Is Homeopathic Veterinary Medicine Beneficial for Your Pets?
Homeopathic medicine has been a long time controversial topic. What is it? How does it work? Is it effective? All of your questions will be answered within this blog.
When people hear the word 'Homeopathic' some people may think of potions, lotions or spells, but this is certainly not the case. Homeopathic medicine refers to the use of homeopathic compounds, tinctures and remedies designed to treat a certain condition by administering minute doses of natural substances that in larger amounts would produce similar symptoms of that ailment. In theory, a homeopathic dose enhances the body's normal healing ability and self-regulatory processes by giving a smaller, controlled dosage of that natural substance to reverse or treat the symptoms of the ailment.
Homeopathy treats each patient as a unique individual with the aim of stimulating their own healing ability by using natural medicines selected to be the most appropriate based on the individual's specific symptoms and level of health. Homeopathy is recognized by the world health organisation as the second biggest therapeutic system in the world. It is one of the oldest forms of medicine and it's use can be traced back over 7000 years.
Here at Wallsend Vet Newcastle we implement the use of homeopathic medicine and treatments that have been proven to effectively treat certain conditions. Often we reserve homeopathic treatment for clients who have animals that have not responded well in the past to chemical medications or other treatments.
What are homeopathic compounds?
Homeopathic compounds are what we commonly use to easily deliver these medications to our patients. They are concentrated extractions of fresh or dried herbs, minerals or other materials diluted in alcohol, vinegar or glycerine. They are in the form of a liquid and typically come in an amber glass bottle with an eye dropper lid. They can be administered orally or added to a treat for extra palatability (as long as they eat the whole treat to get the whole dosage). The effectiveness of the compound is reflected in the quality of the plants and other ingredients used to make it. Some of these compounds contain a miniscule amount of alcohol, not enough for your animals body to detect, but if you prefer alcohol-free there are alcohol-free options available.
There is no standard dose rate when working with homeopathics. The dose rates for each animal are tailored completely to that individual animal's needs after reviewing their condition and symptoms. This means that two dogs the same size sharing the same condition will receive different dose rates depending on their individual disease states and will be adjusted if the illness is acute or chronic.
"In my opinions, dosage should be determined by the needs and symptoms of each individual dog and whether or not the illness is acute or chronic." - Rita Hogan, canine herbalist.
Even though homeopathic treatments are entirely natural, remedies should only be administered by a homeopathic professional as these treatments can be difficult to balance effectively. If inappropriate homeopathic treatment is given it can be ineffective or may cause further imbalance, however, these symptoms are easily reversed.
As well as implementing the use of proven homeopathic remedies to treat certain ailments, we also offer Acupuncture to help treat chronic pain. Acupuncture is a traditional treatment proven to be effective in treating soft tissue and muscle pain in a specific region of the body by stimulating energy points in that area with ultra-fine sterile needles to promote proper flow of energy. This in turn increases the body’s ability to heal around that specific area. This therapy may sometimes be used in conjunction with chiropractic manipulation.
Interview with our Homeopathic Veterinarian, Dr David
We interviewed our Homeopathic Veterinarian, Dr David, for his insight into the world of Veterinary Homeopathic treatment.
How long have you been treating patients with homeopathic medicine?
I have been treating patients with homeopathic techniques for over 20 years now.
What qualifications do you have related to homeopathic medicine?
I've completed various short courses and have attended many workshops as well as lots of personal research to further my own knowledge. Some homeopathic treatments have provided some very quick and surprising results when delivered to my own animals and family when they have been in need. The treatments that I implement are very safe as they do not have any toxic side effects and have been proven to be effective.
Name some examples of homeopathic remedies or treatments that you administer to or prescribe to patients.
When prescribing homeopathic medicines, I sometimes couple with a technique called kinesiology which involves muscle testing for the correct medication. I select a variety of medications that would all potentially be appropriate in treating the condition and select the one that gives off the strongest response when introduced to the patient.
Arnica is great for bruising or post-trauma. Suplhur can treat some inflamed skin rashes. Aconite will even help to treat psychological problems such as fear and mild anxiety in flighty animals. Belladonna can be used to reduce a fever. All of my homeopathic remedies are very specifically tailored to that individual animals medical needs.
Can you give an example of a patient you have successfully treated with homeopathic medicine?
Often homeopathic treatment is reserved for clients that have very sensitive pets who are not responding well to medications that work on a chemical level or who have certain reactions to compounds in chemical medicines.
I have recently treated a patient that was presented to me in very bad health. A blood test indicated that his electrolytes were extremely high. Through some investigation it was discovered that these symptoms were caused by the cat drinking salt water from the backyard pool, which caused their electrolyte levels to sky rocket as it's body could not process all of the extra sodium. I decided the most appropriate remedy would be a compound called Nat Mur. Nat Mur is a compound made from sodium chloride - you may ask how can taking sodium chloride fix high levels of sodium chloride already within the body? Well, as outlined before, a homeopathic dose enhances the body's normal healing ability and self-regulatory processes by giving a smaller, controlled dosage of that natural substance to reverse or treat the symptoms of that specific ailment.
The owner was given the medication to deliver at home. We called her the following day to check in with her and see how she was going with the medication, she said she was extremely impressed with how effective the medication was after giving only one dose as her cat had completely picked up since having a single dosage.
Two weeks later the patient revisited us for a re-check appointment. The owner reported that the cat's energy had drastically improved and he was a lot more playful. We performed another blood test to re-check the electrolyte levels and all levels had returned to normal range and the patient has remained in good health since.
Another example of successful homeopathic treatment includes a patient that was presented to us mid-last year suffering from hair loss after he had a section of his fur clipped. Seven months later the hair had not begun to grow back. He was also displaying other symptoms including lethargy, vomiting and respiratory issues. We checked his thyroid hormone levels and discovered that his levels were below average. Thyroid hormones play a big role in hair cell production and growth, along with many other bodily processes.
We tried him on various types of thyroid hormone supplements and medications, and after no progress was seen the decision was made to try him on homeopathic medicine. A homeopathic compound made from testosterone was supplied at the dose of 1/2 a dropper onto the gums once daily.
We re-checked him five weeks later to assess his progress, his hair had begun to grow back and his other symptoms were subsiding. A week following that appointment he came back for another check-up, and over that last week his hair growth had drastically improved and a beautiful dark, soft coat was beginning to fully re-grow over the balding area. Because his hormone levels were now in better balance, he had also become livelier, displaying a lot more energy than previous.