Ageing is difficult for both people and animals. The patient in this case is 13. She is a Labrador. She was spayed when young.
When I saw her, for the last 3 days she had found it difficult to get up and when she makes the effort to go out, after a few meters she would fall on her side.
It was in February 2005 that I saw her for the first time.
At the time of the consultation:
The clinical diagnosis suggested advanced degeneration of the hip joints, a very common occurrence in large breeds of dogs when they approach retiring age. Nerve function was normal. She had a slight temperature but there were no obvious signs of infection.
The first thing I was told is the following: “She is puffing a lot. Sometimes she puffs until her tongue goes blue. She has hot flushes and her tongue turns Burgundy red.”
I will let the owner tell the story of Penny.
“She got suddenly worse 3 days ago. She has weakness in her hind legs. She also has severe trembling fazes. She is not out with these trembling fazes, she still can respond.
She started to have the occasional bad days for a while now. She puffs all the time but is never low. She wants to lie on the fresh floor on the moment whereas usually she prefers to lie on soft bedding. She had been treated for ear-problems 6 months ago (steroid and anti-biotic drops).”
The Owner then repeats: “Her tongue goes burgundy red.”
“She used to have regular ear-problems when she was younger. She also always used to cut her paws; one piece of glass on the walk and she would tread on it. She received several remedies a while ago with not much success. (I can not get any info on which remedies these were).
She drinks more than usual and prefers the water standing in the bucket outside.
Her tongue was red and swollen for a while some time ago. This was not due to an insect sting.
She hates her legs being touched.
She has always been a very thoughtful dog: she stands and thinks, she will wait to take her chance.
When she had her ear-problems, there weren’t any visible signs outside. The problems were deep in her ear-canal.
When other dogs approach, her hackles (neck fur) come up. Then she realizes : oh, you are just friendly, it will be ok then. She doesn’t really stand up for herself.
She used to steal food.
She is unsure about social integration: shall I be distant or not distant?”
These cases of old dogs are typically scarce with useful homeopathic symptoms but here I had the chance of listening to an owner who just offered me things on a plate.
I used the following symptoms:
1 1234 1 MOUTH – SWELLING – Tongue
2 1234 1 MOUTH – DISCOLORATION – Tongue – red
3 1234 1 GENERALS – WEAKNESS – fever – during
4 1234 1 MIND – RESERVED
5 1234 1 GENERALS – TREMBLING – Externally – paroxysmal
In Radar (9.1) this produces two remedies covering all 5 symptoms: Lyc, and Mercurius
Fifteen remedies cover 4 symptoms:
Acon, ant-t, apis, arg-n, ars, bell, bry, calc, canth, crot-h, mur-ac, nat-m, phos, plb, verat.
Out of these remedies, I pick Crot-h for the following reasons:
This remedy can explain her attitude to others: ‘she is unsure about her integration’ literally says her owner. I wanted to find a remedy that covered this spontaneous comment by the owner because this is not a very usual way of describing one’s dog’s behaviour.
The remedy also covers the swelling and discoloration of the tongue which are the symptoms that are really unusual in this case.
Snake remedies (just as acids) are remedies to think of when sudden weakness sets in.
Crot. horridus is the poison of the rattle snake. The rattle snake is one of the rare snakes that lives in large groups. To be able to live in ‘peace’ with the others, the crotalus (patient) needs to be acquainted by his ‘peers’ or group. Crot-h has difficulties in expressing out of ‘fear’ not to fall in line with the others or the authority. Wishes that their point of view is in accord with the others. (AFADH, France; Marc Brunson, Belgium) (The patient is a thoughtful dog and takes time to make up her mind, tells the owner.)
Like lachesis, crot-h does not like constriction; is that why she doesn’t like to be held (touched) by her legs?
The patient received 3 doses of Crot-h over 24 hrs and is back to her usual self in 36 hrs.
She will receive a drop of the same remedy, same dilution three more times over the next 7 months when she has a few days of being down. Every time she quickly regains energy and continues to enjoy her tranquil dog life. The repeated good reaction to the remedy allows us to conclude that this remedy is a good similimum for Penny.