Presentation of the case and spontaneous anamnesis
“ Orore ” is a beautiful, long-haired red Kaninchen-dachshhund, which Mrs. K. from the neighbouring village of D… came to show me, a homœopathic vet, on April 2nd 1991. It was as a last resort in desperation, despite the opinion of her sceptical husband, a newly retired, yet staunch confirmed allopathic general Practitioner.
“ Orore ” has remained paralysed, crawling along like a seal on its forelegs, after jumping into the air in an awkward leap on a Saturday in December 1985. At the time, Mrs K. had had to wait until the following Saturday to show the little animal to her vet. Apart from surgery, every single allopathic treatment was tried on her. With tremendous patience and constancy, Mrs K.… had refused to give up, rejecting every available fitting, continually massaging the bitch, day in day out, which certainly avoided complete vanishing of dorsal and hindleg muscles.
It may be noted that ever since her accident, “ Orore ” had short fits of convulsions, approximatively every ten days. The fits were short and followed by restlessness. They occurred unexpectedly, more often when the animal was sleeping at night: “ From one second to the other, the fit starts. ” Her teeth started chattering and she shook her head about and her whole body trembled all over for some thirty seconds; then she exhaled and inhaled once deeply. If the fit lasted for a long period of time, she sometimes urinated a few drops. Once she even did bite her tongue. But once the fit was over, she would calm down and want to go for a “walk ”. She usually spends the night by her mistress’s side in her bed.
“ Orore ” is really a nice miniature of a dachshund; she does not show any characteristics of pathological dwarfishness. She fiercely protects her mistress and loves to nestle in her arms. She mistrusts the vet and refuses any kind of approach. Her eyes are lively, her coat is glossy and her bearing is proud. The functional exploration with a needle reveals a slight sensitivity at the tip of her tail as well as between the foot-pads: the needle-prick brings about a light movement. When left on her own, on the examination table, the little animal straightens up on her forelegs and drags her “ lifeless ” hindquarters along behind. The hindlegs feel normally warm to the touch and though they show no muscle tonus, they still show a few muscles and do not hang limp like a ragdoll. The spine can be felt protruding obviously. It must however be kept in mind that ever since the accident, for six full years, Mrs. K. continued to massage her little beloved pet for between half to one hour a day.
An attempt to explore and treat through osteopathy failed completely: the bitch kept jumping frantically up and down on its forelegs and kept fidgeting under my hand despite her mistress’s ineffectual efforts to keep her still. I can only locate an osteopathical jamming between the third and fourth lumbar vertebra. I have no chance to resolve this, but by percussion (even this being a problem) under the sardonic eye of Dr. K. who very kindly says: “ Go on ! Do whatever You like ! Do as You please! I am just like doubting Thomas! I just watch! ”
The diagnosis seems evident. nevertheless I have very little to sink my teeth into and try to find some homœopathic medication. As for the success of my osteopathy, how could one dream of treating a neuralgic lesion five years after an accident, and what is more, on a little dog that jumps up and down between the table and my hand like a mad basket-ball. Personally I would not count too much on it !
The convulsions are secondary but there still remains this original traumatic vertebral lesion ! So I decide to prescribe Natrum sulfuricum 30 C, two half doses after a week’s interval, in the hope of ridding the nerve tissues of every remaining post-traumatic œdema. Then, in search of a real Simile, I produce my secret weapon: Henry Voisin’s Repertory for practitioners. In the chapter about “ Paralyses ”, on page 513, I can read a warning: “ Homœopathy can only be successful if the nervous lesion is not too old (no more than a year) and if the lesions are not irreversible. Furthermore I find an advice: “The medication should be given in high or very high dilutions, but very frequently (when need be, every two to three days) ”. For motor paralyses (there still remains a very faint sensitivity with some muscular atrophy) I find Arsenicum album: sensitive motor paralysis with cold limbs. But the legs are warm and “ Orore ” has kept the bearing of a young dog.Cresol would have cold paw-tips with kidney and liver problems, perhaps even with dyspnœa. Plumbum and Plumbum iodatum would be even more constipated because of inactivity. They would shake much more and show retracted flexor muscles.Bungarus fasciatus stands there for a progressive paralysis of central origin with marked amyotrophy. So I finally opt for Bungarus fasciatus 30 C (3 granules morning and evening for five days). The remedy quoted in Voisin’s Repertory and in Kollitsch’s Materia Medica, has no true pathogenesis, but just a bare precise clinical indication: “Progressive paralysis of central or medullar origin with a quick or marked amyotrophy. ”Of course I don’t find the marked amyotrophy, but this objection falls when one thinks that Mrs. K. massaged her pet every day for an hour. Now what is Bungarus fasciatus ? It is a snake-eating venomous Elapid, which obviously has to paralyse its preys as quickly as possible.
Results and following episodes
• 5 / 4 / 91: “ Orore ” stands on her four legs almost on her own, when left to stand, she lurches a little before toppling over on her side. Two more days treatment …
• 26 / 4 / 91: “ Orore ” manages to walk some fifty steps. She actually manages to get up but still falls over when attempting corners.
• 24 / 5 / 91: Since the animal has stopped improving, I prescribe Bungarus fasciatus 30 C again for 5 – 6 days.
• 6 / 6 / 91: I see “ Orore ” again. She cannot keep still and shivers a lot when we leave her on her own. In the garden, on the gravel, she gets up again without any help and darts away, her whole body shaking all the time, falls on the ground, gets up again without any help and starts on again. She walks better in the forest than on the tarmac, despite all the obstacles, says her mistress.
