Veterinary Homeopathy

False Gestation and Nervous Lactation

millemann feb image
Written by Jacques Millemann

The author, a homeopathic veterinarian with many years of experience, discusses the treatment of false or phantom gestation.

In packs of wolves, several females often suckle the pups of a same litter. This is something they can only achieve by lactating without having given birth. It seems that all the females synchronise their hormonal cycle with the dominant animal. Similar phenomena have been observed in women, although quite seldom (but it seems interesting to think of the way wet nurses were selected in the old days). Specialists still argue about the origin of such pathologies. Is this a natural physiological process or a minor hormonal disorder? At any rate phantom pregnancy and the following spontaneous lactation, are monitored by the central nervous system. It is in control of the hypothalamus and its next gland the pituitary gland, ruling the endocrine glands, which in turn monitor through hormones the condition of any living body. Synchronisation between individuals occurs quite naturally thanks to the pheromones, either smelled or felt otherwise.

Description of the phenomena

Phantom gestation
Except for the presence of an embryo in the womb, there are no differences between an actual gestation and a phantom one. When phantom, it can last longer or shorter than the usual 58 to 65 standard days. An increase of the appetite and size of the bitch may occur at the end of it, but not necessarily.

Towards the end of the due time, the bitch shows some agitation. She goes in circles, gets agitated, hides frequently in dark corners, digs holes in the garden or in sheltered spots, moans and may try to make her owner’s bed hers.

Spontaneous lactation
In this area, bitches may differ a lot. The udders may be swollen or not, hot and congested or not, there may be milk, a clear serous fluid looking like colostrums, or there may be no oozing at all. The bitch may complain, moan and sometimes try to suck herself. Sometimes she takes a toy with her, mothering it, watches it, gets violent with it and defends it fiercely if necessary. This agitation, aggressiveness, the moaning, in a nutshell this unusual behaviour may get annoying for her masters who then ask for an efficient cure.

Some say that repeated phantom gestation in bitches leads on a short term basis to a marked increase in mammary tumours. If not, we may classify this apparently benign infection under the heading of sycosis and agree to a predisposition in some individuals. In this latter case, spontaneous lactation would simply be a symptom of a morbid tendency. This clinical observation becomes an issue for a lot of allopath colleagues who advise castration or an hystero ovariectomy to prevent such pathologies. In my opinion, this tendency to degenerate into cancers is a logical consequence of repeated suppressions due to harsh or inadequate therapies targeted on eliminating the symptoms. For this reason, I mistrust greatly hormone based treatments or treatments based on homeopathic complexes, including among others, Lac caninum, the nosode for spontaneous lactation.

Treatment Based on etiology
To cure disorders of a psychosomatic origin, such a treatment may prove efficient. It consists in taking the animal aback and occupying her, distracting her from her futile occupations. Leave her without food (but let her drink) for two days and ignore her. Very often this brutal but harmless method is enough to get things back in order.

Added to such an indifferent behaviour from the owners, you can have her drink sage herbal tea (provided she accepts drinking it instead of water), diuretics and/or a purge (1 or 2 spoonfuls of paraffin oil or better olive oil). To make this purge more appetising you can use the oil of a tin of sardines.

Local treatment
To fight against congestion in hot and swollen udders, several solutions are possible:

  • a plaster made with clay and a bit of cider vinegar applied on the udders,
  • compresses of spirit of camphor,
  • whiting mixed with a bit of vinegar.
  • Those of you who have shaved with a knife may know of the properties of alum, to stop the bleeding of small cuts. Alum mixed with an egg white will make a sticky mixture that may be put on the udders.
  • Those keen on aromatherapy will vouch for chopped fresh parsley compresses.

Massages are not advisable, not even to rub a plaster or cream. Such stimulation is much too close to the movements of pups suckling and tends to increase galactorrhea, which is precisely what must be avoided.

