Jilly was a 13-year-old female spaniel who enjoyed an active life with daily exercise until she was brought to the surgery on a Sunday. She had been unable to get up since the previous evening. She yelped from pain when moved or touched around the back. Her temperature was 41.5° C.
My colleague hospitalized the patient. She received anti-inflammatory and antibiotic treatment.
No improvement on Monday. X-rays showed extensive spondylitis all along the spine from thorax to pelvis. One exostose appeared to be broken off.
Treatment was pursued with no further result. On Tuesday the patient still could not lift her head and her temperature leveled out at 41° C. (This is three degrees above normal and considered to be very high in dogs.)
I examined the patient on Tuesday and noticed the following: Sensitivity in the legs was normal, pupils were unequal, the patient was aware of her surroundings, she could hardly lift her head, the spine was very painful, she felt very hot.
The owner was very concerned about the quality of life for Jilly and euthanasia was considered. I asked, and obtained, a 24 hour delay to see whether homeopathy could make a difference.
I retained the following symptoms for repertorisation:
Hectic fever. (Although ‘hectic’ refers to an undulating fever in septicemia or tuberculosis, I used this rubric because it corresponded to the effect the fever was having on the dog: a high fever causing a general loss of all energy and/or defense.)
Sudden appearance of illness.
Weakness from pain.
Two remedies attracted my attention: Belladonna and Argentum metallicum. The second remedy was ordered to arrive the next day.
Because of the likelihood of some efficacy, Belladonna (which was available) was administered in 30K dilution once every hour 5 times. All conventional treatment was stopped on Tuesday morning.
The next morning the temperature had come down to 39.0° C and Jilly could lift her head. She doesn’t mind being touched and transported any more.
The improvement was satisfying but seemed not fully homeopathic. The second remedy arrived on Wednesday and was given twice in the morning. Twitching of the neck muscles and a return of the weakness followed. By 4 pm she stood up in her cage by herself. The next day she could walk again and started eating and drinking. She went home on Friday, without any further treatment.
A week later on Saturday, Jilly was seen again because she found it difficult to get up. Argentum metallicum was administered, followed by rapid improvement. Two weeks later she was running her usual walks again.
Jilly was fine for two months, when she relapsed and was put to sleep in my absence.
In this case it was unfortunate that I did not insist sufficiently for the owner to come back to have a follow up consultation. Further administrations of the remedy may have prevented such an early relapse.
It is interesting to see how Belladonna was effective but not fully homeopathic. This is a nice example of how remedies can be partially effective without having a profound homeopathic activity that warrants such better quality improvements.
Why did I put my trust in Arg-m?
It was my feeling that the repertorisation expressed very well the state of the patient. When a ‘small’ remedy appears in such a repertorisation, I tend to (was taught to) give extra value to such a remedy (like the Vithoulkas system for repertorisation analysis.)
Secondly, Arg-m is known for falling ill from being struck by a shock. Was it a shock for the owners or for the dog or for both to realize that this very active dog was in the seat of a crippling disease of the spine when the exostose broke off? One wonders.
The remedy is also known for its affinity for cartilage.
Finally: Argentum (Silver) is used to make mirrors. The remedy looks in this mirror for its own celestial peace (Silver is the symbol of the moon), for its serenity. He only wants to look into this mirror and ‘talk’ to himself (intelligence that functions in a vicious circle. The voice is affected = no communication with the others) and falls ill when a shock confronts him with reality. Silver lives in contemplation, remembering his nice souvenirs.
Cartilages = shock absorbers. The shock absorbers are affected in Argentum-met.
Edward De Beukelaer
From his book: Homeopathy, What to expect