Veterinary Homeopathy

A Case of Severe Chronic Podo-dermatitis in a Terrier

shih terrier

Dr. Edward De Beukelaer presents a case of podo-dermatitis in a Shih Tzu Terrier.

shih_terrierThis 18 month old male pure Shih Tzu terrier suffers with a severe chronic podo-dermatitis which over time has caused severe thickening of the skin folds between the pads to the point that the whole foot appears deformed. The irritation of the skin is painful and causes lameness unless he is treated (or has recently been treated) with antibiotics. The rest of his skin is fine. This problem started at the age of 7 months.

At one year old a section was taken out of his elbow shaft (r. leg) to treat an elbow incongruency.  He has a very under-shot jaw.

He is a little bit spoiled and grumbles when he does not like something.

‘He is stubborn, opinionated and always answers back. He will take all the toys out of his box just to have the one he wants. He is kind, and protective of his mum (owner), and when our other dogs try to get in the kitchen he chases them out. These are the outside dogs that live in the conservatory. As soon as I say ‘get out’ to these dogs, he will run to them and growl and bite them; he is feisty, but he only does it when I tell them to go. When they come in during the evening he is fine, he plays with them; he knows it is ok, he does not mind them being stroked etc, he gets on really well with them, they play etc.’

‘He likes to ride other dogs; he does it to both males and females, he does not do this at home. He will ride any dog that comes to the workplace (dog groomers).  None of the dogs ever snapped at him. I grab him to take him away and he is fine.He is very well behaved; he always comes with me, he never needs a lead, he is a very good boy.’

He will play with other dogs on walks, he runs around, he loves the other dogs, he never mounts the other dogs on walks, he only does this in the grooming parlour, at home he never does it.

‘He is so easy, the easiest dog ever, I can leave the front door open all day, he will just have a mooch around and not run off. He does not like loud noises, cars bikes; a bike coming by the house and he is under the seat. He hates loud noises. There is no explanation for this. He is fine with the cars coming by the dog parlour but when they make a loud noise he is straight inside and looks out from behind the door to see whether it is still there.’

‘He is not a lapdog, would not like to sit on your lap; he would do things in his own way. He will lie on the mat suckling his toy, always sucks his toy. He does not shake from the noises; he looks around the corner to see whether it is still there. I am the boss not he; he is fine with it. He will be under my chair on the floor; after I have finished he goes playing with a toy. He comes to work with me every day; he would be fine if I were to leave him at home, he is just pleased to see us when we come back.’

‘His purpose in life is to be with me. Sometimes it feels as if he is addicted to me. He has to be wherever I am. But when I tell him he has to stay then that is fine, I tell him he stays and then that is what he does. If I would walk out of the house without saying anything it would be different. When there is a bad atmosphere in the house he goes quiet, he just lies there and looks, he is not having a great day (his security is gone then).’

‘Although he is addicted to me, he does not want to be cuddled. I think he loves himself; he walks around with his tail really high.’

‘He hears anything; he is fearful of the loud noises. He is not upset about bangs and thunderstorm; the big dogs are scared of it but it does not affect him. He is fine with the Hoover. He does not try to dominate the other dogs.’

‘He is really excited when the other dogs come in; it is not sexual, never any erections etc, he humps on their back. When a dog is unpleasant to him, he backs off and then goes back to play again. He is cocky… ‘what dog would want to bite me’?’

‘He is happy on the lead unless he wants to stop and have a wee: he then juts slips his collar, even with a collar that is tight. When he slips his collar to do what he wants he will come back to me when he has finished. He looks around and then will come when I am gone. He will not listen at that time.’

‘He has been mounting the other dogs as soon as he came to the parlour at 4 months old, before he was sexually mature.’

He is happy in the surgery; he walks around a bit, lies on the owner’s chair and a little later he lies next to me. He is happy for a stroke; he turns over not bothered.


There is not much to hang my hat on in this case and I prescribe Neodynum muriaticum 1M one dose, based on the idea that he is his own self but still needs the presence of the owner.

Follow up:

The feet get worse for 2 weeks and then they get much better.

But 7 months later it is obvious we have not gone in the right direction.

His ears have started to weep, they are itchy and his leg that was operated on is painful in the damp weather. He finds it difficult going for a walk, he lacks in energy.

‘At the grooming parlour he hides in the cupboard now. A month ago he decided he does not like it there; he comes out for the occasional dog and has a little ride on their back. He used to be really cocky but now he is shaking. I cannot think of anything that may have happened.’

‘He does not like noise very much, maybe the noises made him worse?’

‘He shoots home from far away when there is banging in the field, he hates the steamer. They clean the cars next door to the dog parlour: it makes a funny noise as if exploding.’

‘The feet still break out every so often but not as bad as they used to, it does not affect him so much anymore.’ (The feet look better indeed.)

‘He loves cocker spaniels, he loved the cocker spaniel I kept when he was young (he was 3 months old): they did not play but he followed him around everywhere. He pined when the cocker spaniel went back home. Since then he loves cocker spaniels; we nearly thought of getting one as a companion for him: he was so sad. His tail was down,… looking everywhere for him, sniffing and looking out in the garden, he was only a baby when this happened. He plays better with cocker spaniels than any other dog. He will sit by their kennel when we have one in the grooming parlour.’

‘He is not a cuddly dog, he loves playing but it has to be rough and tumble, tearing around, otherwise he loses interest. He does not take advantage of being spoiled.The other dogs may bite him when he mounts them and he does not care: the more they snap at him the more interested he is in them. When strangers come in the house he goes upstairs and hides under the bed; he does not like it at all, he only likes friends and family. He hates people. He does not like them coming in his house: it is an invasion of his place ‘that is where I am’.

‘He is fine outside his home to meet people. They can stroke him and he takes no notice. He does not go away from them, he just does not take any notice. He hides under something at home and does not want to come out, he falls asleep there’


This rather cool dog appears to be affected by noise. Since the ‘explosive’ noises from washing the cars he has become worried in the grooming parlour. He hides.

He hates unknown people coming into his house; the owner literally said: ‘It is an invasion of his space ’that is where I am’. (He does not mind them outside his house!)

Based on these two observations I prescribe: Borax 200 for 3 days

Feedback a few months later: ‘He is so much better’.

The following year he will take the Borax 200 for a hot spot on the face, then later a new outbreak of abscesses on his feet. This time the owner continues to dose the remedy and the abscess on the foot does not heal. I stop the remedy and I prescribe a few days of antibiotics (always a good way to antidote a remedy) and the foot abscess goes in 2 days and never comes back.

He stopped riding the dogs in the grooming parlour and is not worried about the loud noises anymore. The feedback of the last 18 months is always the same, Brian is doing fine. The feet look more or less normal now. He used to get abscesses regularly and that has not happened anymore. He is not lame anymore.

According to Marc Brunson the essence of the remedy Borax is: ‘the safety of the nest’. Anything that threatens the patient to lose the safety of the nest (or makes the patient think they are going to lose their safe nest) aggravates.

About the author

Edward De Beukelaer

Edward De Beukelaer, DVM mrcvs, practices classical homeopathy for animals in the UK (Wiltshire and Gloucestershire). 5 St David's Way Marlborough SN8 1DH 07786213636 c/o Riverside Veterinary Centre, Marlborough, Wiltshire, 0167205140875 Severnside Veterinary Group, Lydney, Gloucestershire, 01594 842185 Visit his websites: and

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