In late April of 2011, I happened to stop by for a quick chat with our next door neighbors. Karen is an animal lover and is actively involved in feline rescue organizations. Her former roommate, J. had a cat who had died of a feline disease. J. had subsequently adopted Miss Piggy, a white long haired cat, who was already in her early teens. Miss Piggy, also known affectionately as just “Piggy” quickly established her position as queen of all she surveyed, including a calico long hair that Karen had adopted sometime earlier. When J. moved out the year before, it was jointly decided that Miss Piggy would stay on with Karen.
As I was talking with Karen that balmy April evening, she mentioned that Piggy had developed a breast tumor, which had started out small, around the size of a pea in 2009, but had recently grown much larger. A local vet had examined the mass and had suggested that the cat immediately undergo surgery. However, due to the fact that Piggy was now almost 19 years old and had a heart murmur, Karen was reluctant to embark on such a dangerous treatment plan. Without removing the tumor, the vet gave Piggy about a week to live.
However, another vet that Karen worked closely with in feline rescues had suggested that perhaps keeping Piggy comfortable on painkillers and antibiotics would be best. Unfortunately, the antibiotic causes a lack of appetite. At that point in the conversation, Piggy herself arrived to see who was standing in the doorway causing this enormous draft. After giving me the royal once over, she sniffed disdainfully, as I have two male cats – hooligans, both of them – and proceeded back down the hallway to go about her business.
As Piggy walked away, I could see an egg sized tumor dangling beneath her chest cavity. Although I am only a student of homeopathy, I explained to Karen that I could provide her with a homeopathic remedy that would cause the mass to start to drain off. She said that she would speak to J. about giving her the remedy. On my way out later that evening, I dropped off an envelope in Karen’s mailbox containing a Silicea 30C pellet and instructions on how to make a water potency. I also suggested that she might want to have Piggy sleep in a carrier with lots of towels in case the tumor started to discharge during the night.
On May 9th, when I arrived home, I happened to meet Piggy’s owner, J., who was visibly upset and near tears. Piggy was worse. The tumor had started to drain and the cat was failing rapidly. J. had come to say good-bye since Piggy was not expected to live much beyond the next 24 to 48 hours. An intense conversation about where to inter Miss Piggy on the property when the inevitable happened followed. Karen told me that the rescue vet was on call in case things took a turn for the worst. The vet would administer a final shot if needed. At this point it seemed like a round of Ignatia was indicated for all the human companions involved.
Piggy’s sudden decline was somewhat surprising since usually when I have had the occasion to give Silicea in this type of situation, the patient rallies and improves following the fluid discharge. Upon careful inquiry, it turned out that the Silicea had not been given because there had been concerns that the mass would rupture and Piggy would bleed to death. The tumor had ruptured on its own following vascularization.
I offered to check my homeopathy veterinary books for suggestions. Out of the five books on the subject, only one noted that breast tumors often start out small, but occasionally double or quadruple in size. It then suggested Phytolacca to reduce the size of the tumor. I contacted Karen and explained that there was a remedy. She immediately invited me down to see Piggy. I made up a 30C water potency and with bottle in hand, left to see the patient.
A forlorn Piggy met me at the door. She now had an Ace bandage wrapped around her chest and looked very ill. Karen brought her into the kitchen and proceeded to unwrap the bindings. The tumor had indeed ruptured and the skin had retracted back around the white sponge -like mass, which appeared to be slightly larger in size and shape than a jumbo sized egg. There was only slight discharge and no blood. The area was cleaned twice a day with honey applied topically before re-bandaging. Piggy was basically calm throughout. She only became upset when she was given a dose of antibiotic that the vet had prescribed. The ensuing struggle usually resulted in a disgruntled cat decorated with liberal splotches of pink on her white fur.
After a discussion how to dose the water potency, we jointly decided that the remedy should be administered once in the morning and once in the evening. Much to everyone’s amazement, the Phytolacca had an immediate effect and the tumor began to shrink. Karen continued her treatment with honey and fresh bandaging. The tumor continued to shrink in size as the days clicked by.
About two weeks later, there was a distinctive foul smell from the bacterial discharge around the tumor and some bleeding from the edges of the opening. Piggy continued to resist the antibiotic, but would now actually reach with her paws for the syringe with Phytolacca water potency. However she was dehydrated and Dr. Lynn had put her on an intravenous solution, which Karen, who has a medical background, was able to administer.
Another quick search of the homeopathic books revealed a feline tumor case where the homeopath used Carbo Animalis. Many of the key symptoms matched, such as this case being a final stage of breast cancer, and the ichorous offensive discharge. I made up another water potency, which was promptly delivered to Karen.
A few days later Karen reported that she had been able to discontinue the oral antibiotic, which was a relief to all parties involved. The new remedy was working. The smell and the bleeding around the edges had ceased. Piggy herself came to give me a formal greeting at the door with plumy tail held high. The tumor and the bacterial inflammation continued to shrink. All of us were amazed at how well the remedies were working.
The following week, Piggy started to decline again and was back on the IV fluids. The tumor had flattened out and was now about the size of a half dollar. The area of bacteria was reduced to about the size of a nickel. On July 5th, she passed away quietly from heart failure, while wrapped in her favorite blanket on Karen’s lap. All in all, Piggy had survived just over seven additional weeks.
One of the first homeopathic lectures I read many years ago pointed out that the homeopathic treatment of animals was one of the truest tests of the efficacy of homeopathy. The remedies that would be used for a human patient are the same remedies that would be used on an animal with matching symptoms. However the animal (whether domesticated or wild) only knows that “whatever that was” makes it feel better. It brings no preconceived ideas about homeopathy to the table. In Karen’s own words, “I truly do think Piggy knew it was helping her and when she eagerly tried to grasp it into her mouth with her paws, I knew she found comfort taking it. The vet only allowed me to continue caring for her at home because I had a nursing background and the charity president had shown me how to give the IV fluids and antibiotic injection. Otherwise Piggy would of had to been admitted to the animal hospital. I’m happy she stayed in the comfort if her own home. “
And that really is the bottom line in homeopathy. Helping others, be they human, feline, canine or what have you, feel better. Personally, I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to help Karen prolong Piggy’s life. We all learned a great deal from the experience.