Veterinary Homeopathy

Case Report: Rattlesnake Bite! Homeopathy Cured Two Foals

Written by Will Falconer

Veterinarian Will Falconer (DVM) reports on his homeopathic treatment of two foals bitten by rattlesnakes.

Reprinted courtesy Dr. Will Falconer DVM :


We live in snake country. Our conventional vets recommend the rattlesnake vaccine, but I wonder if there are any better alternatives?” Indeed there are. Homeopathy has a long history of saving those envenomated by poisonous snakes and I’ve had a few cases over the years that corroborate this.

Most near in my memory were a couple of curious foals who’d both been bitten on their muzzles. I was called rather late in the progression, days if not a week after the incident, and there was notable necrosis (dying flesh) on both foals’ noses.

Cora and Chiva are Kiger Mustangs, and in 2010, got too close to a rattler and got bitten. Here’s Michelle’s description, after she’d given a remedy I’d prescribed from my snake bite remedy kit the day before:

“Both girls swelled up badly; Cora on the right side of her face and Chiva both sides.  After the first remedy, they were still compromised in their breathing and lethargic, so I gave the second early evening  After the second dose of the second remedy, both relaxed after being unsettled all day, and took naps for a few hours.  They were able to eat better than I figured last night and were both in good spirits.

This morning, Cora’s face is almost normal and breathing regular.  Chiva seems worse, swelling higher up toward her eyes and her breathing is very labored.  She seemed to get the effects of the venom over a longer period of time yesterday (where the other filly was immediate), so I am hoping her response time is slower too and I’ll see improvement by this afternoon.”

That first remedy was Echinacea in homeopathic high potency, 10M. The herb and the remedy made from it both have a long history of helping snake bite victims. The Plains Indians reportedly used the herb successfully for this very purpose.

The next remedy, and the one that worked in this case and brought both foals back to normal was Lachesis, also in 10M potency. Cora probably had less venom, as she quickly responded, while Chiva took more doses over the next couple of days to improve. Both went on to heal completely and show no residual signs of snake bite within a few weeks.

Why Not Rattlesnake Vaccine?

The rattlesnake vaccine is of questionable efficacy. The manufacturer, Red Rock Biologics shows no study data to support efficacy at all. Hmmm. My guess is that this is because there is none. If there were data, that would be quite a selling point, wouldn’t you think?

Immunologists and UC Davis Vet School don’t think it’s worthy of recommending. A colleague of mine, practicing in snake country in S. California, relayed that Dr. Michael Peterson, DVM, MS, an expert in venom and snake bites, thinks the vaccine is a joke, and it was “laughed off the stage” at a human medical conference. If there’s immunity from this vaccine at all, it’s short lived. Some months, perhaps. Even the maker admits this.

Another point against its efficacy: the manufacturer urges the same rush to the ER and same intensive treatment whether your dog has had this vaccine or not when he received his snake bite. Doesn’t sound very convincing, does it?

Then there’s the safety question. As with all injections of foreign protein into an animal’s body, you really have to question the wisdom of such a procedure. Abscesses at the injection site have been reported, and here’s a case of autoimmune disease I found that came right after rattlesnake vaccination, with denial by the manufacturer at every turn. Rattlesnake vaccine is also quite expensive, often running $40 or more a shot, and a series is recommended.

The Safe and Efficacious Route: Homeopathy

There are several remedies known to help one respond to envenomation, be that from snakes or venomous insects. Besides Echinacea and Lachesis (the latter made from a venomous snake), those who took my acute homeopathy course will recall Ledum, a remedy famous for curing illness that comes of bites and stings of all sorts. The remedies are not used preventatively but in the face of a bite incident. Snake venom typically causes what the old masters referred to as “disorganization of the blood.” What? Well, if organization meant smooth flow and appropriate clotting ability, snake venom undoes all that.

Local Damage Done

It’s common to see local bite wound damage, as we saw in the foals’ example above. The circulation in the bite area is impaired and it’s not uncommon to see blue discoloration and feel coolness of the tissue. Those are both symptoms found in the remedy Ledum, as is local bleeding, another common outcome from snakebite. The remedy lachesis similarly has symptoms of blueness and hemorrhage, but is less known for coldness.

Systemic, Bodywide Effects

When a poisonous snake bites its prey, its venom not only causes local damage, but it immobilizes the victim, allowing capture and swallowing. We see the effects of snake bite on the general well being of our animal patients as well, which was why both Cora and Chiva had breathing troubles. As their bodies were grossly larger than a rattlesnake’s usual prey, they were unlikely to die of envenomation, but they surely didn’t feel well either.