Allopathic treatment
Results are not guaranteed. Treatments prove so disappointing that many colleagues advise for plain castration, with the risk of replacing minor trouble by incontinence or hair loss. This solution would however present the advantage of diminishing the static risk of future mammary tumours, but even so, it is not always 100% efficient and must take place after the second heat period.

Local treatments, based on ointments all ask for long light massages and contain decongestant substances (camphor, antipyrin…), and sometimes hormones.

Other medicines oral or parenteral contain mostly hormones or hormonal substances (antiprolactine, such as Parlodel ND, Dogalact ND or folliculinics) with sometimes diuretics such as mouse ear or purgatives.

These treatments while preventing galactorrhea actually result in a suppression. Furthermore, they often have undesirable side effects, especially in Pulsatilla bitches who are the most common patients for phantom pregnancy.

Homeopathic treatment
This is most certainly the most efficient treatment, especially when well thought out and adapted to the individual bitch to be treated. It is actually very rare to have to cure more than two phantom gestations in a row. In most cases, the time following the second heat period is not as hectic as the first one and the following period is generally normal.

Repertorial part
We have first of all a rather sizable theoretical problem to face: the phantom pregnancy syndrome is much less frequent in women than in bitches. As a logical result, from the start onwards, our repertories prove biased with incomplete rubrics which should mention many more remedies than the ones present. This does not exclude their usefulness and we may get near to finding the right remedy from the following rubrics.

Mental symptoms
With two rubrics for these bitches prone to mothering and walking a toy.

  • Delusion, nursing her child, she was (K p30)* (B. T.:I 316) (and I would personally add Ignatia)
  • Delusion, inanimate objects are persons (K28) (BI 298) (and I would personally add Pulsatilla in this rubric)

Local symptoms

  • Milk, in non pregnant women (K 837).
  • Swelling mammae with secretion of milk (K881).

The four rubrics of the repertory I have just mentioned are usually used for spontaneous lactation but they are indeed very limited for bitches. As I have mentioned before, phantom gestation and spontaneous lactation occur seldom in women, if only for physiological reasons. We may add to their list of remedies Lac caninum (usually in high proportion in homeopathic complexes to treat spontaneous lactation) and also Salvia officinalis, which has been successfully used to stop lactation in bovines (and also to start it again). In all, we obtain the following list of remedies, although certainly not complete.

Arsenicum, Atro, Asafoetida, Belladonna, Borax, Calcarea, Cyclamen, Ignatia , Lac-c., Lycopodium,
Mercurius, Nat p, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Rhus-t., Salvia off., Stramonium,Tuberculinum, Urt.

Other rubrics may be used, such as:

  • Milk, weaning after (K838) (K838)
  • Delusion, pregnant thought herself (K30 et BI 339*)
  • Delusion, animals , abdomen are in (K21)
  • Labor pretends to be in, or thinks she has pain (K28)

These do not exactly correspond to our case study but may be used to confirm or make more remedies available. Do not forget that the symptom “Milk in non pregnant women” is a local symptom and must be treated as such in your repertorisation process. The last of the four symptoms just mentioned is quite adequate for bitches trying to dig a hole for their purported offspring.

I have been lucky enough to find other interesting rubrics in less common and classical repertories, overlooked or forgotten by compilers. See for instance :

  • Clarke’s clinical repertory: p. 103 Pregnancy, imaginary : Caulophyllum, Croc., Nux-v., Thuja, Veratrum With two extra remedies, i.e. Caulophyllum et Nux-v.
  • Kollistch p.681 with the rubric “Lactation sans grossesse (lactation without pregnancy): Puls., Urt-u. et Asaf”.
  • The Obstetric Mentor by Clarence M. Conant gives furthermore very interesting notes on the different aspects of the milk secreted by the different remedy types when unbalanced.
  • Boger’s repertory gives under spontaneous lactation (Milk in non pregnant women): Asafoetida, Cyclamen, Mercurius, Pulsatilla et Thlaspi.

