meantime, if I could possibly impose on you for an animal case?
Oh, certainly! Here is the case of Abby Storz, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, who presented to me on September 21, 2005 with a history of autoimmune hemolytic anemia occurring post-vaccination (distemper/parvo and Bordatella combination).
There was a prior history of having hives-like reaction to Kennel Cough vaccination three years earlier.
For the anemia, Abby received multiple transfusions at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine as well as suppressive antibiotic/steroid therapy.
Abby presented with chronic cholesterol deposits on her eyes which had been there for years and pronounced curving of front limbs which the owner described as a recent change.
The dog had episodes of otitis as a youngster as well as some fatty tumors/nodules on the skin.
Despite the aggressive allopathics, transfusions, etc. Abby became progressively icteric (jaundiced) from destruction of her red blood cells.
When I saw her, her hematocrit or PCV was 18.1, with normal being above 40, and the hemolytic anemia was ongoing.
The initial homeopathic remedy chosen was Natrum muriaticum LM/1 given daily while attempts were made to taper off high doses of cortisone. Changes were made in diet and nutrient supplements were also given. There was immediate improvement in her red blood cell count with her PCV and hematocrit going up to 29.1 within five days of the quick tapering of the Prednisone. Her activity level increased and the Nat-mur. was continued for an additional week resulting in an increase of HCT or PCV to 35.
Part of basis of the Natrum mur. selection was that it was one of top 5 in the analysis and because of its reputation in anemia and in hives.
However, this having been said, Abby developed progressive multifocal purplish petechiation and bruising on her belly as her chronic disease now shifted to an autoimmune platelet problem.
Based on these and other concomitant symptoms, her remedy was changed to Phosphorus 30C.
She was still clinically doing well 2.5 weeks later (off all allopathic drugs) but purplish petecchial eruptions were still there and platelet count still quite low at 17,000.
New analysis of the case on October 25, 2005 came up with Silica which was given in the 30C potency.
Why Silica? I think we all understand the Phosphorus prescription, but, why Silica instead of raising the potency of Phosphorus?
Silica was chosen based on new analysis done using symptoms and complete repertory analysis:
Eyes opacity cornea;
External throat, swelling cervical glands;
Generals, hemorrhage, blood does not coagulate;
Generals, worse after vaccination;
Of course! Ailments from vaccination, the all-important etiology, Silica being one of the main remedies for this.
By November 25, 2005, her digestive symptoms were better and the petecchia were fading. Platelet count was up to 98,000.
By December 15, 2005, some of the spots began to return along with some of the digestive symptoms that had improved. A repeat dose of Silica 30C then cleared up all of the symptoms and recheck of her blood work and symptoms by mid December showed that everything had returned to normal and that Abby was happy and well.
Thank you and well-done! This was a very severe case that surely was headed for an unhappy ending; congratulations!
Thank you, it was really a pleasure to be here!
Michael Dym, VMD
104 Kings Highway
Moorestown, New Jersey 08057