Scientific Research

Homeopathy, a Solution for Calf Diarrhoea – 2

bioveem calf

Homeopathy, a Solution for Calf Diarrhoea – 2

Homeopathy, a Solution for Calf Diarrhoea - 2 14 Research into the curative treatment of calves diarrhoea at 3 farms

Target

Testing whether homeopathy can be used for the curative treatment of calves diarrhoea. Because the choice of a homeopathic remedy can be different according to the company, the choice went out to 3 different companies who all used a different homeopathic remedy for the treatment of calves diarrhoea.

Questionnaire

What is the effect of a company chosen ‘remedy on the cure of calves diarrhoea? Can calves diarrhoea be cured within 24 hours after the use of a homeopathic remedy?

4.1 Material and method

4.1.1 Introduction

The companies participating in the research are all 3 involved in the project Bioveem. The cattle keepers use homeopathic remedies on their farm and the calves regularly have diarrhoea.

4.1.1.1 Company Jos Elderink

The company is a biological milk cattle farm with 130 milk cows of the HF and Jersey type, accommodated in a laying box stable

The cattle keeper has followed a homeopathic course in the fall of 2002 and hasn’t applied it a lot with diarrhoea in calves. diarrhoea among calves is prevalent but it doesn’t occur in all calves. It doesn’t occur within 2 days after birth but mostly at a later moment. When Jos Elderink gives a homeopathic remedy the diarrhoea mostly subsides within one day. The research has been done from 4th October 2003 until 30 August 2004.

4.1.1.2  Company Marco van Liere

Also a biological milk cattle farm with 75 milk cows of the MRIJ type accommodated in laying box stables.

Marco has followed a homeopathic course and has applied homeopathy in a lot of cases of calves diarrhoea. He has a lot of success with this approach and also is able to establish which remedy a specific calf needs. diarrhoea is prevalent among calves but not with all calves. Since he uses homeopathy it is significantly less prevalent. It not only occurs within 2 days after birth but also at a later stage.

When Marco gives a homeopathic remedy to a calf the diarrhoea is mostly finished within 1 day. The research has been running from 10th November 2004 until 30th December 2004.

4.1.1.3 Company Jaap Drijfhout

Is a biological- dynamic mixed company with 65 milk cows of the HF type accommodated in a lying box stable.

The cattle keeper didn’t follow a homeopathic course but does apply homeopathy on his farm. diarrhoea does occur among calves but not among all. It occurs within the first 10 days after birth.When the cattle keeper gives a homeopathic remedy to a calf with diarrhoea, the diarrhoea is mostly finished within one day. The research runs from 17th November 2004 until 30th January 2005.

4.1.2 Calf breeding

4.1.2.1 Company Jos Elderink

The calves are individually kept in iglo’s. Contact with other calves and older animals is excluded in this way. The iglo’s are provided with straw and have a small run out which is separated by means of a fence. They are cleaned after 10-14 days when the calves leave the iglo. The straw is replaced when necessary.

The iglo’s are placed on the premises in the open air and are conform SKAL norms.

The food till the 3rd day consists out of colostrum of the own mother followed by milk out of the milk tank. They calves are fed with an individual weaning bucket.

4.1.2.2 Company Marco van Liere

The calves are accommodated in little groups into a straw shed, the straw is changed when necessary.

The food consists out of colostrum till the 3rd day and then milk of a randomly chosen cow directly after milking is given.

4.1.2.3 Company Jaap Drijfhout

The calves on the company are individually accommodated in  sheds during the first 1 ½ weeks. Cleaning and the changing of straw is done when the calves leave the shed after 10-14 days.

The food consists of colostrum from the mother during the first 10 days followed by fresh milk from cows with a low cell count and low fat percentage. They are fed with an individual bucket.

4.1.3 Composition of the remedies

On the farms 3 different remedies are tested. The choice of the remedies depended on previous experience with administration of homeopathic remedies by the cattle keepers . The  homeopathic remedies used were Calcarea Phosphorica 200k, Arsenicum Album 200K, Veratrum album 30K

A milk sugar tablet with the homeopathic remedy is diluted with 250 ml water and 5 drops of ethanol 70%.

4.1.4 Administration of the remedies

The remedies are tested on the farm by means of a double blind test. The cattle keeper as well as the students that conducted the research were not aware what was remedy or placebo.

In order of birth alternatively placebo or remedy has been given. Once all information was gathered and delivered, the codes were broken. In total 22 calves participated. Ten animals were given placebo and 12 animals were administrated a homeopathic remedy.

