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Integrating Homeopathy into Your Veterinary Practice

Teaching homeopathic principles to animal guardians and encouraging veterinarians to begin using homeopathy and other holistic modalities is Dr. Chambreau's passion. Dr. Christina Chambreau is an internationally known homeopathic veterinarian, lecturer, and author. She graduated from the University of Georgia Veterinary College in 1980 and is a founder of the Academy Of Veterinary Homeopathy

Essential Steps in Using Homeopathy in Your Practice

by Dr. Chambreau, DVM - A lecture transcription

Dr. Chambreau Beginning to understand the basic principles of homeopathy and starting to recognize cure, palliation and suppression (the responses of the body to any treatment modality) are essential steps to using homeopathy in your practice. Studying these philosophical underpinnings of health enriches your experience of veterinary practice and opens wonderful new ways to nurture your clients and their animals.

While embarking on this extensive study (many courses and books are available, see end of article) there are immediate ways to give homeopathic remedies in your practice. You notice I say giving homeopathic remedies, rather than treating homeopathically, for the latter requires applying the principles of homeopathy to every case and finding (or attempting to find) the similimum - that medicine that matches the totality of symptoms presented by the patient. In the talks today, I will briefly cover the philosophy, guiding principles, preparation of medicines, how to actually start prescribing, treatment of acute, chronic, and then confused cases, and how to learn more about homeopathy.

A True Understanding of Homeopathy

Homeopathy for Animals A true understanding of homeopathy comes from understanding how an individual becomes sick and how that individual relates to its environment.

SYMPTOMS
Homeopathy maintains that the "vital forces" of the body may be afflicted with inherent weaknesses. Triggers, such as viruses, stress, bacteria, and poor diet, produce in the body certain recognizable symptoms. Symptoms are signs that the body is trying to heal itself. Treating symptoms of an illness only hides those signs of illness for a short time; eventually, if the illness is still present, those symptoms will reoccur. Homeopathy endeavors to treat the entire patient, using the symptoms as clues, and to recognize the whole patient in the context of its environment.

CHAIN OF EVENTS
When energy fields are upset, illness results and usually the illness follows a pattern of progression. Recovery requires following that pattern in reverse. Normal function of an individual may be impaired, inflammation occurs, pain is sensed, and actual anatomical or physical changes take place. Examples of these changes are bladder stones, arthritic joint changes or thickening of organs with scar tissue.

TIME TO TREAT
The best time to intervene with remedies is when the illness is in the energetic, functional phase. Once pathology has occurred, the holistic practitioner must be very patient and allow time for the pathology to inflame and then heal at the energetic level. Healing may take a time equal to the presence of the illness.

VITAL FORCE
In the early 1800s, a German physician named Samuel Hahnemann described what is termed the "Vital Force" of the body (called CHI by the Chinese). Many modern physicists say that everything is energy or that everything changes from matter to energy. Is it any wonder that energy changing medicines such as acupuncture and homeopathy can affect cures at a more profound level than matter-based medicine? Move that Vital Force out of balance and diseases ensue. Different symptoms may appear in different parts of the body. The goal of homeopathy is to treat the WHOLE individual, not just individual symptoms.

REMEDIES
Detailed study is required to understand the interaction of specific remedies and how they interact with each individual symptom in that particular patient. More stress will result in more symptoms, so remedies may need to be modified throughout recovery from an illness. Through the years remedies have been proven to be efficacious in treating diseases that cause symptoms that would occur if that same remedy were given to a healthy individual. This gives rise to the saying "Like treats like". Remedies that create certain symptoms can successfully be used to treat those symptoms that occur due to abnormalities in the vital force.

Medicinal substances will restore the ill individual's energy balance, causing a cure. Dr Hahnemann states: "…the stronger disease destroys the weaker: It has a similar action, and because of its predominance, takes over precisely those parts of the organism until then affected by the weaker one, which since it can now no longer act, disappears".

HOMEOPATHY'S GOAL
The goal is to cure - to completely rid the body of disease such that no symptoms of the disease ever come back, to achieve a level of wellness such that acute injuries heal quickly with no intervention, and to acquire and maintain a level of vitality, health, and wellness complementary to the whole being. As Dr. Hahnemann stated "Cure, which is the elimination of all the perceptible signs and symptoms of disease, means also the removal of the inner modifications of the vital force which underlie them: In this way the whole disease has been destroyed."

IN THE NEAR FUTURE CASE STUDIES WILL BE PRESENTED
Case studies based upon Dr. Chambreau's practice experience will be displayed to show how the homeopathic approach to treating disease can be beneficial to animal patients.

HOW DID HOMEOPATHY BEGIN?

Homeopathic Care for Cats and DogsHomeopathy's roots go back at least as far as the Greeks. It was formalized by a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, in the late 1700s. In 1790, while translating Cullen's herbal materia medica, he disagreed on the mechanism of action of Cinchona officinalis, the bark used to treat malaria (quinine). He proved Cullen's explanation wrong by taking doses of the bark once or twice daily and developing some symptoms typical of malarial fever. They would last 2-3 hours, then disappear, not to recur until he again took the medicine. From this he saw the essence of a new system of medicine.

