Hello Dog Lovers Around the World:

I was going to write a very philosophical article for this issue. That was until one of my clients called me a few days ago to ask me what to do about his 3-year-old dog, Tito, who is a mini-pincher-mix. Mr. Mark and Tito were away at the owner’s country home, when Mr. Mark noticed that Tito was having trouble walking on his rear legs after he had been playing in the yard. He thought he saw Tito run into something and was worried about an injury. Mr. Mark took Tito to a local conventional veterinarian. That veterinarian prescribed Rimadyl (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine). He was calling me to see if there was any homeopathic treatment for this problem. I suggested he give Tito a homeopathic remedy called Arnica montana 30C three doses every four hours for two days.

A Safe Place to Start

Arnica montana (Leopard’s bane) is one of the best-known homeopathic remedies. It is primarily used for any kind of trauma, emotional or physical. Therefore it is good for muscle aches, sprains, strains, and injuries. It is also useful for injuries to the brain and spinal cord.

If your animal is in a lot of pain or seemed fearful of being touched, arnica is always a safe place to start if you’d like to try homeopathic treatment. Often the animal seems restless because their pain is so bad it makes it difficult to find a place to rest. If you think this pain is severe or if it continues for a few hours, you should probably see your local veterinarian to rule out any serious injury. However, if you start arnica immediately, you may find by the time you get to the veterinarian, your dog is much better. As I mentioned earlier, arnica is also helpful for emotional trauma. You can use it safely as suggested above for a few days to see if it helps your dog in this situation too.

As suggested with Tito, it is safe to give Arnica 30C or 200C taken every four to twelve hours for a few days. I advise clients to stop the Arnica when they see improvement. This can occur after one dose or after several. But usually after a few days the animal should be better if the remedy is going to work at all. Once you notice the action of the remedy working (seeing improvement in the condition being treated for), it is time to stop. This is so the remedy can continue working and not be interrupted with another dose of remedy.

More is NOT better

Some people think more is better. In the case of homeopathy, this is not so. I think of the remedy action like a pebble being thrown into a pond. The pebble hitting the water is akin to the initial dose hitting your mucous membranes. Then the ripples of the water continue to until they hit the bank of the shore are how the remedy action actually works in your body. If you take another remedy before the action is finished, you are interrupting the action of the first remedy (if it has started to act). This concept becomes more important when treating a condition with a deeper acting remedy. Arnica in this case is being used to treat an acute condition (a condition that came on suddenly from a trauma).

The most common ways these remedies are available in the United States are in small blue tubes made by a company called Boiron. (They are also available by order from homeopathic pharmacies by veterinarians and homeopaths in smaller, pretzel-salt sized pills). When you twist the cap of the Boiron tube, the pills fall into the cap. You then give the dose directly from the cap into the animal’s mouth without touching the pills yourself. I suggest giving two to three (peppercorn-sized) pills at a time. Here again, more is not better. One to three pills are the same dose. You are not tripling the dose by taking three. I suggest three, so that at least one will go into the animal’s mouth.

These pills do not have to be swallowed. They just have to touch the mucous membranes (gums). If you find it difficult to give the pills in this way, you can put them in a tablespoon of vanilla ice cream, heavy cream, or milk for your animal to lick. This is because they are on sugar-based pills and this will dissolve into the substance. You can also put the pills between the folds of a napkin, crush them, and then put the powder into the animal’s mouth. Or put the powder into a tablespoon of spring or distilled water and put 1 teaspoon full into your dog’s mouth only one time. You can save the remainder of the dose (in the water) to be given four hours later. All homeopathic remedies should be given at least 15 minutes away from giving any food. You want to make sure the mouth is clean and the remedy contacts the surface of the mucous membranes.

Homeopathy Post Surgery Help

One other point about homeopathic remedies. They are considered to be an energy force. Therefore they should be stored and kept away from all other energy sources (i.e., refrigerators, microwaves, televisions, cell phones, computers, etc.). Keep it in a drawer away from all of the above. If you put it into you bag be sure there is no other mechanical device in there.

One other use of Arnica I strongly suggest is after any kind of minor or major surgery, dentistry, or any kind of procedure where the body needs to be cut or traumatized. Arnica can speed healing and reduce edema (fluid build up around injured site) and bruising.

