Using the example of two successful cases, I will today argue the need for studying remedies by all homeopaths in order to increase the number of remedy pictures available and also to (re) consider any existing remedy pictures. In veterinary homeopathy the need for useful remedy pictures is all the more important because we are often confronted with observations which appear important but are difficult to understand for the sake of the repertorisation. In addition to this, successful veterinary cases have much to offer when it comes to the study of remedies.
In today’s examples you will see how in each case, despite an inadequate repertorisation, I was able to prescribe a successful remedy, because I had at my disposal a useful remedy essence.
In the first example I used an idea of the remedy which is the result of a number of proposals by various French homeopaths and study groups (AFADH, GRAPH).
The second prescription was possible because of an essence proposal I made a few years ago. After I had successfully prescribed Neon for a cat with elbow arthritis, I decided to study this remedy to discover it’s dynamic. (At the age of 18, four years after the first prescription of Neon, the animal still responds positively to the remedy.)
The technique I used to study Neon is based on the work of Mark Brunson and his team in Belgium. To study a remedy they propose to:
– Study all available successful prescriptions of the remedy (whatever school of thought was used to make the successful prescription)
– Examine the nature of the remedy (its origin, its use and place in our world, its symbolism, its particularities, etc).
– Study the materia medica of the remedy: both mental and physical symptoms.
A reliable essence can be determined by looking for what is common, strange, bizarre and curious, in these three clusters of data. Previous studies by other homeopaths provide us with a fourth pool of data which will help and guide the study.
First, let us take a look at these two cases before I show you how I studied Neon.
The scene is an organic dairy farm with a herd of about 85 Guernsey milking cows. Lauren, the patient, is a 6 year old milking cow. Three years before I see her, a dose of Thuja resolved a case of warts on her teats. She then developed a high cell count in the milk which disappeared in the next milking cycle. After that (a year and a half later) deep, bleeding skin cracks appeared on the teats causing problems during milking. The cracks appeared first on the right front teat, then the left front teat and then the back teats. The cracks were deep and bled after milking. The cracks were managed with lots of cream. During oestrus, the cracks became worse and they were not very painful.
Apart from the cracks on the teats, the rest of the udder was disseminated with shallow dark brownish, scaly ulcerations. They were not painful. Many of the cows in the farm had a few of these lesions but this one cow had a particularly large number of them.
There was not much to say about this cow apart from the fact that she did not want her udder touched when she was in the parlour: she kicked out violently. When she was in the field she was fine about having her udder touched and when I examined her there was no reaction to the touching and examining of her udder and her teats. She protested about having the milking machine connected but then allowed the milking to continue as normal. She was fine about the teats being treated with the cream, etc.
There was not much to go by and I didn’t know how to interpret the story of the udder touching. I made a tentative first repertorisation based on what was there and what I could see:
– Skin, cracks, deep, bloody (I used ‘skin’ instead of ‘nipples’ or ‘mammary glands’ because skin cracks on the nipples in cows are not very unusual: this offers a larger choice of remedies, note: the remedy is in ‘cracks on the nipples’ as well)
– Skin, eruptions, pustules, ulcerated
I always treat a repertorisation as a way to reveal possible indicated remedies.
In this case 3 remedies covered both rubrics: Mercurius sol, Silicea and Sarsaparilla.
Sarsaparilla caught my attention because the essence of this remedy could explain, or make sense of, the peculiar symptom of the behaviour in the parlour. The central theme of this remedy is holding on to the fruits of one’s work and the heritage of the family. The milking parlour is the place where the milk ‘is taken away’. Sarsaparilla offered a very possible explanation for the behaviour.
She received the remedy in 30C twice per day for three days. Twelve days later: there was a vast improvement in the cracks on the teats. The eruptions on the udder had disappeared in the reverse order to which they had appeared and she was better in the milking parlour. She then received 2 doses of Sarsaparilla 200K which resolved the skin cracks completely and settled her behaviour in the parlour. A hind-leg lameness also healed. No return of the symptoms within 2 years.