In 1796 he wrote an essay in which he clearly articulated the fundamental principle of similia similibus curentur (like cures like; law of similars) and used the new term, "homeopathy" ("homeo"-like, "pathy" - disease). By 1810, he had published the first edition of The Organon, which detailed the practice of homeopathic medicine. The final 6th edition (completed in 1842) is still the main homeopathic textbook in use today. Additional understanding has accrued, but no major deletions - what a powerful statement of its efficacy. If you very carefully study The Organon, and books on the remedies, you could eventually be a successful practitioner.

He and his colleagues were very successful in the treatment of individuals, both for acute (often epidemics of fatal diseases like cholera) and long standing ailments. Many animals were also treated by the original homeopaths, as patients would ask their physicians to help their animals in the same way they had been cured. Modern homeopathic veterinarians do successfully treat epidemics such as Parvovirus, kennel cough, panleukopenia, etc. Most importantly, we treat the much more prevalent chronic disease that we recognize in the form of all the many "diseases" such as allergies, diabetes, UTI, URI ... and so on.

While homeopathy fell out of favor in the United States during the early 20th century, it continued to be used throughout the rest of the world. According to various studies, 40% of people are referred to homeopathy at some point by their physicians in most European countries, and in India, South American and other Asian countries, it is the most common form of medicine practiced. Now many Americans are requesting homeopathy. Most practitioners completing the year long training course who can devote themselves to homeopathic practice have 1 to 2 month waiting lists within 2 years. The demand is definitely there for homeopathic treatment for animals of all species.

WHAT IS HOMEOPATHY?

Many people, including some of your clients, confuse homeopathy with holistic medicine. Holistic medicine is the perspective of looking at the whole individual as I covered in the first talk. Homeopathy is a system of medicine that first identifies the underlying energy pattern of an individual - composed of all the diseases they have ever had, what things make their ailments and themselves feel better or worse any individual characteristics and preferences. Medicines are "proved", tested, on healthy people who take the homeopathic dilution until they are symptomatic. Each medicine, then, has its energy pattern so we give that medicine that matches most closely the energy pattern of the individual. The beauty of this system is that the body is stimulated to heal not just the current ailment, but the underlying pattern that is responsible for causing all of its ailments, now and in the future. How is an animal treated homeopathically? A case is taken (to discover the underlying energy pattern of the individual), books are used to chose a remedy that has been proven (tested) on healthy people (Repertories are indexes of symptoms to narrow your selection down to several remedies and materia medicas are detailed descriptions of the medicines so you can select the one remedy to give at this time), the best potency (strength) to match the ill animal is chosen and administered properly, and most importantly the principles of health and healing are followed to determine the effect of the medicine on the animal and to indicate what to do next. Now, in more detail....

WHAT ARE THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF HOMEOPATHY?

1. The body heals itself (or tries to) by producing "symptoms". How does a being (person or animal or plant) get ill? There is an essence (vital force, or chi) with inherent weaknesses. When triggered by viruses, bacteria, stress (physical, mental, emotional), poor diet, vaccinations, the aging process, or environmental stressors, the body produces symptoms in an attempt to recover balance. An analogy is that of a slide projector. When a light (trigger) shines through the slide (vital force), images (symptoms) appear on the screen. Merely removing a symptom by surgery or topical treatment is like cutting a hole in the screen to remove the image. This does not get rid of the defect on the slide (vital force), and so the symptoms recur or new, deeper symptoms appear. Symptoms, therefore, are good - they are evidence that the vital force (energy field of the body) is doing the job of attempting to re-balance itself.

2. There is first an energetic imbalance, then physical manifestations. Most beings seem to follow a sequence when getting ill, and need to follow the reverse to recover permanently. At first, illness is an energetic imbalance observable only at an intuitive level - "Doc, I know my cat is getting sick." Second, there is a functional disturbance, seen for example as a cat going to the litter box frequently, with a normal U/A. Then there is inflammation, which is easily seen by a fever, or inflammatory cells on the U/A, or the cat showing pain on urination. Last, there is pathology, evidenced by a thickening of the bladder wall, stones, and chronicity. The ideal time to treat is when the imbalance is still at the energetic or functional level. Once pathology has occurred, we must be very PATIENT to allow time for the pathology to inflame and then heal at the energetic level. This can take about a month of healing for every year the vital force has been ill. This energetic basis of the body was called vital force by Hahnemann. The Chinese use the term chi. Modern physicists now say that everything is energy, or changes from matter into energy. It is not surprising that energy medicines like acupuncture and homeopathy can effect cures at a more profound level than matter based medicine.

3. There is one on-going "disease", not just separate, acute episodes.

4. To really heal, the totality of symptoms must be addressed, not just the current problem(s). This treats the underlying imbalance (one disease). Every time the energy field is triggered and moves out of balance, it produces symptoms, but they may be different symptoms and even in different systems each time. Successful holistic treatment must be based on all the symptoms and all the idiosyncrasies of THIS animal. There is only one "disease" to be treated, and it has been there since birth (and maybe before). Different remedies are often needed at different times because we only see part of the underlying imbalance. An analogy is to think of an iceberg. There is a large, unseen portion underneath the water (the deep energy imbalance) and a few peaks visible (the symptoms we can see and are being asked to get rid of). The goal is to dissolve the body of the iceberg along with the peaks, not just blunt the peaks. When there is more stress (bacteria, environmental, emotional, etc.) the water level drops and we see more peaks (symptoms). As a homeopath, I am thrilled to see more or new symptoms (along with overall or deep level improvement). Since the vital force (energy field) is reacting more strongly and clearly, I can select the next homeopathic medicine more accurately.