Echinacea angustifolia, written up in the homeopathic materia medica includes symptoms of tiredness, weakness, aching in muscles, and “great debility.” The old words of “blood poisoning” and the more familiar ones like “septic conditions” and gangrene are found.

These are my top three remedies for snakebite, but here are some others worth your consideration.

My Own Intoxication: Scorpions!

One of the great things about homeopathic remedies (and, okay, also one of the difficult things) is that they are rarely a single remedy for a single condition. I’ll sometimes send someone to the store for a prescribed remedy when time is of the essence, and on reading the one line description on the vial, I’ll get an email back, asking if I’m sure their itchy dog should take a remedy for “upset stomach.”

How much can the poor manufacturers fit in one line about a remedy that has pages of symptoms in the homeopathic literature?

I live in scorpion territory here in Texas. As such, I’ve had many a painful sting, and I tried all the usual remedies one thinks of for stings, all without success: Apis, Ledum, Lachesis.

Finally, in the fire of pain from my last scorpion sting, I paid closer attention to how I was feeling systemically intoxicated. My lips and tongue had a strange numbness, a symptom I’d had in prior stings by these devils. As my mind went to remedies, I recalled Echinacea, known for this general intoxication symptom and how, when I’d taken the herb in tincture form, it had always made my tongue feel strangely numb. Eureka! That was enough similarity of remedy and my condition for this remedy to work. After a dose, I could immediately feel the local fire and the general feeling of intoxication subside. So, if you live in scorpion country, you may want to pick up some Echinacea. I’d get it in homeopathic form, but who knows? It could also work in tincture form.

Had any snake bites in your life? Tell us about it in the comments. And if you’re interested in my snake bite remedy kit, write me for the details on my Contact page. It is that time of year, after all.

About the author

Will Falconer

I was a very happy new graduate veterinarian in 1980, in a mixed practice, seeing lots of dairy cows, horses, and pets. The drugs and surgery I had been trained in seemed to “work” for the most part. Yet, I felt some discontent, even as I gained mastery in the treatments of the day. It wasn’t until I took certification training in homeopathy in 1992 that I felt as though I’d really come home. I saw amazing cures on my “homeopathic honeymoon,” the time when a new homeopath can (almost) do no wrong, and sees great results in seriously ill cases. One day my own cat Cali, in trying to have her first kittens, did so out in the wilds of Haleakala on Maui, and came dragging in with a horribly infected uterus, leaking a foul smelling discharge. Even antibiotics would have a hard time helping her. Cali was treated with pyrogenium 30C. After a few doses and a couple of uterine flushes with a bit of anti-infective Chinese herb (Yunnan Paiyao), Cali made a full and remarkable recovery. I had an “Ah-ha!” moment, and I put the antibiotics away for good.


  • Hey Will,

    Great cases! Veterinary homeopathy truly extends the boundaries of this wonderful medicine, because vets are allowed to treat cases that human practitioners wouldn’t dare touch. Thank you for sending these!

    Wendy Jensen, DVM

  • I’ve liked your article very much, sir. Now I know that there are homeopaths with experience in treating snake bites with homeopathy.
    As I live in a little farm in Brasilia, Brazil, the information you’ve so generouly shared here is invaluable.
    Many thanks!

  • thank you for your article. A family member living in Australia recently lost her dog after a snake bite. I did talk to her about contacting a homeopath but she was unsure and as the dog had anti venom already she thought the dog would recover. sadly that was not the case

  • Susan went to live on the other side of the country. Her dog was bitten, by what, no-one knew. But the dog was deteriorating to the point her family members were urging her to kill the dog. She refused and contacted me. The extra symptom of purple discolouration of the skin near the problem area made me prescribe Lachesis. She had to drive two hours to get a few meagre pillules of 200c from a vet. The dog fully recovered and is as normal today. Hopefully, the family learned something from that! Susan now has a first aid kit!

    • Thank you, Madeleine Innocent!
      I need to hear lots of cases like yours. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea that homeopathy would not be effective against the violence of snake venoms.
      I hope more people will submit their success and failure cases.
      Many, many thanks!

  • Thank you Dr. Falconer. We live in Arkansas and there’s Cottonmouth and Copperhead and I was worried about my dogs. I remember about Lachesis but luckily my dogs have not gotten into anything but it is always good to keep in mind in the event of such attack.

    Appreciate the information

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