Homeopathy For Dogs
By Christina Chambreau, DVM, CVH
Healthy dogs. That is what we all want. Living a long life…and I mean a long life. One client has an Australian shepherd of 23 who is still showing, Marty Goldstein’s own Golden Retriever lived to 21, Great Danes and Rottweilers have lived to 16. There is no one “right” way to have your dog live a long and healthy life. There are some basic health approaches, just like for ourselves – eat fresh, local food; avoid toxins (like flea treatments and vaccines); get plenty of the right kind of exercise; have a job you love to do and an abundance of love and play; when ill use holistic approaches like TCVM (traditional Chinese veterinary medicine), chiropractic and homeopathy.
A lot of people confuse homeopathy with holistic medicine. Founded by a German physician in the late 1700s, homeopathy has cured people and animals of every possible ailment – cancer, allergies, bee sting reactions, ACL, hip dysplasia, asthma, spondylosis, prolapsed rectum, retained testicles, pyometra, behavior problems, IBD, luxating patellas and much more. Just as with conventional medicine, homeopathy can be used on several levels. If a dog is itching, you can temporarily alleviate the symptoms with antihistamines or anti-infl ammatories. Or you can do a more in depth search to determine if there is a thyroid or allergic component to be treated. You can read a book on what homeopathic remedies to use for itching or buy a combination remedy labeled for “itching” (each company has a different combination of remedies in their “itch stop” combination remedy). Or you can look at the animal as a whole and choose the homeopathic remedy that most accurately matches all symptoms and characteristics. This second approach (for which you need training or work with an expert) is the one most likely to have your dog live a longer, healthier life. Homeopathy does not stand alone. You may need behavior work, nutritional support, avoidance of toxins or other energetic support while healing with homeopathy. Symptomatic Versus Curative Treatment Susie, a beagle pup, came to the clinic for scooting her rear. On examination, she had an anal gland abscess. I cleaned off the rectum and asked a few questions about the puppy. Normally an outgoing dog, she had been hiding and a little cranky the day before the prolapse and had diarrhea two days before. She often would vomit after eating rich foods or garbage can scraps. She was being fed a raw food diet and had minimal vaccinations. These symptoms fit Nux vomica, which I gave at 200c potency. Within 30 minutes she stopped licking her rear, became as playful and friendly as ever. Over the next few days the abscess healed. One owner would have been happy with this result, even if the anal glands became a problem over the next few years. As long as the current issue is temporarily helped (palliated), the owner was happy. Another owner would seek deeper treatment to cure – where the anal problems would never repeat, and she would be much healthier.
Basics of Homeopathy
Dr. Hahnemann realized that symptoms are good – they are the attempt of the body to heal itself, and good indicators of immune status and overall health. The goal then is to treat the vital force so it no longer has to produce uncomfortable symptoms and can live a long, happy life. For the acute conditions you will initially be treating, the goal is still to match the vital force. You find remedies that can help the current condition, and then match the unusual characteristics of the animal to one of those Homeopathic Remedies (HR). When an ill person or animal enters the examination room, the doctor asks about the current complaint in great detail and how anything has changed since the illness began. This includes preferences, personalities, fears and more. Like cures like is the basic principle, for when you successfully find the best correct match, the dog is cured. Hahnemann and his medical doctor followers did treat animals with homeopathy since a person helped with homeopathy would, and still does, ask for help with the other members of their family, including livestock and pets.
How to Begin
To find that best match takes some training, so start by working with a homeopathic practitioner, preferably one certified by the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy (www.theavh.org), many of whom will work by phone. Read more detailed information at www. MyHealthyAnimals.com and maybe order a few homeopathic books. Hamilton & Day cover the philosophy as well as the practical use of HR you can try. You are blessed to live in this area as many stores carry the HR, mostly in the 30c strength. This strength is fine to use for acute problems or to begin trying to treat deeper problems that are not life-threatening. To select the best remedy, even for acute problems, look at the whole animal, not just the presenting complaint. How have they changed since they got sick? Are there any symptoms that make you hesitate, that do not fit the picture that is contrary to what you would expect, such as an arthritic dog who is better for cold, damp weather. List all the symptoms and quantify them – size of hot spot, how hot is the bee sting swelling – so you will know how much better it is getting after treatment.
A small amount of any of the dosage forms (different pellet sizes or alcoholic dilutions) should be placed in the mouth, in water then put in the mouth (tiny amount is fine), in milk (or other bland dairy product), or in food if needed. The quantity does not matter for acute problems.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Treatment
There are three main responses to giving a homeopathic remedy or treatment. In addition, nothing may happen. Cure • The current symptoms go away and stay away forever. The animal is healthy in most of the ways we measure health. palliation • The symptoms go away too fast for the degree of pathology with no improvement of overall health. Then they return, unchanged, or slightly worse. Treatments have to be continued or at least repeated at frequent intervals. Over time, the animal becomes less healthy. suppression • The symptoms go away too fast for the degree of pathology, and the animal gets sick on a deeper lever (mental, internal organs, and cancer). When treating minor and more acute problems, you want the current symptoms to resolve and the animal to feel better overall. You may not have enough information to assess cure, palliation or suppression.
Painless, not healing or recurring. Dog is chilly, nice to shy or timid, and may be more thirsty than usual: Silica
Very painful, often not draining, irritable, nasty & very chilly: Hepar Sulphur
Ulcerating, smelly, painful, lots of saliva, gum problems, red gums, bad odor to breath, slightly aggressive to angry, sensitive to both heat and cold: MercurIus Vivus (SOl)
Restless, thirsty, fearful, chilly animals: Arsenicum Album
Nice animals who are either hiding or nasty when sick: Nux Vomica
More chronic, often very smelly stools along with other smelly problems (ears, skin), in calm, laid-back animals who prefer coolness: Sulphur
Very friendly, thirsty, slightly chilly, startles easily, blood in the stool or history of bleeding problems: Phosphorus
Fear, terror or shock: AconIte
iVD – can prevent surgery:
If dog is irritable & nasty, especially when normally friendly, is chilly, has a history of unusual reactions to drugs: Nux Vomica
Sensitive to touch on the back, or acts as if there are shooting pains: Hypericum
Many others seek professional care.
Lyme disease: Ledum works in many cases
Very stiff when they first get up, then improve as they move around and loosen up: Rhus Toxicodendren.
When an animal cannot or will not move because the pain is worse from motion, and maybe they are thirstier than before, especially if the animal is grumpy and avoiding company: Bryonia
Trauma with aversion to being touched: Arnica Montana
Animals successfully treated with homeopathy or other holistic approaches usually stay alert, agile, interactive and relatively symptom-free until they have a final illness and die within a short time. Please contact the author for more information and classes.
Christina Chambreau, DVM, CVH graduated from the University Of Georgia Veterinary College in 1980. She is the founder of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy, was on the faculty of the National Center for Homeopathy Summer School and has been the holistic modality adjunct faculty liaison for the Maryland Veterinary Technician Program. Dr. Chambreau teaches classes in homeopathy for animals, and lectures on many topics. She is the author of Healthy Animals Journal and the co-author of the Homeopathic Repertory: A Tutorial.