We may then classify these remedies as follows:

Main remedies Secondary remedies
Arsenicum, Atro., Asafoetida, Belladonna, Borax, Calcarea, ., Croc., Cyclamen, Ignatia, Lac-c., Lycopodium, Mercurius, (Nat.-p.), Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Rhus-t., Stramonium, Urt.-u., Apis, Caulophyllum, Conium, Croc., Helonias, Ignatia, Nux-v., Opium, Sabad., Sulf., Thlaspi, Thuja, Tuberculinum, Veratrum, Vip.

As always, feel free to use a remedy not mentioned in these rubrics to cure a phantom gestation, provided all the other symptoms point at it.

You can also combine external ointments with granules. To help pick up the right remedy, you may use this diagram. The most efficient treatment will be the one closest to the bitch’s behaviour. Choose the given remedy marked in bold italics in the diagram and give a single dose of granules in 15CH. At any rate, ponder your decision and make sure to avoid suppressions.

It is interesting to note that we get two types of remedies here, on the one hand, the standard polychrests and some other less well known remedies with genital tropism, or even more or less spastic metrorrhagia like Caulophyllum, Crocus, Thlaspi. Only one of them, Urtica urens, seems different but is still not very well known.

On the other hand, only Salvia shows a peculiar and direct tropism for lactation. We should however not forget the almost ocytoxic action of Asa fœtida, in emptying the udder (and hence in galactorrhea). Somehow, Natrum phosphoricum seems to me a bit odd in this list.

All the considered remedies are anxious and agitated and most of them show some congestion of the chest.

Most of these remedies are located on the upper half of this diagram which implies they offer good reversibility and confirm the generally benign character of what we may eventually call “syndrome”. Nine remedies are in the Sodium group and play a part in the management of water in the organism. They are not the most frequent, if you except Ignatia, commonly used in Germany in the treatment of this affection when psychological signs are more salient than physical ones.

Other remedies with inflammatory aspects are more frequent: the strongest being Calcarea carbonica. Two others are Mercurius and Rhus tox, but personally, I have never found them in this pseudopathology. Phosphorus with its fiery side and known altruism is somewhat different, but still belongs to the category of interest. It shows rather worrying traces of degeneration. Pulsatilla, best of the best for spontaneous lactation and Salvia, which also belongs to the Silicium group, are to be found with Lac-c., the specific nosode integrated in most complex remedies for such disorders. The frequency of mammary tumours is shown under a different light. A badly administered treatment for phantom gestation and spontaneous lactation naturally leads to the suppression of a discharge or a plain suppression. Arsenicum and Veratrum remain close by. And then, we have Lachesis, not to be found in the rubrics of repertories under such headings, but which I see fits in this picture.

To verify my opinion on the consequences of a spontaneous lactation suppression, I would quote Boericke’s rubric “Milk too profuse (to dry up during weaning)” which gives the following remedies: Asafoetida, Bryonia, Calc., Conium, Lac-c., Puls., Urt.-u., and these are precisely the ones combined in complex drugs or in the “try out and see” method (note that Ignatia is as commonly used to cure such affections in The Netherlands and Germany, as Pulsatilla is in France).

Remedy pictures prone to false lactation

Arsenicum album
She’s an anxious and agitated bitch, always moving about, extremely sensitive to noise and light. Usually skinny, she may be prone to complain or be bad tempered. She has times for her routines and conforms to rituals she sometimes imagined herself, such as turning around the same armchair before going out. Any change in her habits, moving the furniture, changing the place of her feeding bowl puts her off. Very respectful of order and hierarchy, she is afraid of being alone and cannot stand being stared at. She has a lot of difficulties to adapt when away from home or after a removal. Her anxiety increases at night, and she keeps moving about. She is aggravated by cold and humid atmospheres and ameliorated by heat. She will then systematically try to find the warmest spot, close to a radiator or a coal range. There is a tendency to excretions and secretions, more or less bloodied and purulent, but with a distinct decaying smell. She drinks often, as if to do something, in small quantities which she may vomit straight away. She will feel better with hot compresses on her cold flaccid udders, slightly swollen by a bit of sour milk.

