(From The Homoeopathic Recorder)
It is a great pleasure I assure you to stand before this Assembly and relate a little of my application of Homoeopathy to the lower animals. The title of this might have been more aptly, Reminiscences of s Convert. The animals, equally with the human subject, deserve the blessings that can be bestowed upon them by Homoeopathy, and the fact that it does work so well and accurately upon them knocks on the head once and for all the oft repeated argument that Homoeopathy works merely by suggestion. If one selects a wrong remedy or gives a placebo the animal does not get well, but upon the receipt of the indicated remedy the animal responds immediately and a sense of well being and restoration to health ensues.
It is not the easiest thing I know about to become a convert after the old school methods have been drummed into one in ones comparative youth. Not alone is the change itself not easy but one has to weigh the fact that one is isolating oneself from the rest of the veterinary world. However, after the first step has been taken and the amazing results begin to roll in, the isolation is more than made up for and the resulting happiness is beyond human words. Burnett said in speaking of such a path taken by a convert:
It is strange, but a fact nevertheless, that the art of healing, pure and simple, is not in great repute nowadays. Indeed, it is almost a reproach to fling oneself, body and soul, into the business of healing, and herein try to do better than ones father did. Nay, it is even dangerous for a man of good repute to strikeout a new path in therapeutics, and try to cure what the “old school” has ever held incurable. If he does, he will infallibly be looked as askance, and no one will thank him, while many will seek to deride and vilify him. The reason for this lies largely in the history of medicine and mankind: bad wares have so often been brought forward as good wares, that no one may be blamed for looking with suspicion on all new notions.
We in the veterinary field have much more to contend with than you who practise on the one species. We have to contend with several kinds of species including herbivorous, carnivorous and omnivorous. I well remember away back in my apprenticeship days attending a dance with a very charming lady, who said to me, “Why on earth did you ever take up your calling? Why, soon, you will be going around like Dr. So-and-so with linseed oil all over your clothes. I assured her that when I started practice that never would linseed oil adorn my clothing, and it didn’t.
We might briefly discuss the treatment of the horse and dog as these are the two species that interest me chiefly. The former noble animal is almost extinct in comparison to former years. The most common ailments that one met with in this animal were the many forms of so-called colic. A veterinarian who wishes to attain a large clientele must be able to handle these cases with quickness and dispatch. Homoeopathy leads the field in doing this. One of the most common forms of colic in the horse is faecal impaction of the colon. I was taught to use gallons of linseed oil and indeed this was the only remedial measure ever thought of. If the case was too protracted resort was had to subcutaneous injections of eserine and pilocarpine (crude), and the suffering the poor animal went through was too bad to speak of. In this condition the animal suffers from subacute pain, continually lying down and getting up, very gingerly. The animal continually looks around and puts his nose in the flank region, plainly indicating the seat of the trouble. Why all these gallons of oil combined with eserine? Homoeopathy comes forward with such remedies as Nux v., Plumbum and Belladonna.
Nux v: Constipation is a most important indication, especially when accompanied by frequent ineffectual efforts at evacuation; a distended condition of the abdomen with flatus, hiccough and rising of gas or food; a prolapsed condition of the anus as the result of straining; the pains, while they may be more or less continuous, are certainly spasmodic.
Plumbum : Is most effectual in cases due to impaction of hard, dry faeces, shaped like balls and generally black in colour; the anus instead of being protruded as in Nux v. is constricted.
Belladonna : A swollen and very bright red condition of the conjunctiva; a firm, hard, resistant swelling in the abdomen on the course of the large colon, with the indication of sharp griping pains at one particular spot, recognizable by the horse pointing with his nose to the same place. These are just a few of the remedies which may be indicated but there are a host of others.
In spasmodic or flatulent colic one has to draw from the following list of remedies: Aconite, Colocynth, Veratrum, Chamomilla, Cocculus, Dioscorea, Iris versicolor, etc.
In regard to diseases of the respiratory system of the horse, of course we have the usual “run to shade”. Occasionally we get a regular epidemic of equine influenza and in times past, when the horse population was much more abundant, great economic losses occurred. In place of the various serums and bacterins Homoeopathy has a vast number of curative remedies to offer. According to their indications the following remedies will usually carry any given cases to a cheerful ending:
Aconite, in the very early stages; Arsenicum iod., nearly a specific in many outbreaks; Gelsemium, Nux v., Rhus t.; movement seems to afford relief, the exact opposite of Bryonia. All of such cases respond beautifully to the indicated remedy without having to resort to the hypodermic syringe. Other remedies which might be indicated are: Eucalyptus, Antimonium tart. when the cough is loose, though attended with a good deal of oppression and apparent difficulty; Lachesis, when the swelling down the legs and along the abdomen persists and increases, ultimately resulting in the oozing of drops of blood and bloody serum through the skin. Sometimes, in such cases, Crot. horr. may be indicated.
And now we leave the horse and say a few words in regard to mans most loyal and devoted friend, the dog.
This faithful creature is heir to all the ills that affects his master. I am often asked why I took up the treatment of dogs in preference to people. I always counter with the remark so truly spoken, the more I see of people the better I like dogs.
By the “old school” these little fellows are more than put through their paces, including a lot of unnecessary suffering, but once again comes Homoeopathy to the rescue. We will take for instance the so-called distemper of dogs. This really is a combination of toxins and presents a truly toxaemic picture. Anti-distemperinum caninum will surely immunize animals given it in a series of degrees of potencies of this remedy. Furthermore, I have often proven beyond any measure of doubt that the immunization of puppies can be started in utero before the birth of the puppies by administering this remedy to the pregnant dam. The various serums of the present day seem to act prophylactically in some cases, but a vast number of cases that I am called upon to treat have had the serum. There must be a hole somewhere.
Another class of animal is the cat, and this above all others responds beautifully to Homoeopathy. Give a cat one dose of “old school” medicine which has any disagreeable odours or taste you are sunk before you start, as they usually start pernicious vomiting and keep it up till death closes the scene. A recent graduate of one of our colleges was greatly surprised at seeing me treat cats successfully by homoeopathic measures, he having been taught by his professor of small animal practice that there were only two medicines to give a cat, one being santonine and the other mineral oil, a somewhat abbreviated materia medica. It has been one of the greatest joys of my life to be privileged to apply this wonderful healing art to our little dumb friends.