5. Like cures like. Similar replaces similar. Provings. How do we know what each remedy can be used to treat? Homeopathic remedies are given to healthy humans, and the symptoms that appear are carefully recorded over a period of months. When an ill person shows the same symptoms and characteristics of a "prover", the medicine will cure the ill person. For instance, when a prover takes homeopathically prepared Arsenicum album they become restless, anxious, chilly, have diarrhea and vomiting among many other symptoms. When a person (or animal) who has started diarrhea and vomiting also reports that they are chilly, anxious and can't seem to keep still, you would prescribe Arsenicum album.

The medicinal strength of Ars-alb would be stronger than, and similar to, the energetic imbalance of the ill person, and so would replace the illness, causing a cure. Hahnemann states: "the stronger [disease] destroys the weaker: it has a similar action, and because of its predominance, takes over precisely those parts of the organism until then affected by the weaker one, which since it can now no longer act, disappears. In other words, as soon as the new disease agent (remedy), similar to the first but stronger, takes over the patient's sensations, the vital principle, because of its unity, can no longer feel the weaker similar one; it is extinguished, it exists no more, since it is never something material but only a dynamic affection." Once the dynamic (energetic) imbalance is corrected, the physical manifestations disappear - even bony proliferations, cancerous growths, bladder stones, etc.

6. The goal of homeopathy is cure. Hahnemann says: "Cure, which is the elimination of all the perceptible signs and symptoms of disease, means also the removal of the inner modifications of the vital force which underlie them: in this way the whole disease has been destroyed." The present symptoms go away and never come back, acute ailments and injuries heal quickly with little or no treatment, and the animal has glowing health, vitality, energy, adaptability, and healthy offspring. Baby, a big black cat, came to me at 9 years of age. She had been receiving Depo Medrol injections for 8 years at an ever increasing frequency, now every 6 weeks, to keep her from licking her abdomen raw and bloody (diagnosed as Feline Endocrine Alopecia). I treated her homeopathically for 9 months before her abdomen was free of lesions. That was 8 years ago. She has never had skin lesions since then. One year later, she recovered quickly from an upper respiratory infection for which 2 other cats in the house had to be treated for 2 weeks. A year after that she again recovered quickly with no treatment from the same fever of unknown origin that the fourth and fifth cat in the house suffered with for a week or so. Since then (1991), I have not had to treat any of the 5 cats. They are on a homemade diet and have not been vaccinated since I began treating Baby.

 WHAT IS IN THOSE LITTLE SUGAR PILLS?

When Hahnemann first started prescribing according to the law of similars, people would become much more ill before recovering, especially in acute or epidemic situations, so he experimentally diluted the medicines and found them to be as efficacious with only slight aggravations. Homeopathic medicines are carefully prepared by pharmaceutical houses. The higher the potency (higher number of dilutions and succussions), the stronger the action (yet often more gentle). How are homeopathic remedies made? Hold on to your hat, now, or your disbelief will blow it far away. As I said before, physicists are currently teaching how every thing, all matter, is really energy, so keep thinking matter=energy as you continue to read.

Herbs, minerals and body substances are diluted significantly beyond Avogadro's number, which says there are no molecules of the original substance left in a 6.12 x 10(-23) dilution. The Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States gives exact directions for the preparation of the tinctures (different for every remedy) and the subsequent potentization (the same for every remedy), that the homeopathic pharmaceutical companies follow to prepare the medicines. One drop of the tincture is diluted in 99 drops of diluent (water or alcohol) and shaken (succussed).

This makes a 1c potency. One drop of this is diluted in 99 drops of diluent and shaken to make a 2c. One drop of the 2c is diluted in 99 drops of diluent and shaken to make a 3c. Commonly made potencies are 6c, 12c, 30c, 200c, 1M (1,000c), 10M, 50M, CM. A 1M potency of a remedy has a very strong energetic effect on the body compared to the milder potency of 6c. However, the potency must match the energetic level of the ill animal to be most effective, and to be less likely to cause stressful aggravations.

Another dilution range is produced by diluting one drop of the tincture with 9 drops of diluent (instead of 99) and shaking to make a 1x potency. Then the process continues producing common potencies of 3x, 6x, 12x, 30x and 200x. A third range is the Q or LM scale of potencies. These are so different that we will not address them in this talk. You can read how in The Organon. The liquid dilution (of any remedy of any potency) is then impregnated onto sugar granules that come in 5 different sizes.

The #10 granules are poppy-seed sized and need no crushing before putting in the mouth, so I recommend them for animals when available. The larger granules, #20, #35 and tablets (triturate and compressed) need to be crushed to a powder before pouring into the front of the mouth. To repeat, the more a substance has been properly diluted and succussed, the stronger its action on the body, and the less frequently it should be given.

WHAT POTENCY DO I GIVE TO MY PATIENTS?

The following guidelines will give you an idea of what potency to choose. The most important part of choosing a potency is to evaluate the vital force, or energy level of your patient. Just because they can perform (run a long time, track all day, produce milk) does not mean their vital force is strong. They need to be alert, curious, interactive, and not showing too many of the previously mentioned subtle signs of illness to need the higher potencies. Much reading and practice is needed to become skilled at this part of the homeopathic prescription, so the following are merely brief guidelines.