Louie is an male, entire, Bearded Collie who at the age of 12, suddenly aged and appeared lost. I have known him for a long time. He has always been a happy enthusiastic dog, a bit dippy at times but always full of life.
The summer of 2012 had been hard on him. At the beginning of the summer the other bearded collie of the family was put to sleep. This dog was almost like Louie’s big brother, sorting Louie out when he got into trouble. He was only mildly affected by this death, but 2 months later there was further drama: the husband died suddenly while out walking on his own with Louie. Louie was quite lost by this experience. About 6 weeks later, Louie developed an unexplained high fever. Blood samples and clinical exams did not produce any explanations for the fever. Antibiotic treatment made no difference. Because of some stiffness of the spine it was thought it may have been a mild form of steroid responsive meningitis.
Because Louie was still eating and relatively bright in contrast to the severity of the fever, Phos acid was prescribed (1M, 2 doses). Two days later the fever was gone and Louie was fine again. He did well for about eight months and then a new episode arose. The owner felt that he had suddenly become old, lost weight, become grey and confused. On questioning, it became clear that he never really came back to good old Louie after the fever episode: he was bright, went for walks and so on but he never really returned to his old self. On a blood sample the T4 values were low. A clinical examination was normal. The owner told me the following:
‘He is barking more. He barks and barks; sometimes he stands there and barks. He barks at nothing, to the corner of the room. When he barks in the room he does it just where he is. When I call him, he turns to look at me and barks at me and then stops. He has lost his enthusiasm for life. He has gone from being a toddler to an old person in a short time. He has gone grey in the face, it is evolving to his back. In the room and on walks he stares as if he has seen something but there is nothing there. His hearing is fine. He eats more, he asks for treats, he never used to and now he wants more food. He asks for a biscuit every few minutes. He has always been a very happy dog and laid back, he could have been a painter in a garage in Paris, he has lost his gaiety. It is not arthritis; he is not stiff in the morning.
He always used to be out in front on walks, now he is behind you, there is an energy gap. He does not want to be checked over by me anymore, he walks off.
He used to fool around all of the time. With the other dog dying, I have stopped him coming upstairs. He is happy about it; he used to sleep downstairs anyway out of his choice. In the morning I come down and it is as if he is dead, still asleep. Up until the last few weeks he would always be up before me. It seems to have come on quite suddenly, reasonably quickly over the last 4 weeks.
His brain is fine, he still understands everything, even for learning new things.
Outside on walks he does not hear you because he is in Louie-land: he is in his own little world, we had to whistle him to get his attention.’
I ask the owner more about the barking: ‘Nothing seems to trigger it. It is the same bark he uses for people coming etc. It is a bit like: I have my voice I may as well use it. After he had been ill he did not bark for a long time, maybe he has found out he can bark again. He does not bark at you, he barks at the room.
The other dog used to be the one who instigated things, he relied on him for everything, he sorted things out for Louie. He likes me to be there when he comes home from the dog walker but he also likes going off with her. He is frightened of the chickens, he mixes well with the other dogs when he is out with the dog walker, he always says hello. The dog walkers have not said anything, he is ok going out with them. He started licking one of his paws (he also did this when my husband died): he is licking the dorsal aspect of the paw, I could hear him slurping one evening. When I am sad he does not know what to do; I then go upstairs. He is panting more as well, he never used to pant, he will go to places where it is cool. He tends to stay in his bed unless it is time for his walk, or near the time, before he tended to follow me around; his enthusiasm is gone. He is not afraid or anything. Two months ago he was still second in the tail wagging competition. Now he will play for a couple of minutes and that is it. He seems to know he has lost the plot.’
At this moment the tone of the conversation changed: while the narrative up to now was very sad, the owner became more upbeat, talking about the lovely happy Louie who has no worries.
‘His character has not changed. He is still the nice guy. He gets tired on the walks. He is a happy soul, he is still happy for his walks. He chased the wild boar twice and twice got chased by them and now he is frightened of the boar. He is basically a coward. He would not hurt anything so he cannot imagine why anything would hurt him; he is in cloud-cuckoo land. He never growled at another dog even when they attacked him; he could not believe it. Everybody thinks he is so sweet, everybody likes him; he is so good. There are no ups and downs. He is the same all the time; there is no more enthusiasm, no zest. He has lost his spark.’
