Kara is a 5 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She suffers from syringomyelia*. Her owner is a colleague (vet) with some basic interest in homeopathy. Afterward, she was more than surprised about the results we obtained in this case. Syringomyelia is considered to be an incurable condition.
Kara is not the most attractive specimen of her breed. At 8 weeks it was possible to feel that the fontanella were not closed (the owner said they were wide open). She didn’t grow very big but at 3 weeks was ahead of all the other ones in the litter.
I’ll present the details of the narrative I took note of in the order they were delivered by my colleague:
“She was a miniature adult, both psychological and physical. She is very thin, shy and happy. She only started to put on weight when her neck was joined together. (At the age of two she underwent orthopedic surgery to stabilize C2 and C3.)
She was very tired as a youngster. She couldn’t cope with a full training session; she had to go to sleep. She went sound asleep.
In the morning, she didn’t wake up early. She still sleeps a lot; it is a way of protecting herself from the dogs in the house. She will scream when she thinks she is going to be touched by the other dogs (3 small dogs). She goes to bed and sleeps, nobody bothers her there.
At 4 months she was unable to do 40 meters without having to stop or being carried. This is better now. Her breathing can get terrible when she is out walking, she needs picking up. She cannot not handle any physical activity.
Her neck pain started around the age of 13 months: she gave the odd yelp and lost some proprioception in the right fore leg. Later her hind legs became wobbly.
She became much better after the surgery but sometime later lost much of the improvement. The proprioception did not disappear but the pains reappeared. At first, she could only cope when she received a few days of steroids. Occasionally she had horrible screams; they were hair raising. She always keeps space between her and the others.
She scratches over the left ear without making contact with her paw (usual symptom in this disease). If she makes contact she will produce an awful scream that goes on and on. You have to rescue her: put your hand on her neck and take the foot off. She has to think of something else for it to go away.
She throws a Paddy (gets really cross) when she wants to go through the door and I shut the door on her; when I deny her access to where she wants to go. She will tap the door with her feet. (This symptom was repeated three times in the consultation and accentuated because of the way it was expressed by the owner.)
She has some clout if need be: she will get into the bed of the top dog in the house. She will lie on top of the other dogs.
She received 4 doses of Arnica 200 after her operation. (With some results?)
She will pinch the other’s food if she gets the occasion: she is an opportunist, she won’t fight for it.
Her tantrums don’t last very long; she will try but is OK being left alone.
When we go to dog training she is happy to show what she can do and then goes to sleep. She is only afraid of being knocked over. She will lie with her head on something high.”
The illness in this case is caused by a genetic defect. Right from the beginning it is clear that Kara’s development is not normal. The owner explains how she looks like a premature adult. The remedy that is going to be homeopathic must have some ‘disorganizing’ qualities to it.
The symptom that I found the most striking is her complete intolerance to exercise: even as a young puppy she would not be able to run further than 40 meters. This was all the more significant because her owner (a vet) commented that she was physically adult at a young age. At the same time this symptom seemed to me to illustrate her tendency to sleep more than the owner felt to be normal.
I don’t think it would be helpful to argue whether this observation was the result of some particular hormonal imbalance that could explain the lack of physical stamina. I tend to base my homeopathic evaluation on the words the owner uses and the contrasts or peculiarities these evocate in the patient, allowing for the determination of homeopathic symptoms in the case. In the same way as human homeopaths use the words of the patient, I tend to use the words of the owner as if they were the words of the patient when I feel these words express something striking to them.
In Radar 8.0, there is a rubric: Generals, exertion, agg, slightest exertion. Only 2 remedies were present (There are 5 remedies in Radar 9.1).
Thyroidinum and Sulf-i.
The first remedy has ‘irritable, worse from least opposition‘ in it’s materia medica. Not many people say that their dog throws tantrums.
There is an other rubric we can visit: Generals, growth, complaints of growth processes, the same remedy is present in 2nd degree.
Kara receives a 200 K dose of Thyroidinum. Her pains disappear in 3 week’s time and she gains much more strength and exercise tolerance. Her typical ‘scratching in the air movements’ also disappeared and so did her fear of being hurt.
She had a mild relapse one year later which quickly stopped with a further dose of the same remedy in the same dilution. Six months after this dose she is still doing fine.