I usually recommend giving Arnica 30C or 200C to all animals recovering from any surgery as soon as possible. Sometimes it can be giving as the anesthesia is being turned off. I suggest repeating the doses three times for one to two days after surgery. This will often decrease any post-operative pain as well.

Well, I assume you want to know how Tito is. Remember Tito? He was the dog that started this discussion. I wish I could say he was better. It turned out that the owner did not start Arnica. Instead, the next day Tito seemed worse so Mr, Mark took him to another local veterinarian (near his country home) who put Tito on steroids. After two doses of steroids, the dog could not walk at all. Mr. Mark then took him to a third veterinarian/surgeon who diagnosed a disc problem. He recommended surgery. Tito had surgery October 2nd. He still cannot walk. The surgeon told Mr. Mark Tito will have a long recovery and gave him an uncertain prognosis.

One Remedy At A Time

I will be speaking with Mr. Mark today and will recommend (again) that he start Tito on Arnica 30C every four hours as soon as possible. I believe Arnica will help Tito to have a speedier recovery. I will also suggest additional remedies that are especially good for nerve damage (Hypericum perforatum – St. John’s Wort). This will be given a few days after Arnica to address the fact that there are many nerves in the spinal cord that were traumatized before and during surgery. In general it is always better to use one remedy at a time. This allows each remedy to work undisturbed by another, as discussed above. (I promise to discuss Hypericum in detail in a future article.)

One quick comment here about combination remedies. There are many manufactures who are offering combination remedies to the public. Many homeopaths, including me, do not think this is a good way to take homeopathic remedies. Many times these remedy combinations do offer relief. However, with combination remedies you don’t really know which remedy is the one doing the healing and you don’t know which one to repeat should you need it again.

On an energetic level, it is as if you were throwing a handful of pebbles into the pond and all the ripples are intermingling. So you are not getting a clean action from any one of them. People who just want the problem to go away may not care. However, this is an allopathic approach. If you are using homeopathy, and want to follow with a homeopathic philosophy (see I did get some philosophy into this paper in spite of myself), you are trying to cure the problem once and for all, not just suppress it. With this combination remedy regime, you are most likely suppressing it. This means it will return and possibly in a stronger fashion than the original symptom. This idea alone will be the topic of a future article too.

We’ve covered a lot in this short space. I hope this information will be helpful to you and your beloved dogs. If you are in an area where homeopathic remedies are not available you can contact one of the suppliers directly. Remedies can be mailed, sometimes overnight or within a few days.

I am hoping you and your dogs stay happy and healthy.

Happy Tails to all,

Jill Elliot, DVM

Resources to Order Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathy Overnight, Phone 1-800-ARNICA (276-4223)
RR 1, Box 818, Kingfield, ME 04947
Fax 1-207-265-0029
Shipping charges (to USA): Overnight $9.75; 2nd Day Air: $6.75, Ground: $4.00

Ainsworth Homeopathic Pharmacy. Phone and Info: 011-4471-935-5330
38 New Cavendish Street, London, W1M 7LH, England

Boiron – Central Facility, Phone: 1-800-258-8823 (blue-tub)
Beth Niles, Regional Sales Manager/Education
West Coast Branch, 734 Cole Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

Hahnemann Pharmacy, Phone: 1-510-527-3003
828 San Pablo Avenue, Albany, CA 94706

Helios Pharmacy
92 Camden Road, Turnbridge Wells, Kent, Great Britain TN1 2QP

(If you are a breeder you may be interested in this pharmacy. They have a birthing kit for $35.00 (U.S. dollars). This kit comes with 35 remedies in 200C potencies specifically for pregnancy, labor, and birth as well as for afterwards. They include instructions on how and when to give the remedies.

Natural Health Supply, Phone: 1-505-982-4071; Fax: 1-505-820-2616
Jim Klemmer, Box 6033, Santa Fe, NM 87602

This supplier sells an emergency kit of 50 or 100 remedies. If you have purchased any other books suggested in last months article, you may consider purchasing an emergency kit to have on hand rather than buying the remedies individually as you need them.