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Homeopathy for Dog Health

by Dr. Larry Siegler

Homeopathy is a natural alternative for healing that works by eliminating the underlying imbalance in a pet’s body that is causing the symptoms. Much of modern conventional medical and veterinary practice has become a system of suppressing the symptoms of disease, not curing its cause. Symptoms are an indication of illness; signs that the body is fighting to return to a state of balance. Suppressing the symptoms of disease frequently causes the disease to go deeper, resulting in a different, and often more serious set of symptoms to crop up while the underlying imbalance goes unchecked.

One of the most common places we see this is in treating allergy symptoms with steroid drugs such as prednisone. Relief from the symptoms such as itching and hot spots may be swift, but once the course of steroids is complete, frequently a new problem will appear, such as asthma or digestive disorders, for example. Meanwhile, the immune system has been suppressed, the liver and kidneys stressed, and the overall health of the animal diminished. Homeopathy offers a valuable alternative to conventional medical and veterinary treatment.

Homeopathy is an over 200 year old system of medical science based on the principle of “like cures like.” Homeopathic remedies consist of micro doses of substances from plant, mineral and animal sources that, in large doses, create the symptoms of the disease being treated. The homeopathic dose in the remedies, however, is so small that in some cases no molecule of the original substance remains. Homeopathic remedies come in liquid or pellet form and each dose consists of only a few drops or pellets. The remedy works with the “vital force” (immune system) and stimulates a return to balance in the individual’s system – treating the root cause of disease. Homeopathic remedies do not produce harmful side effects because the correct remedy will not suppress symptoms – it will gently stimulate healing from within. In most cases, once the disease is resolved with the correct remedy, symptoms will not return provided any lifestyle or diet issues that led to the disease state have been addressed. However in some cases, such as seasonal allergies, periodic treatment may be beneficial and necessary.

Combination Remedies vs. Classical Homeopathy

Combination remedies, such as the HomeoPet and Newton Homeopathics remedies sold by Only Natural Pet Store, are formulations designed to treat “symptoms” by combining several different remedies that are most commonly prescribed for specific symptoms. The assumption here is that one of the remedies in the formula is likely to work on the individual being treated; the rest of the remedies in the formula will have no effect. Combination remedies work quite well in many individuals when treating mild to moderate acute conditions. Mild to moderate acute, self limiting diseases are safe to self treat with combination or single remedies. Chronic conditions or more serious disease needs the guidance of a veterinarian trained in classical homeopathic medicine.

Classical Homeopathy takes into consideration the whole patient, the totality of all symptoms including physical, mental and emotional states. A classically trained homeopath will ask many detailed questions in order to obtain a complete picture of the individual and match this to the most appropriate remedy. With classical homeopathy, one dog with itchy skin and hot spots may be prescribed a remedy such as Rhus Toxicodendron, while another dog with the same symptoms would be prescribed Staphysagria. The larger picture of the dog’s physical and mental being would determine the remedy. Many holistic veterinarians that utilize homeopathy will prescribe a remedy along with other treatments such as diet and supplements as needed. Although, in some cases a single dose of the proper remedy is all that is needed to resolve a problem.

The length of time a disease takes to resolve with homeopathic treatment is generally related to the length of time the disease has been present in the individual’s system and the severity of the symptoms. Diseases such as chronic skin problems would take longer to respond than a runny nose or a cough.

Administering Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathic remedies are best given at least 20 minutes before or after a meal. Ideally there should be no food residue in the mouth. Drop the liquid directly into the animal’s mouth or on the gums. Liquid remedies are preserved with alcohol and some animals, especially cats, can be sensitive to the odor or taste. To remove the alcohol you can drop the dosage into a small vial or shot glass and let it sit out for 15-20 minutes for the alcohol to evaporate. Alternatively, drop the dosage into a small amount of heated water to speed the evaporation of the alcohol, and then use a dropper to administer the diluted remedy. This will not affect the potency of the remedy. Pellets can be crushed and emptied into the animal’s mouth with a small piece of paper rolled like a funnel or folded into a small envelope. Avoid feeding raw garlic during homeopathic treatment.

Some animals may be resistant and not accept the remedy. In this case you can give the dose in a small amount of food, water or milk. It is best to evaporate the alcohol before putting it in the food or liquid. This may affect the potency of the remedy, but will not necessarily render it ineffective.

For acute injuries, trauma, and illnesses the remedy can be given every 15 minutes for the first hour, reducing to every 30 minutes for the next hour, then to once in the third hour. This may be all that is needed to stimulate the healing process and resolve the imbalance. If needed, subsequent doses can be administered 1 to 3 times daily. In non-acute illnesses administration 3

times daily is the general recommendation. Once the symptoms resolve, reduce the frequency of the dosage to twice per day and then to once per day. If symptoms reappear, increase the dosage again and maintain at 2-3 times per day for another 10 to 20 days and gradually reduce the dosage again. If symptoms reappear again, then the remedy being used may not be the proper choice or there may be diet or environmental issues that have not yet been properly addressed.

Individual remedies prescribed by a veterinarian may be dosed differently and instructions should be followed carefully.

Homeopathy is rapidly growing in popularity because of its safety and effectiveness. It is gentle enough for use in small puppies and kittens and can be used along with other holistic or conventional treatments. Combination remedies can be an economical and effective way to help our companions heal from periodic injuries or illnesses. They can also be beneficial in supporting the healing process from more chronic conditions when used along with any needed changes in diet and lifestyle and in conjunction with proper herbal or supplemental treatments. You will find Homeopathy a welcome addition to providing natural health care for your companions.

Please Note: To find a holistic veterinarian that practices homeopathy near you, check the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association or Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy referral directories.