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The Art of Dosing

Homeopathy for Pets

Homeopathic is governed by the philosophic basis of the therapy and the animal's observable responses to receiving the remedy. The correct homeopathic stimulus is not just the correct remedy but also the correct dosage (potency) at the correct frequency for the correct duration. All these parameters need to be selected carefully.

Dosage is not related to body size but more to the observable dynamic of the body and the disease. The potency of the medicine is selected accordingly. A higher potency is selected in cases of acute disease, when the body has a robust dynamic and mental symptoms are dominant. A lower potency may be chosen for the chronic disease, for weaker constitutions, and for diseases in which local pathology predominates.

Frequency is determined according to the disease dynamic and the patient's response to medication. Acute serious disease generally requires more frequent dosing than chronic disease. In general, the medicine is repeated only when the effect of the first dose has worn off and symptoms persist.

The duration of medication is governed by the patient's response to therapy. The treatment should be given for no longer than is necessary to achieve a return to health.

The selection of a homeopathic remedy depends not on the name of the disease but on the patient. Thus different patients with the same disease may require different homeopathic medicines. A given medicine may serve to treat many different diseases in different individuals provided that the symptoms fit the general "picture" of the remedy. For instance, the homeopathic remedy Arsenicum album may be selected for the treatment of gastroenteritis, peritonitis, kidney disease, skin disorders, nocturnal restlessness, asthma, and many other conditions if the picture shown by the patient fits the Arsenicum picture. This approach requires a philosophic change on the part of the veterinary homeopath.

Selection of the Remedy

The correct homeopathic medicine most closely matches the spectrum of symptoms found in the patient, taking into account factors such as constitutional and local symptoms and etiology. A remedy can be selected according to its symptom match:

At a causative level

For example, Arnica for injury.

At a Local level

Of value in acute uncomplicated disease in an otherwise robust and healthy individual. A remedy can be accurately selected fairly rapidly from a few signs and symptoms, for example, Gastroenteritis (Mercurius solibulus or Arsenicum) or colic (Colocynthis).

As an organotropic level

A remedy can be selected according to which organ is perceived to be under particular stress. This form of therapy is often an adjunct to other, more general, homeopathic prescriptions, as the following examples demonstrates:

ChelidoniumLiver
EuphrasiaEye
Flor de PiedraThyroid
Rhus Tox.Muscle

At a historical level

Where the homeopathic prescriber may perceive a particular historical incident to have contributed greatly to the disease. The following are examples:

Injury Arnica
Giving birthCaulophyllum
Loss of a mate — Ignatia

At a regulatory level

This is where one can use homeopathic potencies of a metabolite, dietary factor, or poison to facilitate metabolism, absorption, or excretion of that particular substance. The following are examples:

FerrumAids in iron absorption
Plumbum — Aids lead excretion
Calcarea — Aids Calcium metabolism

At a specific level

This is where a nosode (a remedy made from disease material) may be used to treat a similar infectious disease. I would counsel caution in the application of this method in acute serious infectious disease because the body may already be seriously weakened by the invading organism and a challenge of such isopathic nature (not homeopathic) may overwhelm and seriously disadvantage the body's defenses.

Examples include the following:

Mastitis NosodeMastitis in cattle
Cat Influenza Nosode Feline leukopenia

At a desensitizing level

This is where homeopathic potencies of a supposed allergen will help the body come to terms with the hypersensitivity and suffer less while a real homeopathic cure is sought.

At a constitutional level

This is the most important and can be the most difficult process in homeopathic prescribing. For chronic disease, there is no substitute. Constitutional prescribing takes into account the very nature and individuality of the whole animal, including mental and physical symptoms, gait, build, and character. Homeopathic medicines suitable for prescribing for chronic disease in this manner are called polycrests. Polycrests are the medicines most commonly discussed in homeopathic literature. Polycrests have matching symptoms in every area and organ of the body and can be matched to the individual in his or her entirety, including the modalities of symptoms. It is true holism in action.

  • Sulphur suits the hot, dirty, thirsty, philosophical, cool-seeking, sweet-loving animal that usually suffers skin disease and whose symptoms are often worse in very early morning (e.g., 3 to 5 AM).
  • Arsenicum suits the neat, fastidious individual who dislikes cold, has a thirst for small quantities of water, is restless, and often suffers the worst symptoms around midnight.
In the selection of a constitutional prescription, special emphasis should be placed on mental symptoms as well as strange and peculiar symptoms (Hahnemann, 1833-1834).

Obstacles to Recovery

Medicine is most effective if supported by study and removal, correction, or mitigation of any factors that are likely to delay or obstruct healing. These factors often have played a part in or have been a significant cause of the decline in health in the first place.

The most fundamental of these factors must be diet. No study of medicine is complete without a study of diet, and no medicine should be administered without correcting or optimizing dietary factors.

Caged animals should be given adequate space. They should not be housed in isolation.

Exercise should be provided and adequate for their needs.

Grazing animals should be given an adequate variety of herbage and managed under holistic husbandry techniques. Horses in particular should be correctly shod and saddled, their backs and teeth should receive proper attention. These factors are so important to the horse's well-being that correcting and optimizing them may even lead to a cure, without the need for medicine in many cases.

Farm animals should be housed and managed with compassion and respect, with special attention taken to comfort, exercise, and hygiene. Their care should be ethical and humane.