The LOWER potencies (3x, 6x, 6c etc.) are more material, less energized and less powerful. The higher potencies (200c, 1M, 10M, etc.) work at a much deeper level. The Q(also called LM) potencies are very gentle and very powerful.

  • LOWER potency: Give MORE frequently.
  • HIGHER potency: Give LESS frequently.
  • OLDER animal Give LOWER potency LESS frequently.
  • YOUNGER animal Give HIGHER potency.
  • HEALTHIER animal with more vitality (even with one serious symptom) - Give HIGHER potency
  • DEBILITATED animal, especially with severe tissue changes - Give LOWER potency.
  • Animals GETTING DRUGS along with remedies (phenobarb, antibiotics, pred, etc.) Give LOWER potency MORE frequently.
  • RULE OF THUMB: START LOW. YOU CAN ALWAYS GO HIGHER.
  • Q (LM) POTENCIES: Start at every 3-5 days, increase to daily; then go up to LM2.
  • REMEDIES ARE NOT TO BE GIVEN CONTINUOUSLY, FOREVER. The owner MUST be reporting to the homeopath when symptoms return or new ones develop or when the overall health and vitality are not improving.
SCHEDULE OF CHRONIC TREATMENT

The following chart is a guide to determine which potency to go to next, no matter where you start on the chart. Also it indicates about (on average) how long to wait before re-prescribing. WHERE TO START ON THE CHART:

  • Older, moderate vitality: dog (age 8-12), cat (age 12-18): Often start at 6C. The time of treatment can vary considerably. Most animals will adhere to this schedule. Some will need to move much more slowly or more rapidly. The reaction of the patient is always the guide.
  • Young to middle-aged, good vitality: dog (age 4-8), cat (age 6-12): Use the schedule below, but begin at level 12C or 30C.
  • Young, strong vitality: dog (age 0-4), cat (age 0-6): 200C to 10M to start. May go up to 50M or CM. (At first, it is best to start at 200c) Choose a starting point on the chart from the guidelines above. You will not necessarily go through the whole chart, for the patient may need only one dose and be cured. You only re-prescribe when the evaluation of the response to the remedy indicates repetition. Hahnemann felt that above 30c, it is better to repeat each potency no more than twice.
  • 6X, one dose once a day for 2 weeks, or more
  • 6C, one dose 1-3x/day for 2 weeks or more
  • 12C, one dose 1-3x/day for 2 weeks or more
  • 30C, once, repeated as needed, possibly every 10-14 days
  • 200C, once, repeated as needed, possibly every 3-6 weeks
  • 1M, once, repeated as needed, possibly every 4-8 weeks
  • 10M, once, repeated infrequently, if ever
  • 50M, once, repeated infrequently, if ever
  • CM, once, repeated infrequently, if ever If you have to repeat 30c every 7 days, or 200c more than every 3 weeks, or 1M more than every 6 weeks, and give more than a few times, you are probably palliating or suppressing.
SCHEDULE OF ACUTE TREATMENT

These are different because the vital force is expressing itself, sometimes too strongly, so any potency can work, and will need to be given more frequently than above. Here we match the potency to the strength of the disease (high fever, explosive diarrhea and vomiting) as well as the inherent vital force of the patient.

  • Serious, sudden, life threatening conditions: 30C to 10M, every 2-4 hours
  • Moderate conditions (URI, cystitis, minor injuries): 30C, 2x/day for 1-4 days
  • If only low potencies are available 6X, 12X, 6C 4x/day 12C, 30X 3x/day
HOW CAN I TELL IF THE REMEDY IS CURING?

There are three main responses to giving a homeopathic remedy, or any type of treatment. Nothing, of course, may happen. CURE - The current symptoms, no matter how long they have been there, go away and stay away forever. The animal is healthy in all the ways we measure health (or many at least). The animal's vital force is healthy enough to respond to viruses, etc. and get sick occasionally. There usually is an aggravation of symptoms before the final improvement.

PALLIATION - The symptoms go away too fast for the degree of pathology. Then they return, unchanged, or slightly worse. Treatments have to be continued or at least repeated at frequent intervals. Even when treating homeopathically, the animal eventually gets worse.

SUPPRESSION - The symptoms go away too fast for the degree of pathology, and the animal gets sick on a deeper lever (mentals, internal organs, cancer). If you realize you have palliation or suppression - find a better remedy!! Or switch to conventional treatment or refer to an experienced homeopath.

Hahnemann says that inability to cure is usually the wrong remedy or not waiting long enough, so ...WAIT WAIT WAIT

Some indications that a cure is in progress, and you must not retreat The most important is the animal FEELS BETTER OVERALL and HAS MORE ENERGY