She is rather plump and likes to complain but is hypersensitive. Like Arsenicum album she is agitated at night. Hysterical with a spastic predisposition she needs affection. Ameliorated by movement and open air, she continuously asks to get out. Her bad digestion often causes nausea, burping or sudden flatulences, generally with a foul smell. She cannot stand hot compresses on her udders, which are swollen, full of milk, but not too hot. She does not like them being touched at all.

Belladonna is yet another agitated, complaining and hypersensitive bitch. Very sensitive to jolts (in a car for example), to noise (which she does not like), she cannot bear being touched. Her mucous membranes are dry. She is either very thirsty, or not at all. Aggravated in the afternoon, she hides to be at peace. When disturbed, she may bite furiously. Quite destructive, she sometimes pulls her hair or reduces her blanket to pieces. When in her heat period, her blood is bright red with clots. Her udders are very congested, hot, swollen, red and painful (Calor, Rubor, Dolor, Tumor). She may even not be able to lie on them and would tend to adopt a lying position on her side. Her milk may come out on its own. She often mothers her toys, hides in dark corners, barks when people pass by and even tries to bite them (She defends her imaginary litter -Bernard Heude).

Very close to Belladonna but with a marked exacerbation of mental symptoms. Hypersensitive, prone to delirium, irritable, she often mothers her toys. Locally we note the symptomatic key factors: Calor, Rubor, Dolor, Tumor.

The Borax bitch is also very nervous and moaning. Sudden noises scare her (slamming door, gunshot) and going down in a lift is torture. She fears down movements and refuses to be carried. She feels better in cold weather. She is ameliorated in the evening and likes lying down on her udders. These are not swollen but full of milk, which may flow as easily in Belladonna.

Calcarea carbonica
Often a bit plump, lymphatic and lazy, she is however anxious. She is either bulimic or has a capricious appetite, she may refuse to eat meat and prefer eggs, go for acid food (salad with its sauce) or inedible stuff (wood, paper, pebbles for instance). Afraid of being starved, she may hide food under a blanket (something she does not normally do says Bernard Heude). Generally rather quiet, she can get angry when disturbed. She absolutely hates being alone. Usually constipated, she may get sudden diarrhoea. She tires quickly with any physical effort and does not like damp cold. Her udders are hard, swollen, hot and painful, right from the beginning of her heat period. It is generally long too soon (often every four months) and profuse. To feel better, she lies on fresh terracotta tiles and leaves milk stains behind. She likes cold compresses. She continuously mothers and takes a toy with her and growls or bites if you want to take it from her (this is a clinical observation, even though Calcarea carbonica does not appear under the rubric “Delusion: inanimate objects are persons”).

Cyclamen shows varying moods and quite likes being left alone. Like Pulsatilla, she is as afraid to be abandoned but would not seek refuge on the knees of her owner: she prefers being in the next room or in the corridor. She refuses to go out, her knees are weak and she may feel dizzy or have sight problems because of gastric or genital problems. Hiccups are common. Her pathology is very close to Pulsatilla: changing moods, passive venous stasis, varying erratic disorders, amelioration with slow movement. She is neither hungry nor thirsty and often vomits. She cannot bear cold compresses, but often comes to be stroked on her udders, swollen with milk, but neither hot nor inflamed.

As usual, on the clinical picture of this remedy with a great psychosomatic side, emotions rule her character. Physical symptoms remain discreet. Her udders are not too apparent, neither hot nor swollen. There is very little milk. Her behaviour varies a lot. She tends to stay in the corridor when the family is in the living room. Her heat periods are spaced out, often only once a year. She yawns and sighs a lot to get your attention on her difficult burden, which is to remain secret, as she is too proud to let you share it. A real coward, her senses are extremely sensitive (particularly to noise), she is quietened by routines. She becomes a real pain in the neck trying to find a place for her purported litter. She may go as far as suffering hysterical pains as if she was giving birth. She can be persuasive enough to have her owners ask for an X-ray or a scan to make sure she is not actually gravid. As can be expected, she mothers a toy, a slipper or anything else with great care.

