Veterinary article about Homoeopathy for Animals
Peter Culpin MRCVS has been a practising Veterinary Surgeon for well over 20 years, running clinics in Surrey & Norfolk. He can be contacted on 07779 628661 or by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org
CHOOSING THE HOMOEOPATHIC PATIENT - by Peter Culpin MRCVS
When Samuel Hahnemann developed his ideas on the practice of Homoeopathic Medicine the thought never entered his head that patients should be specifically chosen to receive his remedies.
So it is today. Every patient, no matter what his illness can be benefited by Homoeopathy.
This applies just as much to the treatment of animals as it does to the treatment of humans. However, treatments are not always as successful as they might be.
It has always been my contention that if a remedy doesn’t work it is because I have chosen the wrong remedy or that I have selected the wrong potency. Over the twelve years I have practiced Veterinary Homoeopathy I have come to realise, however, that some conditions are extremely difficult to treat successfully. First and foremost among these has to be Miliary Eczema. This condition is often said to be associated with flea infestation, and yet I see cats that live in flats and are not flea infested, yet still have miliary eczema type lesions. The true miliary eczema, however, must be differentiated from similar skin conditions where the main problem is one of excessive grooming. I believe the latter to be a manifestation of behaviour rather than an allergic reaction. In the case of overgrooming, and self mutilation I have found the mental symptoms to be of greatest use - almost forgetting the skin condition one is being asked to treat. Many of these cats respond to remedies such as Chamomilla, Pulsatilla, etc. rather than the typical skin remedies such as Sulphur, Graphites and the like.
One of my patients is an extremely interesting Burmese, who will pick at a small skin eruption until she literally tears a hole in the skin. I have been forced to stitch wounds she has inflicted on herself on more than one occasion. Faced with this unusual behaviour I searched for a remedy which suited her and came up with Arsenicum for ‘a general tendency to pick at roughened places in the skin until they bleed, and skin like parchment’. After one dose of Arsenicum 200c the owner reported the cat had reduced its furious grooming. Interestingly after the Arsenicum dose the owner reported that for the first time the cat had voided a tapeworm segment. The dose of Arsenicum was repeated after five days and I await the outcome with interest.
The difficulty one encounters in treating these skin conditions is almost certainly affected by the fact that the majority of these cats are neutered. Sometimes skin problems can be traced back to the time when neutering took place. Often the symptoms will arise between four and six months after neutering, at a time when hormonal levels will have reduced to virtually zero. If the overall cause can be allied to a feeling of resentment, then obviously Staphisagria will do much to improve the condition. So often, though we are unable to ascertain whether an animal is suffering mental anguish - we can only surmise. Sometimes we have a guiding sense which leads us to believe that an animal is not suffering so much physically as mentally.
Just such a case presented itself recently as a referral. The cat had a serious eczema which had been treated with antibiotics and steroids, which had only served to suppress the symptoms for a short while. The cat was undoubtedly an excessive groomer. When I questioned the owners how long they had owned the cat they revealed that he had literally turned up on their doorstep one day, and they had no knowledge of where he was from. I immediately felt a sense of loss in the pit of my stomach - I instinctively new that the cat was experiencing the loss of his previous owners - he was grooming excessively as a result of his abandonment. I chose the remedy Ignatia, giving three doses of 30c potency. One week later his excessive licking had stopped and his skin was beginning to recover.
The art of selecting the correct remedy for a patient is termed ‘Repertorisation’ and requires a great deal of experience. The remedy which suits a particular patient perfectly is called his ‘Constitutional Remedy’. This is the remedy which will, above all others, restore the patient to balanced health. When prescribing for animals it is sometimes extremely difficult to repertorise for their constitutional remedy because so many questions remain unanswered. Often one is left with the task of ‘treating the loudest screamers first’ if the animal is to be given some degree of comfort from his illness. So often it is necessary to use tried and tested remedies to reduce the majority of his symptoms and then go back and fine tune until one achieves equilibrium.