  • 1. MOST SYMPTOMS DISAPPEAR, ONLY A FEW LEFT.
  • 2. IMPROVEMENT - EVEN IF SLOW (potency too low, disease very deep)
  • 3. SYMPTOMS ARE IN THE PROCESS OF CHANGE. (Especially if changes are mental, emotional, or physical generals rather than local symptoms or pathology.)
FOLLOWS ANY ASPECT OF HERING'S LAW
Improvement is from:
  1. Inside the body to the outside.
  2. The top to the bottom.
  3. Most important organs to least important ones.
  4. Most recent symptoms to the oldest symptoms, even recurrences of very old problems.
  5. DISCHARGES COMING OUT AND CONCURRENTLY MIND IS BETTER - Diarrhea, vaginitis, skin, eyes, nose
  6. NEW SYMPTOMS AND PATIENT FEELS GREAT.7.
IN DOUBT OF WHAT IS HAPPENING. PRESCRIBE: EITHER A NEW REMEDY OR HIGHER OF THE SAME:
  1. New symptoms do not fit the current remedy picture and animal is not better overall.
  2. Symptoms change and the patient feels worse.
  3. All symptoms are worse and persist.
  4. There is no change and you have waited an appropriate time for that potency, or longer. How long should you wait? Each situation will be different. If the cat with an abscess is eating and feels OK - you may wait 2 or 3 days to see if there are any changes in the abscess. If the bitch has not resumed her contractions in 30 minutes, you will need to give another remedy or an injection of pitocin.

Dr. Hahnemann's The Organon, beautifully covers all areas of homeopathic prescribing as well as Kent's Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy, and many more.

WARNING If the animal is better for a few days then worse, then better after the next remedy, then worse - be sure to get clinical evaluation (x-rays, blood, physicals). If, for example, a vomiting animal is better, worse, better, worse, etc., with the remedies, there may be a blocked digestive tract.

DETAILED STEPS HOW TO GET READY AND START TREATING

First, buy as many books as you can afford. A Repertory (Kent or better) and a Materia Medica and The Organon will be essential. You will need many books.

  1. Decide what category(ies) you will be treating and study ahead of time. a. Choose what conditions you want to treat, write out all the symptoms you have seen in many animals, choose
  2. 2-10 remedies that are likely to fit this picture, and learn some of the characteristics of these remedies. or b. Choose which remedies you want to start prescribing, and study them, so you will recognize a patient needing that remedy, regardless of the illness. or c. Continue to study so you can repertorize and select remedies for any patient. 2. Using the above potency guidelines, decide which you want to order.
  3. Order remedies. If you are already sure you will be practicing homeopathy for many years, you may want to save money and order a kit or two. Jim Klemmer, Washington Homeopathic, and others have good kits. See the Sources list. Store away from sharp heat/cold changes and away from odoriferous substances. I feel that #10 granules are the best size for animals. Some practitioners prefer dispensing liquid 20% dilutions.
  4. To administer, pour 2 to 10 of the #10 granules in a folded piece of paper, or syringe cap, and pour into the FRONT of the animals mouth to dissolve on the tongue and gums. If some comes out it does not matter. If the potency is 12c or above, the quantity is immaterial - you could give 1 of these poppy-seed sized granules, or give the whole bottle. The analogy for quantity of homeopathic remedy to be given is electricity. If you touch an uninsulated wire with your tiny finger you will get the same charge as grabbing with your whole hand. Remedies are energy based, so the effects are not quantity related. Frequency and potency are important, not quantity. Again, the size of the animal does not matter - a shrew and a rhino need the same amount -"some" dissolved in the mouth. It is usually all right to touch the remedy, though not with a hand that's rubbing liniment or other odoriferous substance. The remedy can be given in mild or ice cream since the carrier is milk sugar. Even food will usually not inactivate a remedy, though if there is poor response to the remedy, you won't be sure if it was your poor prescribing or antidoting by food.
  5. Learn how to evaluate response to treatment so you know what to do on follow up. One possibility is always to go back to conventional medicine.
  6. Learn obstacles to being able to cure. Most homeopathic veterinarians quickly see the biggest obstacle - vaccinations too often and too many. You should not vaccinate while an animal is under treatment. Remember, the package insert says to vaccinate only healthy animals. If an animal is getting poor quality nutrients, she will not be able to respond as quickly, if at all, to homeopathic treatment. A raw meat, vegetable and maybe over-cooked carbohydrate diet is ideal. Environmental and emotional factors can also hinder cure, as can a client who demands symptoms go away fast and cannot be patient.
TREATING YOUR FIRST CASE

If you have decided to treat cat fight wounds or abscesses homeopathically you would have learned four or five of the remedies that are good for this (see following, and materia medicas and repertories). When an injured cat is presented, you would ask a few questions to determine if the cat fits the characteristics you learned for one of those remedies. If it did fit, you could suggest homeopathic treatment. If not, you would proceed with your conventional treatment. Even from the beginning, train yourself to look at the whole animal, not just the presenting complaint.

  1. How is the animal acting now? Ask the owner how she normally acts when not sick.
  2. Notice any odors, discharges, temperature of the skin on torso and extremities.
  3. Perform a complete physical exam.
  4. Especially important are characteristic symptoms. These can often be noted quickly once you learn to look for them. A characteristic symptom is one that makes you hesitate, that does not fit the picture, that is contrary to what you would expect. Examples include gastritis that is better from eating a large meal, itching eruption that gets better with scratching, a lameness that is better with exercise or better from cold damp weather, or symptoms that occur periodically (every 7th day, every 4PM, annually), etc.
  5. General characteristics (traits) of the patient include: temperature preferences, moods and personalities, affected by seasons or weather conditions, mental aberrations, tendency to discharges, swellings, suppurations, appetite tendencies. Characteristic and general symptoms are those that characterize this individual animal.
  6. Common symptoms that will not be as helpful in the remedy search would be itching red skin, vomiting hairballs or food or clear froth, being a "nice" animal, blood tests, stiffness, liking a certain brand of food, description of the tissue pathology, etc.
  7. List all the symptoms with their quantification. This is very important for your follow up evaluation. "Itching less" will not help your evaluation as much as "itching was 10 on a scale of 1-10 and now is 3, after a flare up to 12 occurring 4 days after giving the remedy"
  8. Use the abbreviated homeopathic veterinary books, my remedy and disease notes that follow, and/or the repertory (index of symptoms with the remedies that can cause those symptoms) to select 3-5 possible remedies.
  9. Then read about these in the materia medicas (descriptions of the remedies) and choose the one that fits the most characteristic symptoms of this animal.
  10. Decide on the vitality of the animal, the pathology of the disease, the harm that could happen with inflammation and choose the best potency. (Might be what you have on hand, so you refer to the schedule of treatment for frequency of administration.)
  11. Give the remedy and decide when to re-evaluate.
  12. Evaluate the response to the remedy and decide what to do next.

