What is homeopathic medicine?
HOMEOPATHIC VS ALLOPATHIC MEDICINE
Traditional (allopathic) medicine uses anti-inflammatory drugs to treat inflammation, pain medicine (analgesics) to treat pain, and antimicrobial drugs to kill microbes. Traditional medicine considers some symptoms to be unrelated to an animal’s “condition”. Homeopathy is based on the principle of “like cures like” and that disease can be cured by strengthening the body’s natural defense mechanisms. This is in direct contrast to traditional medicine which uses drugs to suppress symptoms.
In homeopathy, all symptoms are examined as part of the disease process and help to illuminate the state of sickness in the body. A homeopathic remedy is selected that would produce the same symptoms in a healthy animal that we are looking to treat in the sick animal (“like cures like”). This substance is selected from herbs, minerals and natural compounds which are then diluted beyond the point of possible toxicity.
The prescription of a particular remedy is based upon the totality of symptoms of the individual. Unique and characteristic symptoms (like diarrhea which causes your pet to wake from a sound sleep early every morning while s/he has no bowel problems the rest of the day) are especially important. General observations including behavioral traits (especially if there is a change) are also important. Occurrence of a certain symptom at specific times of the day or during certain environmental conditions (seasonal, during storms, in the cold, heat, etc.) can also be useful. It is sometimes helpful for owners to keep a written log to remember what happened and when.
The goal of homeopathic treatment is to achieve the highest possible level of health. Homeopathy does have important limitations however. Because it relies on the natural healing abilities of the body, advanced organ pathology such as cancer or crippling arthritis, which involve changes in the structure of the body, can rarely be fully reversed. The animals who suffer from such conditions will often be helped to become stronger and more comfortable and have a better quality of life. Surgical intervention is still required when appropriate (such as for traumatic diseases).
WHAT ARE HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES?
A homeopathic remedy is a single substance derived from a plant, animal or mineral. This is then subjected to a special procedure called potentization which brings out the medicinal properties of the original substance. There are currently about two thousand remedies whose specific effects on the body have been carefully recorded on healthy individuals (known as provings). Examples include minerals like Sulphur, plants like poison ivy, and animal products like bee venom, etc. Dr. Hahnemann discovered that the effect of homeopathic medicines is strengthened dramatically upon successive dilutions and succussing (a specific technique involving vigorous shaking) between each dilution.
HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT REMEDY FOR MY PET?
There are thousands of homeopathic remedies. The key to finding the right remedy is individualization. This means that the totality of all symptoms experienced by the patient (including those apparently unrelated to the main complaint) has to be known to prescribe a remedy. The mere name of a disease like hyperthyroidism, arthritis, Lyme, etc. is not enough. Every condition can express itself in a different way in different individuals.
For this reason, we cannot answer the popular question “My pet has disease X—which homeopathic remedy should s/he take?” In addition, we cannot answer the question “Why did Doc Iris prescribe X—remedy for Fido?” Through the course of an in-depth interview, Doc iris will try to form a complete picture of your pet’s current state. This will also include symptoms from past illnesses.
Each remedy has symptoms and traits that it is more specific to than a different remedy that may be commonly used for similar symptoms. For example, one remedy may help with a hacking cough in a patient that is sensitive to heat, where another may be more appropriate because it will help with a hacking cough in a patient that is sensitive to cold temps.
WHAT SHOULD I BE AWARE OF WHEN MY PET IS BEING TREATED HOMEOPATHICALLY?
Homeopathic preparations are extremely safe because of their highly diluted form. Nonetheless, frequent repetition of a dose without the advice of a professional is not recommended.
- Remedies should not be taken together with food because this will interfere with their action. Give them at least one hour before or after feeding.
- Do not handle the remedy. Open the vial or envelope and shake the pill(s) directly onto the back of your pet’s tongue. If necessary, the remedy can be mixed with a small amount of water or milk and administered with a dropper.
- Do not put remedy back in the container once you’ve touched it.
- Keep all homeopathic remedies away from sunlight, magnets, heat sources, electronics, including batteries, microwaves, cell phones, laptops, tvs, etc.
- If it runs on electricity or batteries, then store your remedies away from it!
Sometimes a worsening of your pet’s symptoms may occur (this is known as a healing crisis). This initial aggravation is usually a good sign and indicates that the body is responding to the remedy. Although the physical symptoms might get worse for a short period of time, in general your pet as a whole should start to feel better almost immediately. The homeopathic aggravation will subside quickly followed by recovery.
Do Not give any other medications unless your veterinary homeopath has approved them. This includes topical salves (for the ears, skin or eyes) because they may suppress important symptoms and interfere with the remedy. Bach flower remedies, natural vitamins, some herbs, and chiropractic care work well with homeopathy. It is also extremely important that your pet have a fresh, natural diet and sufficient exercise.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT?
- Your pet may experience an immediate and perhaps dramatic improvement within hours-days.
- Your pet may experience gradual improvement over time weeks-months (the speed of recovery depends in part on how long your pet has been sick).
- Your pet may not have any, or only a partial improvement and may require a different potency or remedy.
AFTER TAKING THE REMEDY
Homeopathy is a safe form of treatment in that there are no chemicals or drugs in the remedies so, there are no side effects. As mentioned previously, there may be temporary aggravations after taking the remedy. While these might seem uncomfortable for your pet at the time, they are generally a very positive sign and are only a temporary part of the healing process. It is best to let them run their course as this leads to the quickest cure.
There may be a discharge or other change as part of the healing process. This is particularly common where there has been some form of suppression in the past. The problem may be physical, e.g. diarrhea, eye, ear, nasal or skin discharge, or it may be behavioral, e.g. change in sleeping location, new fears etc. This is healthy and is a sign that your pet is getting rid of accumulated “toxins”. It may be difficult to watch, but please interfere with it as little as possible.
After successful therapy, the body often goes back and “cleans up” old problems that have never been properly resolved. Old complaints may resurface briefly, in reverse order from which they appeared, e.g. there may be a brief episode of straining to urinate if your pet had cystitis at some point in the past. It is very important not to interfere with these symptoms. Doing so will stop the curative process.
Visit https://abchomeopathy.com for a guide to which homeopathic remedy would be best for the situation.