When he is lucky, the homeopathic vet occasionally has the opportunity to visit farm animals. There is often no room for long consultations, but with some effort it is possible to help them return to better health. Here, then, are three cases of homeopathy in the countryside.
1) I am suffering outrageously!
A 4 week old calf suffers from typical yellow calf diarrhea. He has been on antibiotics and re-hydration treatment for two days. His condition does not change. Four other calves that had the same problem are all on the mend with the same usual conventional treatment.
I ask the farmer what strikes him in the case.
“When we go into his pen he is very frightened and crouches against the back of his pen. He trembles with fear and looks very panicky. Otherwise he stands with his head down and munches some straw without any purpose. We rarely see him lying down. He hardly drinks any water or milk.”
I can imagine a calf being afraid of the farmer after having received one or two antibiotic injections but this seems a little over the top. This, alternating with his dull state, is also peculiar.
The following symptoms are used: fear of being approached, dullness during fever, thirstless during diarrhea.
Three remedies cover these symptoms: Belladonna, Ignatia and Chamomilla.
Chamomilla is selected because of the over-exaggerated reaction of this calf.
One dose in XMK and 12 hours later all is back to normal.
The remedy is often associated with a ‘theatrical’ behavior to show how much he/she is suffering: “This is so unjust,” cries out Chamomilla!
Belladonna has certainly the wildness but usually there are fears of imaginary things (in this case the farmer’s syringe was not imaginary) or the remedy behaves to its own rules and will not accept recommendations from others or will not accept things unless he/she understands.
Ignatia has a tendency to suffer in silence. Other possibility is the unexpected reaction: the contradictory reaction (i.e. physical symptoms following emotions).
I used a high dilution of the remedy. This was because I did not have any other dilution of this remedy with me at the time of the consultation. If I would have had the choice I would probably have gone for a 30C.
2) On the Edge
The patient in this case is a group of 30 young and older cows. They form a small beef herd that over-winters in half open buildings. On one side of the building, water collects forcing them to regularly puddle through a muddy layer to go to the feeding trough. This usually happens when the water pump breaks down.
Throughout the last two winters they have all been coughing: a dry persistent cough.
I receive and E-mail from these new clients, asking me to visit the herd, containing the following comments:
“We both feel that life is hard here for everyone in the
winter… wet (being the lowest part of the surrounding area, the water
collects here!), muddy (of course)… and, although we’ve done a lot of
work to improve the drainage, there’s more to be done…”
Just based on these words I advise them to mix one dose of Dulcamara 200 in the drinking water. I also know that these courageous people have chosen to set up their organic small-holding, where they promote non conventional medical approaches, a few years ago after having left the large town they lived in before.
This was an extra motivation for the prescription: Dulcamara who chooses (and/or suffers from) a difficult situation to live in: on the edge (of the water).
The coughing disappears in a few days. When I visit them afterwards the farmer spontaneously tells me that the herd is more relaxed: “They were on edge before,” he explains, making the grimace and hand movement of somebody hanging on a cliff. The cough does not return in the next months and the calm in the herd persists. The only problem that remains are mild symptoms of mange (scabies) present in most animals. This symptom is not seen as a major problem and will disappear as soon as the cattle are turned out in the fields and sun.
3) Cannot Move
To use homeopathy in sheep, it is usually necessary to draw every bit information that may be available. Sheep usually do not display many homeopathic symptoms and sadly have a tendency to decide to expire when not well.
The client who rang asking to call in to see her ewe, which cannot get up since a few days, says it is her own fault. “She is an old lady (the sheep!), she should not have been put to the ram this autumn,” I am told.
She is 11 years old and part of a few very treasured pet sheep.
They didn’t like the hay they received this year and spent a great part of the winter cleaning out a nearby wood where they fed generously on common ivy and over-wintering grass. They may have been undernourished? The owner feels guilty.
The patient had produced 2 nice lambs. They are healthy and doing well. Four days after lambing she was found lying down in the stable unable to rise. She did not seem to have moved much through the night before she was found lying down in the morning. She also refused to eat.
She was treated for milk fever with a dose of calcium but showed no response. An injection of antibiotics from the local vet does not make any difference either. The owner then started to dose her with Aloe vera which gradually brought back her appetite.
Five days later she is eating well again but still cannot get up. She makes the odd effort to rise and finishes always by lying (turning herself) on her right side. This is the side of the weakest leg. I notice that, occasionally, she seems to have difficulties to hold her head upright.
I also learn that she had not been drinking until the last two days. The owner spotted an irregular swelling over the hamstring muscles of the better leg. She noticed it came up after two days laying down and thought she may have sprained her leg.
I repertorize using the following rubrics (with comments to ‘justify’ choice of rubrics):
Stomach, thirstless heat during (not interested in drinking when unwell)
Female, genitalia, delivery after; complaints
Generals, weakness, paralytic, sliding down in bed from a half sitting position (to illustrate the complete weakness including head and neck)
Generals, Lying, side on, painful side, amel (risky choice, but used to increase the amount of possible remedies)
Generals, loss of fluids (continued to produce milk while was not eating)
This sort of heterogeneous repertorising is very unreliable and only serves to give ideas for possible remedies. 22 remedies are present in 5 or 4 of the rubrics selected:
Arnica, Bell, Carbo-v, Lycop and Rhus tox are present 5 times.
The remedies present in four rubrics are: Ant-t, Bry, Calc, Caust, Cham, Chin, Ign, Kali-c, Lach, Nitr-ac, Nux-m, Ph-ac, Phos, Puls, Sep, Stram and Sulph.
Which one to choose?
Mentally there is not much to notice in this ewe: she feeds her young (they drink from her lying), she is attentive to them, she eats and makes some efforts to rise. The tender love and care she received and the administration of the Aloe vera have achieved this. The only problem that remains is her incapacity to rise and some general weakness apparent through the difficulty she seems to have to keep her head up.
The milk fever symptoms (hypocalcaemia due to milk production causing muscular paralysis) she displayed have come on on a later day than usual (4th day). One would expect this to happen sooner after lambing.
The remedy with the most typical muscular tropism is Rhus tox, the fact that it is present 5 times in the repertorisation increases its reliability as a remedy. The observation that the sheep have been feeding largely on ivy in the neighboring wood gives some extra strength to the selection of Rhus tox.
She receives a 12C dilution three times per day and is up again by the end of the second day. Considering the usual poor prognosis in these cases, this is a very appreciable result.