YOUR FIRST PATIENT of the night has been hit by a car and is lying on the table. The first thing you notice is that as you approach, the dog looks in a friendly way towards you, but as you draw near, he growls, or shrieks, or withdraws - clearly indicating an aversion to being touched. When you see this characteristic symptom and there is history of trauma, give a dose of Arnica. Then proceed with your examination and treatment. When you walk into the next room, this dog is cowering and seems terrified of you, and the owner says that ever since being left in the basement accidentally, she has been that way.

There you might start with a dose of Aconite. The next 3 patients are cats with bite wound abscesses. The first is timid and does not mind you palpating the area which seems to be painless and has been oozing serum. You would start with Silica. The second cat seems fine until you touch the abscess, when he freaks out with the pain, so you give Hepar sulph. The third cat is drooling, and has red gums. The abscess is painful to the touch and has a foul odor.

This cat might respond well to treatment with Mercurius vivus. Interspersed with these "clear cut symptom" patients, who have characteristics and generalities that seem to match one remedy, are many animals where you cannot select a remedy that you have confidence in, or where you realize immediately that there is not a clear cut picture, with no characteristic symptoms and indistinct generalities ("well, she is sort of nice, occasionally mean and no temperature preferences and sometimes thirsty and sometimes not"). Until you have further training, do not treat these homeopathically unless the owner requests and then you may want to work with a trained homeopath.

WHAT COULD I START TREATING HOMEOPATHICALLY?

ABSCESSES:

  1. Painless abscesses, especially ones that have been draining already, or ones that are not healing or are recurring. The patient is usually chilly (wants to be warm), nice to shy or timid, and may be more thirsty than usual: Silica
  2. Very painful abscesses, often not draining, the cat is irritable, nasty and maybe has always had a tendency to be that way, is very, very, very chilly, especially when sick: Hepar sulphur
  3. Ulcerating, smelly, discharging abscesses, painful, tendency to lots of saliva, gum problems, red gums, bad odor to breath, slightly aggressive to angry, sensitive to both heat and cold: Mercurius vivus (sol)
BLEEDING:

A very good Chinese Herb to give to stop bleeding or prevent bleeding in susceptible animals is Yunnan Paiyo. Homeopathic remedies include: Arnica: Oozing, passive hemorrhage Hamamelis: Dark, oozing, passive. Aconite, Phos: Bright red from superficial vessels. Ipecac: Profuse, gushing, bright red

BREEDING PROBLEMS:

Not accepting puppies - "I'll take care of them but I really do not want to" up to "I'll eat them" - Sepia Either not drying up, or not producing enough milk - Pulsatilla LABOR: The contractions stop, and you would be ready to give an Pit injection to restart them: try Caulophyllum first. She seems to stop labor because she is tired and sore: Arnica She is acting wimpy and sensitive to the pain and really wants someone to sit with her: Pulsatilla

Remember, these are only very brief guidelines and you need to read up on each case to find the remedy that best fits the whole animal.

DIARRHEA:
  • Restless, thirsty, fearful, chilly animals that have been "poisoned" by what they ate: Arsenicum album.
  • Nice animals who are either hiding or nasty when sick, who have been "overeating" or getting into the garbage: Nux vomica.
  • More chronic diarrheas, often very smelly, and other smelly problems (ears, skin), in very hot animals that are laid back: Sulphur.
  • Very friendly, thirsty, slightly chilly, startles easily, blood in the stool or history of bleeding problems: Phosphorus
  • FEAR or TERROR or SHOCK:

When animals come into your waiting room petrified. Stray cats who won't come out of the bushes and seem terrified, not just street smart. Never well since that horribly loud thunderstorm. Anxious and agitated about any physical condition (cystitis cat whose owner says is going to the box frequently and seems scared of everything). Injured animals who are in shock, or just dilated pupils and acting scared. Terror of going into the ring, especially suddenly fearful. Try Aconite.

FRACTURES:

To speed healing give Symphytum 30c once a week for 3 - 4 until healed. This remedy is especially helpful in non-unions. Calcarea phosphorica is also good. the best help, of course, is the constitutional remedy, if recognized.

HERNIAS: Try a dose or 2 of either Nux vomica or Sulphur for inguinal or umbilical hernias when not much else is happening.

IVD (INTERVERTEBRAL DISC PROBLEMS/PARALYSIS):

If there are any general indications for Nux vomica (irritable, nasty, normally friendly, now not; chilly now;) give Nux first. Otherwise try Hypericum. When the lesion has been present for weeks, Arnica can possibly help.