Lac caninum
Lac caninum is hypersensitive to light and noise. She is very agitated and looks for company. Her back is sensitive to pressure (Phosphorus). Her physical symptoms alternate from one side to the other. Cold compresses relieve her. Another interesting point is that psychologically, Lac caninum despises herself strongly. Her udders are painful and are aggravated by touch or jolts. They get swollen, especially before her heat period, which comes too soon and are too profuse. Lac caninum is the nosode for spontaneous lactation. This is certainly why it is so commonly and efficiently used in the phantom gestation and spontaneous lactation syndrome. But this is also the reason I would not recommend it systematically, in case it leads to iatrogenous suppressions.

This key remedy for suppressions and menopause in women, often shows a hysterical side. It will be used successfully to cure phantom gestation/spontaneous lactation in a bitch that either has suffered suppressions of spontaneous lactation (with allopathy or with Lac caninum, Salvia or a complex remedy), either has been under multiple contraception treatments (progesterone), or castrated (the veterinary equivalent for menopause). Remember Lachesis is also a very good remedy after an unsuccessful love story. This is why you may find it in bitches who have been abandoned or whose pups were taken away early.
Often agitated and annoying in the evening, quieter and morose in the morning, she barks for literally anything or for nothing at all. She is usually bad tempered and her smell is equally offensive. She cannot bear a collar or any other ties and is not well in the heat. She likes going out but feels fine inside. In her udders, the milk is bluish, too fluid, sometimes bloodied and combined with smelly pus, that may ooze spontaneously. Her sensitivity to pressure varies. Her left laterality is well marked. She is often on the verge of difficult pathologies (gangrene, cardiac disorders, tumours or other). Identification of the remedy will have to be based on her history and her behaviour rather than on the peculiarities of her phantom gestation/spontaneous lactation.

This is a true home tyrant, very much of a coward who likes to provoke. She hides her fear under her need to rule. Just like a leader, she tries to isolate but is actually afraid of being alone. She watches the family from the next room or the corridor, she does not trust strangers and can bite when angry or afraid. She shows a right laterality or one going from right to left (the liver is on the left, i.e. at the right of the subject). She may get hungry after having started eating, but gets quickly full and gets bloated with flatulence. She is not thirsty or drinks in small quantities. In a bad mood in the morning and when disturbed, she often gets extremely tired at around five o’clock. Her udders are hot but not very swollen; they may ooze a bit of milk.

This is a heavy metal, normally foreign to a living organism. Mercurius is very luetic and aggravated after midnight, with a tendency to necroses and ulcerations. Very anxious and agitated she reacts violently when disturbed. She does not like extreme temperatures, neither hot or cold. She often wakes her owners up (particularly in the second half of the night) and avoids lying on her right side. Her pus smells as bad as her breath. She craves for very cold water and sometimes shows a red mark on her gums, retracted at the base of her teeth. She dribbles cold and viscous saliva with a very bad odor, which covers her whiskers and goes down to her chest. Her udders are easily inflamed, very hot and swollen with a milk streamed in blood. They tend to present ulcers and suppurations.

Natrum phosphoricum
I do not think I have ever prescribed this remedy in such pathologies, but then again, I may simply have missed it. It is to be found in the Kent repertory under the heading “Delusion, inanimate objects are persons”, but in other materia medicae (see the ones listed in the bibliography, and add Clarke, Vannier & Poirier, Voisin & Quiquandon). There is only one symptom that is noted for this remedy, i.e. “imagines, while waking up at night that pieces of furniture are people”. This very precise rubric sheds an interesting light to the previous one and it discards the idea of a phantom gestation with a mothering behaviour. All the aspects of this remedy are probably not well enough known, but still, it seems preferable to avoid prescribing it for spontaneous lactation, all the more so since it shows no particular mammary tropism. Spontaneous lactation is also remote from its mind symptoms: slightly infantile, depending very much on others and on the physiopathological level: dyspeptic, uricemic, with gout and rheumatism. This is a remedy to strike out from our list


Opium, in her delirium, may think she is gravid. This is interesting in her sthenic period of agitated anxiety. She may try to find or dig a hole for her litter. She may show active congestion of her udders without milk secretion, aggravated by pressure. She is ameliorated by cold and is afraid of being approached. But in general, she remains discrete, confined in her indifference, inertia and constipation with myosis, as she is afraid of being touched.

