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Homeopathy is a specific kind of holistic medicine that works under the law of similars or like cures like. It is a 200 year old practice of medicine used much more commonly in Europe and the United Kingdom. It is becoming more mainstream in the United States through products such as cold medicines Zicam and Cold-Eeze and Hyland’s Teething Tablets. Generally speaking, homeopathy is best used under the guidance of a trained and experienced veterinary homeopath.

Like cures like. This simple theory is the foundation for the 200 year old practice of homeopathy. "Homeopaths use similar remedies to effect a cure; they choose a remedy that in full strength would cause similar symptoms, but in diluted strength has the opposite (curative) effect," says Shawn Messonnier, DVM in his book, Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats.

Samuel Hahneman developed homeopathy in the 18th century, after his discovery that the treatment for malaria, china (pronounced "keena" and containing quinine), could induce malaria-like symptoms in otherwise healthy individuals. Hahneman wasn’t the first to identify what became known as the law of similars, though. Others before him, including Hippocrates the "Father of Medicine", recognized it.

Homeopathy stimulates the body’s own healing mechanism," explains Judkins. "When you find
the exactly right remedy
you can cure the problem without side effects, in a way no conventional medication can.

What really set Hahneman’s work apart was the discovery that "the more he diluted the medicines, as long as they were shaken vigorously at each step, the more powerful they became," explains Don Hamilton, DVM in Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs. Most remedies are diluted, or potentized, so much that the original substance cannot be detected.

The original natural substances are potentized according to two main scales. "Centesimal (C) potencies are diluted by a factor of one hundred at each step, while decimal (X) potencies are diluted by a factor of ten at each step…a 3C has 1/1,000,000 of the original concentration," says Hamilton. "It’s purely energetic medicine, that’s what makes homeopathy a difficult practice [for clients] to accept," says Jeff Judkins, DMV of Whole Pet Veterinary Clinic. "Yet, I’ve seen the most dramatic healing responses with homeopathy."

"Homeopathy stimulates the body’s own healing mechanism," explains Judkins. "When you find the exactly right remedy you can cure the problem without side effects, in a way no conventional medication can. I’ve even had cancers go away, it doesn’t always happen, but it is possible."

Homeopathy can be used to treat a wide variety of animal maladies. "I’m often amazed at how rapidly homeopathic medications can work,” says Richard Pitcairn in Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. "In acute problems they usually restore health much faster than drugs do… But they also excel in treating many chronic conditions."

"I’ve been successful in treating complex situations with homeopathy, from seizures to diabetes," says Lauren Chattigre, DVM of Murray Hill Veterinary Hospital. To prevent possible problems from changing treatments, Chattigre uses caution. "When I have a patient who has been using conventional medications, I’m always careful to not abruptly discontinue their use. The medications are tapered as the animal shows improvement."

In a typical homeopathic workup, the vet often spends as much as an hour with the client recording observations about the dog. No detail is too small in determining which remedy is most likely to effect a cure, from the standard physical symptoms to the dog’s individual preferences and even body type.

"You can’t just say, my dog has diarrhea," says Judkins. "I need to know what it looks like, frequency, what time of day it occurs – all the details. If there isn’t enough information it’s difficult to prescribe," says Judkins.

This information is then used to determine which remedy best fits the animal and symptom picture. "Most homeopaths will develop a short list of the top 2-3 likely remedies and start with the first choice," explains Chattigre. "Look for improvement in attitude and energy level, even before physical improvement. If it doesn’t work, then you move on to the back-ups."

Homeopathic remedies are available in several different forms. Given orally, they may be small pellets the size of a BB or poppy seed or a liquid. The remedies are typically easy to administer.

The most complicated part about giving the remedies is timing. "Allow at least 20 minutes between giving the remedy and other oral items – food, other medicines, or treats. Water is okay," stresses Chattigre.

"Dosing and potency depends on the dogs condition," says Chattigre. "I start with a lower potency for animals that are in poorer condition. If the animal is in really good condition, I’ll start with a higher potency."

Homeopathy, under most circumstances, is best practiced by a well-trained professional. However, there are situations in which a dog guardian may want to try it with their own dog. In fact, Judkins says one homeopathic remedy, Arnica, should be in every dog owner’s first aid kit. Chattigre agrees and recommends using Arnica 30c when a dog has suffered a minor trauma, such as running into something or stumbling from taking a corner too quickly. "The typical dosage for that kind of situation would be a dose every hour for the first three doses and then twice a day for the next couple of days." The soreness usually abates quickly and without side effects.

Any of the recommended books will give you an overview of homeopathy and help delineate between situations that can be addressed by you at home, and which should be treated under the direct care of a veterinarian.

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Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs: Small doses for small animals
Don Hamilton, DVM

Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats
Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD
Susan Hubble Pitcairn

Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats Shawn Messonnier, DVM

The Homeopathic Treatment of Small Animals: Principles and Practice Christopher Day



Veterinary Homeopathy

HOMEOPATHY: Working For People And Pets Without Side Effects

What type of Dis-eases Can Homeopathy Treat?

Homepathy For Pets


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