Working For People And Pets Without Side Effects
© 1995 by Martin Zucker
Kings, queens and common folk abroad have long used and trusted homeopathic remedies. Now, Americans are increasingly flocking to this unique and effective form of alternative medicine -- not only to help themselves but their pets as well. This form of pet medicine is well-suited to address pet health issues. Dogs itching and scratching non-stop, cats with arthritis, dogs ear and digestive problems are just a few of the common ailments that can be safely addressed by using homeopathic medicines.
A growing number of veterinarians in this country are using homeopathy in the treatment of many dog and cat problems, ranging from canine allergies to trauma and chronic disease.
At the Limehouse Veterinary Clinic in North Hollywood, veterinarians John Limehouse and Priscilla Taylor specialize in homeopathy-based therapy. "The right combination of homeopathic remedies can usually help the body correct anything that it makes or does, with the exception of severe traumatic tearing or breaking of tissue," says Limehouse. "We have excellent results with many conditions, including pet arthritis, illnesses related to the immune system, irritable bowel disease, and allergies."
In San Diego, at the Carmel Mountain Animal Clinic, veterinarian Steve Blake also emphasizes homeopathy. "Just about every condition a veterinarian sees in a general practice can be treated wholly or in part with homeopathy," says Blake. "Often the animals I see have been through so-called conventional treatments that perhaps haven't worked or that have resulted in intolerable side effects. Homeopathy offers a safe alternative. It is also a great complement to surgery and I use it all the time with dog and cat surgery to reduce pain and swelling and enhance the healing process."
Homeopathy is a system of medicine that utilizes micro-doses of natural substances -- herbs, bark, seeds, berries, flowers, minerals and animal matter. Unlike powerful pharmaceutical drugs, homeopathic remedies do not create side-effects. The use of conventional drugs and preparations often means the risk of side effects. In some cases, the "cure" is worse than the problem.
For example, the use of flea collars, flea dips, mange and worming treatments expose dogs and cats to dangerous insecticides and poisons which can cause serious illness. There are many, better options for natural flea control.
With natural homeopathic medicines there's no need for worry. They provide effective relief from suffering without any side effects. They heal without harming.
Homeopathy has long been popular in Europe and Asia. In France, a hotbed of homeopathy, some 1,000 veterinarians employ this form of medicine exclusively in the treatment of both cats and dogs and farm animals. In the U.S., the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association includes about 250 veterinarians who use homeopathics to varying degrees in their treatment programs.
Among the most avid enthusiasts of homeopathy are members of the British royal family. Queen Elizabeth, the current reigning monarch, never travels without taking a box of homeopathic medicines for herself and her beloved Welsh Corgis. And the polo-playing Prince Charles favors arnica, a well-known homeopathic remedy, for the bruises he inevitably sustains during action on the playing field.
In the U.S., homeopathy is a formal branch of medicine recognized by federal law. The standards for strength, purity and quality of homeopathic remedies were established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Most remedies are available in liquid or pellet form and are taken internally. In this country, homeopathy has been generally regarded by the pharmaceutically-oriented medical establishment as an unproven form of treatment. Skeptics say relief of symptoms is due to a placebo effect, that is, a patient's expectation of a cure by taking a remedy leads to a recovery. But of course dogs and cats heal up naturally without the possiblity of the placebo effect!
In recent years, however, many clinical studies with dogs, cats and humans have shown homeopathy can indeed heal in many situations, including allergy, respiratory disease, gastro-intestinal disorders, anxiety, pain, inflammation and infection. In the largest-ever study of homeopathy, Hungarian researchers analyzed its effect on some 1,000 patients with 70 types of diseases and concluded that it "deserves a daily place in medicine."
Although the principles of homeopathy date back to the great Greek physician Hippocrates, and before him to the ancient Hindus, modern homeopathy was founded in 1810 by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. The system is based on a concept called the law of similars in which remedies containing minute amounts of natural substances stimulate the body's own defenses against specific symptoms and imbalances. These substances, if they were given in large doses to healthy individuals or animals, would produce those same symptoms.
If you were to cut an onion, you would quickly experience watery eyes and a runny nose. In homeopathy, a remedy made from onions (allium cepa) is often applied to relieve the runny nose and watery eyes common in colds and hayfever. A coffee remedy is often used to calm the nerves and help promote sleep. Sulfur, in a large dose, can cause a rash. In homeopathic amounts, it can help heal rashes, scratching and skin problems, and is a popular remedy for those conditions in dogs and cats.
The ingredients in homeopathic medicines are so diluted that they carry virtually no trace of the original substance. For this reason they cause no side effects. And for this reason, too, medical authorities question their effectiveness.
The healing power of homeopathy does not come directly from the substances themselves, but rather from the energy released from them during a special refining process of shaking and dilution.
"Homeopathic remedies provide information to the body," says Limehouse. "Imagine those card keys that open your hotel room. The right information on that magnetic strip will open the door. Similarly, homeopathic remedies contain magnetic resonance information. The right remedy contains the right information to activate the body's own innate healing machinery."
Adds Blake: "Homeopathy provides the needed information to stimulate the body's vital forces to do the work of healing, repair and maintenance in a more efficient way."
The success achieved by homeopathic veterinarians is a powerful argument against homeopathy's critics who say that relief is due to a placebo effect. Those critics cannot say that when an animal's symptoms disappear after treatment with homeopathic remedies, the recovery was due to the animal's expectation of a cure!
Homeopathic veterinarians such as Limehouse and Blake generally prescribe single ingredient remedies to match the particular set of circumstances and symptoms of individual animals. For a skin condition, for example, they might use sulfur if the skin is red and the itching is intense. Or they might choose arsenicum album if the skin is dry and scaly and accompanied by lusterless hair.
In recent years, combination formulas such as Dr. Goodpet have become available in pet stores and health food stores that contain multiple ingredients to cover such dog and cat problems as flea bite allergic reactions, scratching, stress, motion sickness, and diarrhea. For instance, a combination remedy for scratching might contain sulfur and arsenicum, along with other skin-related elements.
Homeopathy is gaining most adherents among Americans seeking natural and effective alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs. Approximately 2.5 million individuals, or one percent of the population, are now using homeopathic remedies, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. The same attraction for natural, safe medicines has turned many individuals on to homeopathics for the health problems of their pets.
Industry sources estimate that U.S. sales will double in five years to more than $500 million annually. Homeopathic remedies are available in nearly all natural food stores, 70 percent of chain drug stores, and some 3,000 independent pharmacies. Pet homeopahics such as Dr. Goodpet are available on line and in pet stores and health food stores around the country.