This is a thin, slender, active, kind and affectionate bitch. She is passionate and often goes from deep love to despair, from agitation to anger or prostration. When left alone, she may seek revenge by destroying things or defecating in forbidden places in a provoking manner. She is afraid of being left alone and looks for signs of affections. She will be the one who senses it hours before the return of a member of the family. The Phosphorus dog often goes to the door or to the window when its beloved Master leaves work, even if he does that at very various times … She also stays at the bed and tries to support or console when somebody in the family is sick or depressed. She prefers cold to hot and loves going out. Very sensitive to her environment, she goes in a panic in stormy weather. Never satisfied, she is also very thirsty and tries to drink as much as she can, preferably very cold water. Her vertebral apophyses of her vertebrae are sensitive to pressure. She easily bleeds a bright red blood, both during her heat period and between them. Sometimes she moves as in a slow motion film. She is not really domineering but likes to lead. She starts an action and the others follow, encouraged by her charisma and example. She avoids lying on her congested, inflamed and burning udders, containing a bit of milk streaked with blood, and prone to suppuration.

Pulsatilla is the most frequent remedy for phantom gestation/spontaneous lactation. She is kind and affectionate but is no passionaria! Very dependent, dominated, often plump, idle but nice, she’s a friendly pain in the neck (Barthel T.I: Fastidious next to the finicky Arsenicum). She tries to seduce strangers especially and flirts a lot. Nervous, but not excessively, she is always following her owners everywhere, even to the toilet. She seems to be the only one actually looking for consolation (only two remedies are ameliorated by consolation: Phosphorus and Pulsatilla). She does everything she can to get attention. Ill at ease in hot temperatures, she loves open air. Her puberty came late, her heat periods are usually late, short and bleeding is scarce. Her appetite varies a lot, and so does the aspect of her stools (never the same one twice). She drinks very little. On the physiopathological level she is hypo gonadic, hyperthyroidian, hyposthenic, idle with erratic passive venous congestion. Long and slow movement, open air ameliorates her (cf. Rhus tox). She is also a bit of a flirt, toys with the male during her heat period, provokes him, tantalises him before firmly putting her rear side on the floor to discourage him, she may even bite if he insists. She can have milk before puberty. Her udders are swollen both with fat and milk. She likes to lie with her udders on the floor and leaves milk stains behind.

Rhus toxicodendron
Very agitated, she cannot stay put, and at night often leaves her basket to change places or positions. She is improved by movement and changing positions. As she is perpetually agitated and afraid of rest (factor of aggravation), she gets tired and lacks concentration and may become clumsy and hit the furniture while moving. She likes lying down with her legs in the air. She does not like cold and dampness which give her rheumatism or a surge of eczema. She drinks often and in small quantities. In the morning, when waking up, her joints are stiff and she sometimes starts her day scratching madly at her scabs. Local heat ameliorates her greatly. Her udders are hot and contain a bit of milk which may ooze spontaneously, especially if someone satisfies her desire and strokes her nipples. Her temperature may be icy.

Salvia officinalis
Little is known about this galactorrhea remedy, advised by some to treat dryness in milking cows. BÅ“ricke and Clarke point out its tonic effect on the skin, on anaemic chlorosis and night sweating, especially in case of pulmonary troubles combined with a dry irritating cough. The last two are confirmed in their traditional use in aromatherapy (see J Cabaret: 167 plantes pour soigner les animaux – P .Schauenberg et F. Paris: Guide des Plantes médicinales ). You may try it! But do remember that its action may go two different ways: an increase or a decrease in lactation. Remember also that it may cause a suppression.