When after 1 ½  days no amelioration was noticed, the cattle keeper gave his own homeopathic remedy, which he assumed would be effective. This was agreed in view of the well-being of the animals and to prevent as much as possible retardation in growth.

With Jaap Drijfhout this didn’t happen as there the diarrhoea subsided spontaneously after 36-72 hours.

4.1.4.1 Company Jos Elderink

A yellowish not smelling diarrhoea is present on the premises. Jos Elderink has good experiences with Calcarea phosphorica. This is why it was tested.

The remedy was sprayed onto the nose of the calves.

4.1.4.2 Company Marco van Liere

On the company premises 2 remedies have been tested in treating calves diarrhoea. According to the symptoms a different remedy ( or placebo ) was given. When the diarrhoea was smelling and the calf was sick and weak either placebo or Arsenicum album was given. With watery diarrhoea either Veratrum album or the placebo was given.

With the help of a syringe it was put in the mouth.

4.1.4.3 Company  Jaap Drijfhout

They had good experiences with Arsenicum album, so this remedy was used when diarrhoea occurred. It was given in the mouth by means of an injection syringe.

4.1.5 diarrhoea score

During the research the cattle keeper himself establishes whether the calves have diarrhoea. For this purpose a diarrhoea score form has been made up ( addendum 1 ).

The following criteria have been included on the form.

-description of the dung during the diarrhoea
-time of appearance of the diarrhoea
-time of disappearance of the diarrhoea
-general impression of the calf during the diarrhoea
-food intake during the diarrhoea
-general impression of the calf at the age of 5 days
-food intake at 5 days

Jaap Drijfhout only noted the time of appearance and disappearance of the diarrhoea

4.1.6 Statistical analysis

With the help of the program Genstat the analysis was done. The Fisher’s exact test was used to look for a significant difference between the treatment with homeopathy and placebo.

For this purpose 2 hypothesis have been formulated

-H0: the administrated remedy and the cure of the diarrhoea within 24 h are not interdependent .

-H1 : the administrated remedy and the cure of the diarrhoea  within 24 h are interdependent.

Reliability border of a = 0,05 is chosen

4.2 Results

4.2.1 Company jos Elderink

4.2.1.1 Experience of the cattle keeper

Jos Elderink acknowledges he has some idea about what is a homeopathic remedy, because he sees a difference in the duration of the diarrhoea depending on which remedy he gives. With the breaking of the code it seemed his idea coincided with reality.

4.21.2 Results of the test

In total 12 calves participated with the test over a period of 11 months. These are the calves that contracted diarrhoea during that period. Before commencement of the study it has been agreed that the well-being of the animals should be guaranteed.

Also a growth retardation should be avoided as much as possible. This is why it has been agreed that when after 1 ½ days after administration of the test remedy the animal is not re-established then the animal gets a Calcarea Phosphorica solution that the cattle keeper takes from his own supplies.

This can more or less obscure the results, because the animals that in a first instance got placebo, can under the influence of the homeopathic remedy that the cattle keeper gave from his own supplies, recuperate faster than they would have done without the remedy.This is why the differences between the verum and the placebo group can become smaller. Because of the animals well-being however this was agreed.

The following were noted

-how long did the diarrhoea last?
-did the animal have a supplementary homeopathic remedy?
-did the animal after it was cured contract another diarrhoea after 5 days?

Also we looked at the following

-general impression of the calf ( activity, food intake )
-color, smell  and consistency of the dung

This has been done, according to the clinical picture ,  to estimate if the chosen homeopathic remedy will work.

Whether the diarrhoea was finished within 24 h duration can be seen in table 2

Table 2 Effect on the arrest and the average duration of diarrhoea

diarrhoea finished in 24 hnot finished in 24 haverage duration
Placebo0548h
Calcarea phos5232h

Mid p value Fisher’s exact ( two sided ): p= 0,027

In table 3 it can be seen if the animals during the test were administrated the homeopathic remedy, meaning Calcarea Phosphorica 200 K from the cattle keeper’s own stock because the animal didn’t react to the remedy administrated during the test.

Table 3 Administration of the homeopathic remedy in the test

Number of animalsextra calc. phosno calc. phos.
Placebo541
Calcarea phos707

Mid- p value Fisher’s exact ( two sided ) : p= 0.010

It has been noted if the animals contracted diarrhoea after 5days ( table 4 )

When the animals got additionally, from the cattle keeper’s stock, Calcarea Phosphorica 200K within 2 days after the start of the diarrhoea, then they have been included in this table under the group with Calcarea Phosphorica.