PROLAPSED ANYTHING:

A prolapsed uterus (even in a cow!!), or rectum in a young animal may respond to Nux vomica or Sepia.

REVERSE SNEEZING:

This can be a sequela to rabies vaccine, so you could try Lachesis or Lyssin (warning: do not repeat either of these remedies more that twice unless well indicated) Lachesis may have a history of jealousy, aggression, skin problems especially the thickened, blackened skin, aversion to wearing a collar, talkative, and a preference for the cold. Lyssin may have a fear of bright objects, desire to roam, allergic skin problems of many types, sensitive to stimuli.

STATUS EPILEPTICUS:

The two remedies to try are Aconite and Belladonna. I would give a 1M of the one that fit the closest and wait 5 minutes. If there is no improvement, I would give the other, and wait 5 minutes. ALWAYS GIVE RESCUE REMEDY or GREEN HOPE FARM'S ANIMAL EMERGENCY TRAUMA SOLUTION to the animal IN the seizure, AND to the owner.

STIFFNESS:

From whatever the source, when an animal is very stiff when they first get up, then improve as they move around and loosen up, the remedy to try is Rhus toxicodendren. The "rusty -gate" remedy, it is very similar to many of these older, stiff, cats and dogs. When an animal can not or will not move because the pain is worse from motion, and maybe they are thirstier than before, and the animal is grumpy and avoiding company, try Bryonia.

UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS IN CATS:

These common symptoms are easily curable when acute. (They are very hard to cure when chronic.) This would be a good "homeopathic disease" to start on. Many remedies possible: Pulsatilla will have bland, often creamy discharges, is very very sweet, timid, thirstless and craves open air and coolness. Arsenicum album is the opposite with excoriating, acrid discharges, a strong craving for heat, maybe fearful (or history of fears). Mercurius solubis is intolerant of heat and cold, may have bad odors of breath and body, diarrhea and increased salivation.

TRAUMA WITH AVERSION TO BEING TOUCHED:

Arnica is excellent for bruising, extravasations, blunt injuries of any kind, especially when the animal does not want to be touched, maybe does not even want you or the owner to come near them at all. This would be good for the Spost-operative patient who was not recovering their mobility, or walked very wide legged after abdominal procedures, or suddenly did not want petting and cuddling.

VACCINOSIS:

This is the name for any kind of an ailment, vital force or energy imbalance that appears to result from the animals reaction to vaccines. Symptoms that may indicate this are: not very affectionate personality, anxiety, eyes that tear or have clinkers, bladder problems, dull dry hair coat with excess shedding, otitis, showing summer periodicity and many more symptoms. There is a rubric (in the Repertory under Generalities) that lists many useful remedies for vaccinosis. If none seem to be a close fit, start with Thuja.

SIMPLE VERSUS MORE DEEP SEATED PROBLEMS

You can not always tell until the animal responds to treatment if the problem is acute or represents an underlying energy imbalance. For example, I had two cats present the same week with abscesses. One cat responded after one dose of Hepar sulphur and was completely well after a dose of Silica. The other cat did not respond completely to three well chosen remedies - did better, but the abscess did not resolve. I then took a complete case history of the entire life of the cat, gave a remedy that fit this cat at the deepest possible level, including his historical problems and tendencies. His abscess cleared up and so did his tendency to vomit, to be constipated, to be nasty yet fearful and to be thirsty. It was only after the cat had successfully responded to the final treatment that I could say that the abscess reflected a deeper energy imbalance. If your remedies do not stop the problem, and leave a healthier, happier animal, do not feel it is your incorrect selection of a remedy or that homeopathy does not work, but rather that a different perspective is needed, one that you may not be able to have at this stage in your homeopathic training.

The following remedies are the ones most homeopathic practitioners use for treating animals. At first, if you are trying to cure an animal with deep underlying energy imbalances, limit your repertory searches to one of these remedies.

COMMON ANIMAL REMEDIES TO STUDY FIRST FOR DEEP SEATED PROBLEMS:

Apis, Ars-alb, Arn, Bar carb, Bell, Bry, Calc-carb, Calc-phos, Carbo veg, Caust, China, Cuprum met, Graph, Hep-sulph, Hyper, Ign, Iod, Ipec, Kali carb, Lach, Lyc, Lyssin, Merc, Mez, Nat-mur, Nit-ac, Nux-vom, Phos, Psor, Puls, Rhus-tox, Sabad, Sars, Sel, Sep, Sil, Sul, Thu, Ver-alb, Zinc. These will cure (or help) at least 80% of your cases.

HOW DO I LEARN MORE HOMEOPATHY?

Read and study all you can, whether applied to people or animals. See links below:

Dr. Christina Chambreau D.V.M. is the founder of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy and and is on the faculty of the National Center for Homeopathy Summer School. She teaches and lectures at conventions, schools, clubs and to anyone who is concerned about improving the health of animals. She graduated from the University of Georgia Veterinary College in 1980 and has practiced veterinary homeopathy since 1983. She teaches courses on holistic health and homoepathy for animals around the country.

