Modern veterinary medicine has its place in the treatment and care of dogs, but so does homeopathic medicine. You’ve probably arrived at this article because you are either:
- Curious about what canine homeopathic medicine is;
- You have a dog with a health problem and want some sort of alternative treatment.
Homeopathy deals with the law of similars and it might conjure up images of mad scientists in lab coats playing with herbs and pouring potions into vials: Not so.
Homeopathic remedies, writes Dr. Deva Khalsa, in her book, Natural Dog, “are prepared from a wide range of animal, vegetable, and mineral substances including insects, poisons, and modern medicines such as antibiotics.”
Much of what is used in homeopathic medicine comes from plants (about 80 percent), but proper preparation of homeopathic treatments means there will not be toxic side effects.
Homeopathy and Its Impact on Veterinary Medicine
In his book, Natural Health for Dogs & Cats, Dr. Richard Pitcarin writes that as compared with their pharmaceutical counterparts, herbs exhibit a slower and deeper action.
There is a lack of regulation on homeopathic remedies, thus deeming them dangerous by some. Homeopathic treatments do not contain chemicals, colors, and are designed, when prepared properly, to work with the body’s system and not against it.
Worldwide, homeopathy is the second largest system of health care used behind conventional pharmaceutical-based medicine. With such big dollars invested in this industry, there is a clear desire for something outside of conventional medicine.
A homeopathic medicine can be sold to the general public as long as the ailment it is claiming to treat is an “OTC indication.”
According to homeopathic.com, an OTC indication is an ailment that can resolve on its own (self-limiting) and does not require medical diagnosis or medical monitoring.
In homeopathy, health is defined as not just the absence of symptoms, but a feeling of well-being and vitality, says Dr. Jean Hofve for Only Natural Pet. Remedies prescribed by a homeopathic veterinarian may be dosed differently, and instructions should be followed carefully.
Homeopathy in Real Time
Two clients bring their dog to the veterinary for examination and investigation of frequent itching. Many dog parents can relate to the problem of allergies and how they present and manifest in their dog’s everyday life. Canine allergies can be a nightmare.
At the traditional veterinary office, drugs used to treat allergic reactions often compromise the immune system. Corticosteroids, when prescribed, may elicit a temporary ceasing of the itch, but they do not cure the problem. Antihistamines, as I give my dog almost daily during peak airborne allergy season, are the least toxic of pharmaceutical options for allergies, but many dog parents report them being ineffective in stopping the allergic symptoms.
Two clients at the homeopathic veterinarian who present with similar symptoms may be treated quite differently. Homeopathic remedies are selected in relation to each patient’s issues. For example, Dr. Khalsa writes, “Some dogs itch less and feel better when they are warm. They may sit out on a black driveway and bake in the sun.”
On a personal level, one of my closest friends, Ellen, has a dog, Zola, who is a sun seeker. I have never seen a dog who seeks the sun more than I have with Zola, a mixed breed.
Alternatively, there is my dog, Dexter, who loves a cool environment. He loves to lie on the tiled bathroom floor or sit near the air conditioner in the warmer months.
Each of these dogs would be treated differently under the care of a homeopathic veterinarian.
Unlike traditional veterinary medicine, homeopathic medicine is not dosed based on body weight. Instead, the original substance is diluted and marked accordingly. The more dilute the remedy, the more powerful it is.
I recently attended a webinar with Dr. Khalsa, and I will be sharing the very interesting outcomes in a future post, but for now, here are 12 examples of homeopathic remedies as written for Dogs Naturally Magazine by Dr. Khalsa:
Administering Homeopathic Treatments
Remedies come in a liquid form, generally administered as drops, or as small white pellets designed to dissolve on the tongue. As the body heals, the treatment is then stopped.
Dangers and Precautions
One of the best and most concise articles I’ve read is from Dr. Karen Becker with Healthy Pets Mercola. Dr. Becker talked with world-renowned homeopathic veterinarian, Pitcarin. Here’s an excerpt from that article, and I recommend you check it out in its entirety below.
A lot of people seem to think that homeopathic remedies can’t do harm. That is something Dr. Pitcairn wisely cautions his students about and I remember it from my training. We need to be responsible in the decision-making process of selecting remedies for patients. Giving a remedy that is “almost” right or “close enough” can be harmful to the patient. In the case of a single incorrect remedy, chances are, the worst that would happen is that it would do nothing to help the patient. But with some of the combination remedies, there are concerns – including with injectable homeopathics.
Our blogging friend, Rachel Sheppard of My Kid Has Paws, is a former veterinary technician. In our ongoing series, Medicine Vs. Mom, we present a full-circle / two-sided approach to canine medical topics. Click here for Rachel’s take on holistic medicine and dogs.
Have you ever tried homeopathic remedies for your dog?