I remember Louie as a happy go lucky individual and with the sudden change in tone of the consultation it dawned on me that the remedy for this dog may well be in the rubric: Mind ‘content’.
I checked my repertory and saw Neon standing out in 3rd degree in this rubric. I had previously studied Neon and concluded that its essence is as follows:
Neon is caught between the beauty of life and a despair in its life and he has profound doubts relative to the possibility of solutions coming from those around him, or even from within himself, because he is not really “at home” here.
This was exactly the dynamic of the patient I had in front of me: 2 doses of Neon 200 and in four days Louie is back to his usual young self: back to before the death of his ‘brother’.
Remember, he is 12 which is already old for his breed. He is 13 now.
How did I arrive at this interpretation of Neon?
Three years before this case I prescribed Neon for a 14 year old cat with elbow arthritis. The cat improved enormously and still after four years responds to a dose of the remedy which he appears to require about twice per year.
In a nutshell the case was as follows:
A British Shorthair cat suffering with arthritis does not use the cat flap and lives between 2 houses (which he does not really like). He collapsed when coming home after the vet had restrained him in a towel. He hates being examined at the vets. In the evening he goes out, jumps the very high wall and then sits waiting in front of the gate for the owner to let him in. He wants to follow the owner when she goes out walking the dog or to talk to the neighbours and then they have to make sure to take him back to his house. Although he appears to want to be with the owners, he never bothers to come and say hello when they come home. He will not lie on the real fur throws in the house. His urine smells very bad and he vomits easily after taking medicines and sometimes after food. He is very at ease during the consultation but hates being examined. His owner says a few times that she cannot work him out.
I found three other cases in the literature: by Philippe Barthelet, Ramon Frendo and Dominique Viola and a remedy study by Philippe Barthelet. In my cases and also in those of my colleagues (human cases) and in the work of P. Barthelet, there is an obvious strong theme of duality. In the human cases one patient is continuously anxious but still dreams of beautiful places. A man does not want to move on, does not want to hear anything and then says life is beautiful. The patient in the third case shrieks and shouts and is mad and depressed. It started after unsuccessful plastic surgery and later in the hospital she distributes cards about the saintly life of Brother Arnould. My cat wants to follow its owners but is happy to stay at home, at other times he escapes for the owners to help him to come home again.
By looking at the element, I discovered the following:
Neon is the most inert element in the periodic table. Although it is one of the most abundant elements in the universe there is only a small amount of Neon found on Earth: it escapes from the atmosphere. Much is stored in rock. Neon is most known for its use in neon lighting to attract attention.
Its inert characteristic and its presence in rock (it is a gas) appears in contradiction to its association with publicity illuminations: make people feel good and possibly present things better than they really are (possibly causing loss of confidence?). A neon isotope originating from the sun is found in diamonds: he is present in that part of the rock that shines (= makes nice) but then he comes from somewhere else (feels a stranger?).
The rubrics in the repertory (mind) are nearly equally distributed between irritability (anger, hatred, despair, dwells on matters, irritability, etc), contentment (blissful, brotherhood, cheerful, joy, laughing, etc) and a lack of connection with oneself and those around (awkward, absentminded, mistakes, dull, weeping, etc) an illustration of this duality which Neon cannot solve and for which he blames himself and others.
Then there are these particular thoughts of Neon: the albatross that never sets down (= does not make a decision, or is he not from this world?) and thoughts of 2 and pair and unpair and Noah’s Ark (the animals go in two by two). It is as if Neon thinks very profoundly about his problem of being on the earth (Noah’s Ark is about ensuring survival on this earth).
In three of the cases, the patient has stomach problems: does Neon find it difficult to digest what comes from this world? My remedy proposal is an effort to tie these observations together.
Neon is caught between the beauty of life and a despair in its life and he has profound doubts relative to the possibility of solutions coming from those around him, or even from within himself, because he is not really at home here.