JOURNAL
Often holistic veterinarians will ask you questions about your animal's past problems, even little ones. (Good holistic veterinarians should always focus on the total individual, not just the current problem.) But wait – you have forgotten what happened when. The best way to keep track of the health of your animals, and your own health, is to keep a journal. This could be on a calendar, file folder, computer, spiral notebook, daytimer – or come up with your own creative idea. When my daughter was little, I kept notes about her in the margin of my daily crossword puzzle. Then I had a job to copy them before I went to the homeopathic doctor.

KEEPING A JOURNAL ON YOUR ANIMALS
by Christina Chambreau, D.V.M.

Keeping a journal is one of the most important steps you can take to have your animals live their longest, be the healthiest and even to produce the healthiest offspring. There are an infinite number of ways to keep a journal – be creative. I’ll share a few tips with you about the key elements of a properly configured Pet Health Journal...

KEYS PARTS OF A JOURNAL

1. Journal: You can use calendars, spiral notebooks, 3-ring binders, computers and scraps of paper to keep the journals. Most people choose a computer or 3-ring binder.

2. Beginning: Note where you got the animal from and when. Any history you can glean about the animal’s early environment and handling will be helpful. Note how the new addition to your life reacted when first with you.

3. Illnesses:

  • a. For each illness, record anything your veterinarian tells and shows you. Be specific about how things looked, not just the diagnosis. (“Gingivitis”, says the veterinarian. “Why do you say that?” you ask. “You see the red line above 4 of the teeth, the pus coming out behind one tooth...” etc.)
  • b. Ask yourself and others in the family what could have caused this illness – were emotional things happening in the family, had the animal just been to the groomer, or vaccinated, or...? Did you just get another animal?
  • c. Record every current symptom observed by you and your family and your veterinarian, and give the intensity of the symptom a numerical value... one being slightly noticeable and five being intensely noticeable.
  • d. Record and date every treatment given and if the animal resisted the treatment, loved it, or was indifferent.
  • e. Observe and record each symptom you originally listed, and add any new ones to the list and continue to track them all.
  • f. When the animal has recovered from this current problem, schedule times for you to review the symptom list periodically to see if they are slowly returning.
  • g. Always focus your attention (put the greatest emphasis) on the energy, happiness, interactions, appetite and general well being of the animal.
  • 4. Regular Check-ups:
  • a. If your animal is a puppy or kitten, do your own physical exam once a week until 4 or 5 months old, then shift to monthly exams. At one year, start doing the checks every 6 months. When the animal has been ill, do them weekly, and then taper off as they regain their health. When they are approaching “senior status”, do them monthly again.
  • b. Have your veterinarian show you how to look in the eyes, ears, mouth, etc. You will notice, after doing these exams for a while, whatever is important to note. Yes... write everything down in your journal!
  • c. Once a year, or more often if needed, have a veterinarian do a physical exam to see if there is anything you are missing.

Homeopathy Today includes inspiring articles and testimonials from veterinarians and others who have improved their animal's health or saved their lives with homeopathy. If you're interested in homeopathy, this is one magazine to get. Homeopathic remedies may be bought over the counter in all countries, and are being used to treat both human beings and animals. Each month it features articles and information from todays leading homeopaths.

I wait for mine to arrive each month and then read it cover-to-cover! Published six times a year, each issue features articles by some of the world's best homeopaths on self-treatment for common ailments (e.g., hay fever, ear infections, and the flu); on the homeopathic treatment process and the philosophical underpinnings of homeopathy; and on specific remedies or diseases. Readers are kept up to date on the latest topics in homeopathic education, legislation that impacts homeopathic practice, conferences and workshops, reviews of new books, and much more. And each issue also contains at least one or two cure stories -- contributed by both practtioners and patients -- of their successful experiences with homeopathic treatment. In sum, there is material in each issue of Homeopathy Today that will interest everyone -- from patients to experienced practitioners. Highly recommended for laypeople, students, and professionals alike .

Holistic animal health articles by Dr. Christina Chambreau D.V.M.

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Directory of classical homeopaths in the US, Canada, UK and Ireland

Referrals to Classical Homeopaths in the United States and Canada (scroll down that page)
Directory of North American Society of Homeoapths
National Center for Homeopathy: directory of Practitioners (USA)

The Society of Homeopaths (UK)
The Institute of Homeopathy (UK)
Irish Society of Homeopaths

Finding Professional Homeopathic Care
How Do I Find a Homeopath? - How Can You Know That a Homeopath is Good? - How Much Does Homeopathic Care Cost? - Does Insurance Cover Homeopathic Care? A Modern Understanding of Homeopathic Medicine

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Dr. Christina Chambreau D.V.M. is the founder of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy and and is on the faculty of the National Center for Homeopathy Summer School. She teaches and lectures at conventions, schools, clubs and to anyone who is concerned about improving the health of animals. She graduated from the University of Georgia Veterinary College in 1980 and has practiced veterinary homeopathy since 1983.

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Supporting Your Animal's Immune System Naturally

Immune Boosting natural immune enhancing substances in Holistic Veterinary A groundswell of nutrition conscious veterinarians are beginning to recommend to their clients that they supplement their animals diet with a daily dose of flaxseed oil and other important nutrients for animals. When the diets of animals were fortified with flax, within three weeks their coats developed a beautiful sheen, and dandruff was greatly diminished. There are amazing testimonials about animals recovering from cancer, diabetes and other severe degenerative illnesses with a unique nutritional product.

Do you have a question about holistic health or need assistance? Email Shirley or call 323-522-4521



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