Homeopathy (home-ee-AH-puh-thee) is a branch of medicine which is based on the principle that disease can be cured by strengthening the body’s natural defense mechanism. This is in contrast to traditional (allopathic) medicine which uses drugs to suppress symptoms (which are the visible result of the body’s attempt to heal itself).
Unlike allopathy which considers some symptoms to be unrelated to an animal’s “condition”, in homeopathy all of the symptoms are examined as part of the disease process and help elucidate the state of disequilibrium of the body.
The first recorded use of homeopathy was by Hippocrates in 400 B.C. He noticed that herbs given in a low dose tended to cure the same symptoms that they produced in a large poisoning dose. In 1790 a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, made similar observations and spent the next twenty years developing a medical system around this principle.
Homeopathy uses various plant, mineral, or animal materials and is based on the law of similar, “Simila Similibus Curener” or “Like Cures Like” – that is, if a substance can cause symptoms of disease in a healthy individual then it can heal a sick animal suffering from similar symptoms. For example, everyone knows that chopping an onion makes your eyes sting and water and your nose run and burn. A homeopathic preparation of the humble onion, Allium cepa, may be used to cure patients with a cold or hayfever if they too have stinging, watery eyes and a runny, burning nose.
HOW DOES THE CONCEPT OF HOMEOPATHY DIFFER FROM THAT OF CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE?
The homeopath regards symptoms as the body’s healthy attempt to restore itself to balance. That is why a homeopath will choose a remedy that supports the symptoms-rather than opposing them or suppressing them as in conventional medicine. In conventional medicine, an animal with allergies is given an anti-histamine to clear up the symptoms. Unpleasant side effects like sleepiness and constipation can result. With the correct homeopathic remedy, however, there are no side effects and an animal is restored to health naturally with an attendant sense of well-being.
Homeopathy recognizes that each animal manifests his or her dis-ease in a unique and slightly different way. That is why two animals with the same disease will not necessarily receive the same homeopathic remedy.
A animal suffering from foul smelling diarrhea from food poisoning combined with exhaustion and worsening symptoms with cold would receive a different remedy than the one with explosive, gushing and painless diarrhea that is worse after eating or drinking. Unlike the “one size fits all” approach to prescribing often used in conventional medicine, a homeopath chooses a remedy that matches the unique symptom profile of the individual. Conventional medicine seeks to control illness through the regular use of medications; if the medicine is withdrawn, the animal’s symptoms return. For example, the daily use of drugs for allergies (or any chronic disease for that matter) alleviates the symptoms but does not cure the underlying problem. In homeopathy the ideal is that an animal needs just enough of the homeopathic remedy to stimulate their healing response. In other words, homeopathy seeks to heal a animal so that they do not need any medications—homeopathic or otherwise.
WHAT ARE HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES?
A homeopathic remedy is a single substance derived from a plant, animal or mineral. It is then subjected to a special procedure called potentization which brings out the medicinal properties of the original substance. There are currently about two thousand substances whose specific effects on the body have been carefully recorded on healthy individuals (provings). Examples include minerals like sulphur, plants like poison ivy, and animal products like bee venom, etc.
Dr. Hahnemann discovered that the effect of homeopathic medicines is strengthened dramatically upon successive dilutions and vigorous shaking between each dilution.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT?
*Your pet may experience an immediate and perhaps dramatic improvement within hours-days.
*Your pet may experience gradual improvement over time weeks-months (the speed of recovery depends in part on how long your pet has been sick).
*Your pet may not have any, or only a partial improvement and may require a different potency or remedy.
*Sometimes a worsening of your pet’s symptoms may occur. This initial aggravation is usually a good sign and indicates that the body is responding to the remedy. Although the physical symptoms might get worse for a short period of time, in general your pet as a whole should start to feel better almost immediately. The homeopathic aggravation will subside quickly followed by recovery.