Table 4 The reoccurrence of diarrhoea after administration of a homeopathic remedy

Number of animalsdiarrhoea after 5 dno diarrhoea after 5 d
Placebo321
Calcarea phos 200909

Mid- p value fisher’s exact ( two sided ) : p= 0,045

4.2.1.3 Conclusion

The H1 conclusion has been adopted : the administrated homeopathic remedy and the cure of the diarrhoea are interdependent.

From this we can draw the conclusion there is a very big probability that Calcarea Phosphorica 200k has a curative action on calves diarrhoea on the farm of Jos Elderink.

4.2.2 Company Marco van Liere

4.2.2.1 Experience of the cattle keeper

Marco indicates noticing immediately whether he gave a homeopathic remedy or a placebo. In the past he was confronted with calves diarrhoea and knows exactly how to deal with it. He very quickly notices the result of the correct remedy and he tries to pay attention to this. With the breaking of the code his idea seemed to correspond with reality. Initially he didn’t want to collaborate with the test because he was very satisfied with the good results he had with homeopathy and didn’t want to have problems with calves diarrhoea anymore ! Eventually and in the interest of homeopathy he gave his consent. Unfortunately for the test, during the trial run, few animals contracted diarrhoea.

4.2.2.2 Results of the test

In total 5 calves participated and this during a period of 6 weeks. These are the animals that contracted diarrhoea during this period.

Before starting the test it had been agreed upon that the well-being of the animals had to be guaranteed. Also to prevent as much as possible any retardation in growth. This is why it was agreed that in case the animals were not reestablished within 1 ½ days after administration of the test remedy the cattle- keeper would give the calves a homeopathic remedy out of his own stock. This can more or less cloud the results of the test, but for the above mentioned reasons this choice was made.

The following data  were noted

-how long did the diarrhoea last?
-did the animal have any supplementary  homeopathic remedy?
-did the animal after it was cured, again  contract diarrhoea after 5 days?

Also we looked at :

-general impression of the calf ( activity, food intake 0
-color, smell and consistency of the dung

This has been done, according to the clinical picture, to estimate if the chosen homeopathic remedy will work.

Table 5 Effect on the arrest of the diarrhoea and average duration

diarrhoea finished in 24 hnot finished in 24 haverage duration
Placebo0248h
Arsenicum  200K 208h
Veratrum 30K 1010h

In table 6 it can be seen if during the test the animals were administered their own homeopathic remedy. Meaning a homeopathic remedy that the cattle keeper took from his own stock because the animal didn’t react enough to the test remedy.

Table 6 Administration of own homeopathic remedy during the test

Number of animalsadditional homeopathyno additional homeopathy
Placebo220
Arsenicum 202
Veratrum 101

It was noted if after 5 days the animals again contracted diarrhoea.

Table 7 The reoccurrence of diarrhoea after administration of a homeopathic remedy

Number of animalsdiarrhoea after 5 dno diarrhoea after 5 d
Placebo000
Homeopathic remedy505

4.2.2.3 Conclusion

There is a significant difference in the duration of the diarrhoea with the various animals. Because the numbers are small no conclusion can be drawn as to the significance of this. It can be said that however that continuation of the research on this farm could be very interesting.

4.2.3 Company Jaap Drijfhout

4.2.3.1 Experience of the cattle keeper

Jaap clearly denotes he has some suspicion as to what is the homeopathic remedy as he clearly sees a difference in the action of the remedies. When the codes were broken it seemed his idea coincided with reality. In the beginning Jaap gave Arsenicum Album 30 K to his calves with diarrhoea. With the use of Arsenicum Alb. 200k it appeared that the diarrhoea subsided more quickly. This is why it was decided to use the higher potency during the test.

4.2.3.2 Results of the test

In total over a period of 2 months, 5 calves participated In the test. These are the calves that during that period contracted diarrhoea.

We looked at the following.

-how long did the diarrhoea last?

In table 8 it can be seen if the diarrhoea seized within 24 h

Table 8 Effect on the arrest of diarrhoea and average duration

diarrhoea finished in 24 hnot finished in 24 haverage duration
Placebo1244h
Arsenicum  200K 2018h

4.2.3.3Conclusion

Not enough calves participated in the test to make a meaningful statistical analysis. There is a significant difference though that can be noticed between the use of a placebo and a homeopathic remedy.

4.3Overview of 3 farms concerning the curative action of homeopathy

4.3.1 Results

The results of the 3 companies have been added and with the aid of Genstat analysis in the same way as has been done with the separate companies.