Preventive Medicine

In addition to optimal nutrition, housing and management, homeopathy may play an important part in the prevention of disease, particularly of the contagious infection types. The most common and practical method is the administration of nosodes. Nosodes are homeopathic remedies made from disease material, prepared in the same way as any other homeopathic remedy, by the dilution and succussion process. This method is as yet without full scientific validation, but no ill effects have resulted from this procedure in horses, dogs, cats and cattle, etc. However this should be discussed with people interested in this method and the final decision left up to them.

In disease prevention, the thirteenth centesimal potency is usually used. A typical prevention program for dogs, cats, or horses, if used in place of conventional vaccine, might be as follows: twice daily for 3 days; followed by twice weekly for 3 weeks; followed by once monthly for 6 months; followed by a dose night and morning, every 6 months. This regimen has been used for kennel cough, distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus in dogs; for influenza, enteritis, feline leukemia virus (FLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) in cats; and for influenza and herpes in horses. This procedure is appropriate for any epizootic (i.e., occurring in outbreaks) in disease.

Dosage

Homeopathic medicines are available as liquids, powders, crystals, pillules (granules or pellets), tablets and lotions. A homeopathic remedy should be given in as small a dose as possible to produce maximal benefit. The term dose is used to describe not the number of tablets, drops, quantity of powder, but the potency, frequency, and duration.

In acute disease, in which the animal's constitution is strong, a high potency may be used. In chronic conditions or life-threatening situations, a lower potency may be used.However, different homeopaths have different views and practices in this regard. The frequency should be governed by the severity of the disease and its dynamics (e.g., rapid onset, acute disease could demand frequent dosing at short intervals; a chronic, low-grade disease may require only a single dose or infrequent doses). The duration of dosing should be governed by the patient's response to treatment. Homeopathic remedies work by stimulating the body. Once the body responds to this, the dosing should be stopped and the body allowed to make use of the stimulus as it moves toward a cure. Further doses may prove necessary if the healing process stalls. In general, acute conditions respond quickly, and chronic conditions can take quite awhile because they have taken a long time to develop.

Administration and Care of Remedies

Homeopathic medicines are delicate; therefore handling should be avoided except when actually giving the dose. Handled medicine should never be returned to the bottle. Only the required dose should be dispensed from the bottle at each dosage time. The container should be tightly sealed at all times except when dispensing, and two containers of medicine should never be opened at once. Medicines should be stored away from sunlight in a cool, dark place and apart from strong smelling substances, especially camphor, perfume and essential oils. Dry doses should never be refrigerated or frozen. If correctly stored, homeopathic remedies can last for a very long time, well past their recorded expiration date, so don't discard unused supplies.

Pillules

These may dispensed into the bottle cap before dosing. If the animal does not object, the pills may then be tossed from the cap directly into the mouth or given by spoon to mouth (avoid contamination of the cap with saliva) to avoid handling of the pillules. If this causes stress to the animal, the pills can be dissolved in a small amount of purified water, and given by syringe, which provides a means of liquid dosing.

Drops

May be added to drinking water or placed directly on the tongue. Cats frequently lick a few drops of the medicine off their noses without stress. In birds, drops can be applied to the upper beak area. A typical dose is generally between 1 and three drops.

Powders

The dry powder can be poured directly into the mouth from the paper. These are not recommended for birds.

The caregiver must ensure that the dose is either swallowed or retained in the mouth for 30 seconds, there after, it may be ejected without diminished effect. When more than one medicine has been prescribed, the doses should be given at different times. If possible, given at a 30 to 60 minute interval. Avoid giving medication within 15 minutes of a meal. However, it is fine to hide the remedy in a treat. In the case of caged birds and other small pets, pillules may be added to drinking water, freshly prepared each day. Animals should not receive strong smelling sweets while they are on medication, and essential oils or aromatherapy oils may be counterproductive to homeopathic medication.

Clinical Uses

Homeopathy is clearly indicated in all medical conditions of animals; dogs, cats, horses, exotics and those on the farm, especially conditions of a chronic nature that have failed under conventional drug treatment. Homeopathy is also beneficial in acute disease. Homeopathy has been used successfully in cases of acute gastroenteritis, infectious tracheobronchitis, feline influenza, acute injury-related disease, all cases of injury, and acute infectious diseases of all types. All of these have proved treatable with homeopathy, which in most cases result in rapid and gentle resolution of the illness. For instance, canine tracheobronchitis often responds in only 3 or 4 days under correct homeopathic prescribing, whereas the condition often persists as long as 3 weeks or more under the use of conventional prescription drugs.

In all cases, success depends on:


  • Satisfactory removal of the obstacles to recovery
  • Correct remedy selection (after a good examination)
  • The ability of the body to heal
The last item is really crucial because there are certain diseases in which one cannot reasonably expect a cure in the real sense of the word. Diseases such as kidney degeneration cannot be fully healed because the body cannot replace lost kidney tissue. Some injuries may be too violent and extensive for full recovery. Chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy (CDRM) in the German shepherd cannot be expected to heal entirely because the body has no known mechanism for reconstruction of the degenerated nerve tissue and myelin sheaths. None the less, homeopathy can still improve the life of these animals by palliation which makes a disease or its symptoms less severe or unpleasant without removing the cause.

For a complete guide in learning how to give a remedy, repeat the dose and what potency to use for animals in both acute and chronic disease we recommend…

‘Fast ‘Forward to the Cure’
Veterinary Homeopathy
eBook