This article is #3 in a 3-part series of articles on natural canine health. Topics included diet, vaccines, and now, alternative therapies/homeopathy. The book, Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog by Wendy Volhard and Kerry Brown, D.V.M. provided the information for the article.
Canine health, as in human health, has many components. In the previous two issues of Houston PetTalk, we examined natural elements of canine needs including diet and the controversy surrounding vaccinations. Another compelling area of natural canine well-being is homeopathic remedies. Homeopathy is an extensive subject that requires study to understand the “layers” of intricacy of this aged natural medicine philosophy.
Homeopathy is based on the idea of using “like to cure like”. The use of certain medicines can cause particular symptoms in a healthy person; thus the same medicine is used to cure a person with that illness. Homeopathy was discovered in 1790 by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann when he was translating medical texts. While translating a Scottish physician’s description of how Cinchona bark (the drug used to treat malaria) acted on the body, Hahnemann took some himself and developed symptoms of malaria.
Dr. Hahnemann finally received the acceptance of his theory from conventional doctors during the war of 1812. Typhus broke out, which was typically fatal. Hahnemann treated 180 cases and only lost 2 patients.
The practice of homeopathy looks at the whole patient rather than targeting a specific body part with a drug. Behavior, emotional state, appearance, past illnesses, etc. are all studied to determine the homeopathic remedy.
To understand homeopathy, it is essential to understand the philosophy of “energy”. The dilutions of remedies used contain the energy of the original product. (Some scientists point out that if you can stop thinking of molecules or atoms and begin thinking in terms of energy fields as in the example of Einstein’s E=Mc², it will help explain how homeopathy works).
Homeopathic remedies are used for both humans and animals. To get started with a dog for instance, a practitioner would study the personality of the dog, time of the year symptoms occur, time of day the dog seems worse, past illnesses, where the dogs is houses and the relationship with the owner.
At this point, the remedy is prepared in a particular “potency”. Hahnemann discovered that by diluting his natural remedies, they became more effective. Through “succession” (shaking the substance), the energy is released and the number of times a remedy is succussed is either 10 times (x potency) or 100 times (c potency). Succussion is carried out at each stage and while making it more powerful, it also removes the toxins of the original substance.
Dog owners can learn about homeopathy and use certain remedies themselves but please consult a practitioner to learn the basic remedies and how to purchase an emergency kit that will include numerous remedies in either liquid form, tablets or pellets. There are thousands of remedies but keeping the most useful on hand is all that’s necessary to start.
Remedies exist for everything from bee stings, pulled muscles, hot spots, vomiting and bleeding to eating dirt, ear infections, smelly skin and grief. For example, Belladonna is used for heat stroke, hot spots, sudden fever, etc. while Apis Mellifica is used for bee stings, allergic reactions and joint swelling. For further research on types of remedies, a Holistic Guide for A Healthy Dog, from which this article is referenced, is a good source but limited to about 40 remedies. For further study or shopping visit www.abchomeopathy.com or www.nativeremedies.com.
Homeopathy takes years to become proficient and it does not replace conventional medicine; rather, it complements it as other modalities do, i.e. chiropractic medicine, acupuncture, iridology, chronobiology and others.