To this purpose 2 hypothesis have been made :

-H0 : The administrated remedy and the cure of the diarrhoea within 24 h are independent of each other

-H1: The administrated remedy and the cure of the diarrhoea within 24 h are interdependent

A reliability border of a= 0,05 is chosen

Table 9 shows if the diarrhoea subsided within 24 h and the average duration of the diarrhoea.

Table 9 Resume results of the effect on diarrhoea and average duration

Elderink
van Liere
Drijfhout
Total
duration
diarrhoea stopped yesnoyesnoyesnoyesno
Placebo0502121946h
Homeopathy 52302010224h

Mid- p value Fisher’s exact ( 2 sided ) : p< 0,001

In table 10 is shown if during the test the animals were administrated their own homeopathic remedy, meaning from the cattle keeper’s own stock, because the animal didn’t react to the test remedy. The data of the animals of Jaap Drijfhout are not incorporated in this table because Jaap didn’t give supplementary remedies, also not when after 36h the diarrhoea was still present.

Table 10 Resume administration of own homeopathic remedy in the test

Number of animalssupplementary  hom.No supple. hom.
Placebo761
Homeopathy10010

Mid -p value Fisher’s exact ( two sided ) : p<0,001

It has been noted if the animals after 5 days again contracted diarrhoea. When the animals got supplementary remedies administrated by the cattle keeper within 2 days of the unset of the diarrhoea then they were included in the table under the group with the homeopathic remedy.

Table 11 shows how many animals again contracted diarrhoea after 5 days

Table 11  Resume reoccurrence of diarrhoea after homeopathic remedy

Number of animalsdiarrhoea after 5 dno diarrhoea after 5 d
Placebo321
Homeopathic remedy12012

Mid p value Fisher’s exact ( two sided ) : p= 0.025

Also from these results it is evident there is a significant difference between the use of a placebo and the use of a homeopathic remedy.

4.3.2 Conclusion

There is a significant difference between the use of placebo and the use of a homeopathic remedy. This is why the H1 hypothesis has been accepted

The administrated remedy and the cure of the diarrhoea within 24 are depending upon one another.

5Conclusions and Discussions

5.1 Conclusions

5.1.1 Judgment of the experiences of the cattle keepers

The experiences of the cattle keepers give clues as to the positive effects of the administrated remedies.

5.1.2 The research

Preventive action of homeopathy

Prevention of calves diarrhoea with the aid of homeopathy is possible.

Curative action of homeopathy

The treatment of calves diarrhoea with a for the company suited homeopathic remedy shows us the following significant results in the double blind conducted trial.

1 The duration of the diarrhoea is shortened with the aid of a homeopathic remedy.
2 After a homeopathic remedy is used the cattle keeper doesn’t give his own remedy because the animals are doing well. After a placebo is given the cattle keeper very often administers an own homeopathic remedy.
3 After the administration of a placebo the calves more often have a reoccurrence of diarrhoea compared to when they got a homeopathic remedy.
4 With a homeopathic remedy more then 80% of the animals are cured of their diarrhoea within 1 day, while with a placebo this is around 12 %.

5.1.3 Effective research

By basing double blind trials into the use of homeopathic remedies on the previous experience the cattle keepers had on their farm, it is possible to get better results from the research.

5.2Discussion

This research concerns a relatively small number of calves, this is why the results should be interpreted with some caution.

Scientific contribution of the research

From the different trials, although small in setup, it seems that when justice is done to the homeopathic principles, meaning company and animal directed choice of the homeopathic remedy, it is possible to significantly increase the results of a double blind study.

Homeopathic investigations with farm animals has mostly been done for sub-clinical mastitis and high cell count. A number of researches shows a significant difference, a few don’t  (Schutte 1994 ). By choosing for this particular kind of affection where no or few clinical symptoms are present, it is much more difficult to come to a significant result when it comes to homeopathy, then when the choice is in favor for an affection with clinical symptoms.

On other farms the same research strategy can be followed. It is of the utmost importance that the homeopathic rules are followed, and the most effective remedy is chosen according to the symptoms of the animals on that specific farm. Also more then one remedy may be necessary on some farms, and the differentiation of these should be done during the test before the research.

In practice it seems that the routine use of a standard remedy leads to disappointing results.

Contribution for the practice

It is possible to use homeopathy in the prevention and treatment of diarrhoea in calves. It is important that one does the differentiation between the different homeopathic remedies to come to an optimal result.

About the author

Liesbeth Ellinger

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