Main Objetive:

This blog is intended to track how we evaluate and treat horses using alternative medicine. We take on cases as presented and enjoy finding solutions for horses for which Western Medicine has been unable to fully treat. For more information on our facility and practitioners we work with, please visit us at

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Homeopathy: A General Introduction to the "Hooey"

While I gather more information on the "meat" of this blog (the cases we are currently treating) I thought I should take a moment to fill in some of the blanks as to HOW we treat cases. First and foremost I think would be the ideas behind homeopathic medicines, as well as some of the remedies we commonly apply to horses.

To begin, a Homeopath looks at a patient a bit differently than an Allopathic or traditionally Western Medical practitioner. They look to every facet of the individual being treated. Symptoms are important and should be observed and considered, as the end goal is not just to prescribe something to stop or cover-up these responses of the body, but rather to work WITH these symptoms to encourage the body to fix itself.

In people, these individual traits can be very specifically tailored to take into consideration personality quirks, habits, and desires, in addition to the physical and mental state of the organism. To apply this to an animal, one has to have a keen insight into behavioral reactions - and sometimes it takes a bit of detective work to get down to the real reasons.

So it is that a remedy which works well for one may not have the same effect on another, and treatments should be applied for the individual. For example, as I mentioned before we used a remedy on Hootie to help his facial paralysis. To select the correct remedy, Dr. Benyei not only took into account the paralysis and ataxia and the fact that my horse was underweight, but it also came down to me to note certain behavior/personality traits of my horse. Like his extreme co-dependency concerning myself or other horses, or that he is high-energy but not necessarily nervous or spooky. That while he requires a lot of feed to be "fat" he is not to food-hound that many horses tend to be, and relies more on having a job or companionship for happiness. That unlike some horses, he LOVES to work and usually readily does his share of the work without any prodding. All of this was put into searching for the proper remedy to help him - were he a food-driven, low-energy, independent horse, a different remedy may have been the answer.

Another "principle of cure" to homeopathy is the idea of Like treats Like. This means that to treat an ailment, a remedy is given that would otherwise cause the symptoms expressed were they not already present. Think back to math class - a negative number multiplied by a negative number equals a positive number. This makes assessing the proper symptoms a must, as otherwise should you take the wrong remedy, you will find new symptoms that were not present to begin with - this is called "proving". In this light it also stands true that when the correct remedy is found, it is not uncommon for symptoms to become exacerbated - in simpler terms this means symptoms are more prominent before they begin to go away.

Due to the principle of Like Treats Like, it is important that remedies be given one at a time, and then the body's reaction must be observed before it is decided to change remedies or use a higher potency of the current remedy. A practitioner must also use the lowest possible potency to resolve symptoms lest they cause an exacerbation or a proving. An oddity of homeopathy is that the greater the dilution of a remedy, the higher its potency.

Finally, it must be understood that when taking a remedy, there are certain rules to be followed for it to work. They patient should have no food or water half an hour before or after taking the remedy, and must avoid any foods or topical products which will cancel out the remedy. Some of these substances are: Coffee, Camphor, Methol, Eucalyptus, Mints, Chamomile, and any suppressive allopathic medication. For horses, this means no peppermint treats, and careful reading of ingredients in most common liniments (we use Sore-No-More as it does not have any forbidden ingredients).

While a homeopathic remedy does come with certain guidelines as mentioned above, a major upside is that these remedies do not offset any allopathic medications - we view homeopathy instead as a way to AID treatments. This is a wonderful difference as it alleviates the concern of the dangers drug interactions so common with prescription medication. We still consult with veterinarians and use regular medicines when advised, but homeopathic medicine allows us to assist the body and get better, sometimes quicker, response and healing times for the horse.

The following remedies are ones we commonly use:

--ARNICA: Helps with trauma or soreness due to over exertion, and can help speed the healing of swelling and bruises. Works well for first-aid purposes, or to alleviate next-day soreness after a strenuous workout.

--LEDEM: Helps to prevent infection, and has been known to fight off early stages of Lyme Disease. Works well against Teatnus, so is ideal for treating puncture wounds, or as a follow-up for Arnica. Also given after vaccines as it works well on puncture wounds (and bee stings!)

--CALENDULA: Also fights infection in addition to speed healing skin abrasions. Usually applied as an external ointment, and helps any sort of systematic bacterial infection.

--SILICIA: Used to help the body to drive out forgien bodies - wonderful for helping to drain an abscess

--RHUS TOX: The "creaky door remedy". Good for pain that improves with light to moderate work but becomes worse with excessive motion. Commonly used on those demonstrating arthritis issues.

--RUTA GRAV: Works well with tendons, ligaments, or fibrous tissues and can also address periosteal bruising. Applied for sprains, strains, or bruises on the hoof - pain that is worse with any sort of motion.

--THUJA: Great as an anti-vaccinosis remedy - for example: horses who get fevers and extreme stiffness from yearly Rabies Vaccinations

--ARSENICUM: Helps to put weight on for those with troubles absorbing nutrients from feed.

--RESCUE REMEDY: Alleviates travel anxiety

--ACONITE: Great to ease abandonment anxiety for mares and foals at weaning or pasture mates who have trouble with separation.

--COLYCYNTHISIS: Can help to treat colic in very early stages.

As I go along I will work on a reference list if any more are mentioned - these are just the basics!

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