With Stramonium, we have yet another agitated bitch who carries and mothers one of her toys. Agitated, easily angry, violent, sometimes she looks for company, and sometimes she hides and refuses any approach. With others, she tends to react with disproportion or not as expected, as if she did not understand what happens in the pack. For instance she may bite when invited to play. She is very afraid of darkness and loneliness and feels better in soft light. A reflection in a mirror or on a bright object, or direct and strong light may panic her to the point of spasms and convulsions. She drinks in long swills and sometimes chokes (very close to Lyssin) on them. Then, she gets afraid of water (especially if it shines or flows). She is improved by hot compresses on her udders, containing little milk. The most striking feature in her behaviour is the moaning and howling she performs night and day, especially when left alone in a corner.

Thlaspi bursa pastoris
Thlaspi bursa pastoris, sometimes named Bursa pastoris, is mentioned in several materia medicae as a remedy for lactation or phantom pregnancy. This remedy is particularly known for its genito urinary tropism with a haemorrhagic and uricemic connotation (hematuria, dysuria, menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, particularly after an abortion, renal or biliary calculus…). Boger mentions an aetiology consequence of the suppression of a vaginal discharge. This may come in handy for bitches who experience phantom gestation after having taken the “pill” or an injection of contraceptives.

It is a good remedy for fleeing bitches, ameliorated by brisk walking, wet weather and baths. Her milk is watery. She licks herself a lot because of a pruriant leucorrhea.

This is another remedy I do not know too well. With very changing moods, she goes from anxiety to stupor. She is irritable, especially after waking up. She looks tiny and is sensitive to cold. She is aggravated by movement, music and stormy weather, ameliorated by open air. Her heat periods are frequent, profuse and last long or they can be non-existent. Her appetite is not good and all her organs are slackened.

Urtica urens
She smells of urine and often has night fever. She has an uricemic diathesis and has nettle rash eruptions with pruritis and oedema of her genital parts. Remember Urtica urens is the Latin word for stinging nettle. To complete the picture, her udders are very swollen, red and hot, without milk. She cannot stand cold water on them or their being touched.

Veratrum album
This remedy stands in good place in the list of phantom gestation remedies. In her delirium, she believes she is gravid and/or is in labour. She also looks for company and needs contact, even if it is not as obvious as with Pulsatilla. Agitated, she is very anxious and can feel throbbing pains on her udders which are sensitive to pressure and aggravated by touch. Local symptoms will remain discreet, but psychological signs are very salient, particularly in regards of digging holes and trying to find the best place for her litter.

This rapid study is based on a small number of symptoms easily recognisable (the bitch’s behaviour with her owners, general symptoms easy to spot and visible local symptoms). It allows for a first selection of possible remedies. Finding more specific symptoms will then confirm your choice. All the remedies studied here share their anxiety or agitation, which can indeed induce violent behaviours, and go well with the mind aspect of spontaneous lactation in bitches. The different disorders observed would also tend to appear in animals with unbalanced hormone levels. On a more physiopathological level, it seems that all these remedies share some sort of congestion.

Also take into account the desire for contact and consolation in Phosphorus and Pulsatilla bitches responding to their need, which maintains their spontaneous lactation and encourages a behaviour we want to modify.

The frequency of mammary cancers occurring after several phantom gestations and spontaneous lactations would tend to make us careful of suppressions, whether allopathic (hormone injections among others) or homeopathic (particularly with Lac caninum , the nosode used in almost every complex remedy, and may be also with Pulsatilla). This however should not become the excuse to want to systematically castrate the bitches showing this syndrome.