• 21 / 6 / 91: A phone call tells me “ Orore ” walks for over 300 meters without any help, without the slightest problem, though she occasionally falls over once or twice on her side. What is more, since last May, “ Orore ” has not had the smallest convulsion. So we stop every treatment and decide to wait under the watchful though incredulous eye of our doubting Thomas.
Longer term appreciation
As I was to start describing this clinical case, to set my mind at rest, I decided to phone Mrs. K. to get some news from “ Orore ” and heard the following:
• In October 1991 “ Orore ” went back to her regular veterinary surgeon for her compulsory annual antirabic injection. My colleague examines her thoroughly, notices that she has still vaginal discharges some three weeks after being on heat and her body temperature has risen to 40 º C. He also finds two cysts on her pectoral teats. “ To prevent any mammary cancer ” he persuades Mrs. K. to let the little animal undergo an ovariectomy. The operation is quite successful.
• On December 22nd 1991, during the night, “ Orore ” has a slight epileptic-like fit. These last days she has found it a little more difficult to walk, so I prescribe 6 granules of Bungarus fasciatus 30 C.
• On the first of January 1992, Mrs K. phones me, wishing me “a happy new year” and announces that “ Orore ” once more follows her, during her walks in the forest, accompanied by her husband, the sceptical allopathic General Practitioner who remains quite puzzled at such a “placebo effect” !
• On March 7th 1992, I hear that “ Orore ” who has had no convulsive fits for two months, has just had a small one. I had prescribed a single dose of Tarentula 30 C the beginning of January after the fits of December: Tarentula++ is the only remedy given by Kent’s repertory (p.1352) against convulsions due to compression of the spinal column. Since then everything had been for the best in all possible areas.
• On May 15th 1992 “ Orore ” has diarrhœa. Her allopathic master stops it immediately by giving her Imodium™ twice, without even telling me. To her master’s surprise, on the next day a vast rash area appears on her belly. Treating such a disease with local anti-inflammatory containing Dexamethasone™ is a classical reflex for dermatologists. Dr. K. did it !
• The morning after “ Orore ” remains downcast and sad, refusing all food and for the first time refuses to welcome her beloved mistress.
• On May 17th 1992 (viz 2 days later) the red blotches have disappeared on her belly. The little dog finds it very difficult to stand up, and after that remains paralysed again, but this time without the slightest sensitive reflex. A new treatment with Bungarus fasciatus remains useless. The former epileptic-like fits recur even more often. Tarentula does not work any more. … “ Orore ” stays sad and morose.
• By the end of May 1992 a final intravenous injection of T 61™ puts an end to “ Orore ”’s sufferings.
What about Bungarus fasciatus ?
Bungarus fasciatus is an annulated Ophidian, a Colubrid, Elapid snake-eating snake from Thaïland, where it is also called “ krait ” or “ karait ”. It can reach up to two meters long and displays a beautiful ringed pattern of black, red and yellow (similar to the coral snake). It shows a protruding backbone, a prominent ridge along the back, giving it a starved appearance, as though its back muscles had melted away. Its pupils stay wide open and it seems to be photophobic. In the day-time it remains asleep and harmless, but appears to be very active at night. It feeds on lizards, fish and other snakes (cold-blooded preys). It is said to hatch its eggs in holes and beneath fermenting trash. Its venom is highly neurotoxic and may kill an adult in half an hour by paralysing the victim’s nervous centers. This venom is used to prepare the remedy.
After having used it successfully several times in paralyses of dog hindquarters after discopathies (on 2 dachshunds, a cocker spaniel and a basset-hound cross-breed), generally after an osteopathic treatment aiming to replace the vertebra and decompress the spinal chord, I think I may well assert the following facts:
The remedy seems to act in paralyses caused by spinal or cerebral disturbances similar to those cured by Plumbum, but doesn’t have the dryness, the abdominal spasms nor the well-known constipation shown by the metallic remedy. Furthermore, I believe that whether sudden or progressive, the appearance of locomotive troubles plays a lesser part than the fast melting of the muscle mass (cf Plb) though the latter may be checked, – at least partly – by various interventions such as physiotherapy.
A Shi-tzu suffering from post-traumatic paralysis of the right optic nerve showed a permanently wide open pupil, just like the snake. He was treated with a few gifts of Bungarus fasciatus in high dynamisations (XMK and CMK) in close association with osteopathic interventions and recovered normal pupil-reflexes. The fact that a snake venom can be injected and acts on any animal might perhaps lower the level of similitude necessary to an efficient homœopathic prescription … without too specific idiosyncrasy.
For Bungarus fasciatus, one ought to remember : Paralysis whether sudden or progressive, due to central or spinal disturbance with swift amyotrophy.
I might add that this remedy which I recommended to two fellow physicians, proved efficient under their prescription, provided the affliction had a central origin and displayed a certain amyotrophy, even if a very light one.
• Voisin, Henry : “ Thérapeutique et Répertoire Homéopathique du Praticien ” ; 1978 ; Edit. Maloine & L.H.F.
• Kollitsch, Paul : “ Homéopathie ” ; 1989 ; Edit.: Helios, Genève.
• Grzimek, Bernhard : “ Le monde animal en 13 volumes ” ; vol. VI : les Reptiles; 1974 ; Edit. Stauffacher , Zurich
• Graham Netting : “ Collier’s Encyclopedia ”