About the author

Jacques Millemann

Born April 27th, 1935, Jacques Millemann received his doctorate in veterinary medicine from the National School for Veterinary Surgeons (Alfort, France) in 1960. He settled as a rural area veterinary surgeon in Soultz-sous-Forets (France), catering to pets and cattle. Disappointed in mainstream medicine he began experimenting with homeopathy and published his first clinical cases in 1976. Fluent in German and English, he became a tutor for the French Homoeopathy Society and joined the International Association for Veterinary Homeopathy. He tutored in Switzerland, Germany, Austria etc.
Jacques retired from practice in 2000 and now, as member of the IAVH, is coordinating the writing of the first International Veterinary Materia Medica, which includes clinical cases, using the research of internationally renowned veterinary practitioners. The first volume was published in France and Germany and the second in Germany. He also collaborated with Dr Philippe Osdoit in writing L"™homeoopathie Veoteorinaire-de la theoorie et de la pratique (Veterinary Homoeopathy "“ Theory and Practice), published by Marco Pieotteur in Belgium and Sonntag in Germany.


  • This is a great article, not only because off the theory behind choosing the right remedy but because of the information regarding the possible connections between suppression of false pregnancy (either allopathic or homoeopathic) and the later occurence of cancer.

    I myself, have had 4 intact bitches over the years with medium to none symptoms of false pregnancy and have found that cutting the food short, ignoring the psychological symptoms and occupying the bitch help as much as offering the bitch up for becoming a wet nurse to either cat or dog pups. The bitch can live out the false pregnancy and a pup without a mother can be raised more naturally. My bitches have nursed more than one cat pup during several false pregnancies without ill effect.

    • Good morning Sabine
      You are completely right. Don’t forget that most owners come for a treatment and may be deceived if You don’t answer their will. Some of them too, are afraid to hurt their dog’s feeling !
      For experimented breeders I often told them: “In the evening, give Your bitch a tin of oil-sardines added with some olive-oil and let Your pet sleep alone in the garage, without water for the night. On the other morning they had to take their boots and clean the watery digestive remainings. The bitch had no more milk (disturbed, diarrhea and waterrestriction). All this on a very natural way §
      Have a nice day

      • Hello,

        many thanks for your comment. I just discovered it when I revisited your article and to find if I can contact you directly about your theory/observation that a bitch won’t develop mamma tumors if the false pregnancy wasn’t disturbed.

        Well, it seems I have the bitch that proves this wrong:

        7,5 year old Australian Shepherd, intact, never any problems with false pregnancies, therefore not one treatment to suppress anything. Is fed an almost raw diet, 4 vaccinations in total in 7,5 years, has come into heat every 5 months until we took in another bitch (3,5 years ago) and both are now simultaneously in heat every six months for the last 3 heats. Very little to no milk during false pregnancy, a bit moody and softer but no great change.

        Well, I can’t tell when the lump formed exactly. I noticed it about 1 week ago, her last heat was in May 2011. Small node, hard, about the size of a hazelnut.

        One thing changed with her: about a year now she’s much more “verbal”, will bark, whine when excited and can control her urge to lick people much harder (we call her “fast tongue”), almost like an obsession. She also appeared/appears to be somewhat “down”, will often look at us with a sad/thoughtful expression.

        Should you be interested in offering advice or taking her case I would greatly appreciate it.

  • Dear Sir,
    My name is Gemma. I write you from Spain.
    I’m veterinary, and I study and treat my patients with homeopathy from 11 years ago.
    Firs of all, congratulations for the article, it’s great!
    I’d like to ask you some questions. I hope they don’t bother you and you can answer them to me!?
    And I’d like to do a comment, too: now I’ve understood why some of my false lactation treatments didn’t work: the suppression of Lac caninum. I’m surprised they teach you to treat false lactation with lac caninum !?
    Well, my questions are the following:
    – the diagram, did you build it? I’m not familiarized with this kind of diagrams and I don’t understand it too much, but I think they are very interesting
    – did you learn the behavioral characteristics of every remedy from any book, or teacher, or did you learn it by yourself ??
    – in the synopsis about you, I’ve read there is a first volume of a Veterinary
    Materia Medica. I don’t know it, can you tell me it’s references (title, authors, editorial, …) ??
    Thank you very much.
    Best regards,

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